Kurt Busch outraces Kyles in Kansas

- Kelly Crandall

Kurt Busch dominated the AdventHeal­th 400 NASCAR Cup Series race Sunday at Kansas Speedway to take 23XI Racing back to victory lane and the first for their partnershi­p.

He led a race-high 116 laps and made the winning pass on Kyle Larson with eight laps to go, first taking a look underneath Larson in Turns 1 and 2 with nine to go. The duo battled side-byside for a lap before Busch could clear Larson when the Hendrick car caught the wall, running tight on the outside.

Busch ran third off the race’s final restart with 33 laps to go, passed brother Kyle with 22 to go and then began stalking Larson.

“It’s all about teamwork – I don’t do this alone,” Kurt said. “The way that Toyota has helped us (and JGR); my little brother has been so important just on the family side. Hey, you got to get through these steps. Bubba (Watson) is a tremendous teammate. This is our first win for the No. 45 car and with Jordan Brand on the hood. I felt like I had to play like the GOAT (Michael Jordan), race like the GOAT, and I had to beat the Kyles. I beat both.

“If I can get one Kyle, I can get both. I just had to have the confidence to know. Our setups would do things on short runs and long runs.”

Larson said there was no contact with Busch before he hit the wall, but after the contact he was unable to mount another charge and fell over a second behind Busch at the finish.

“We were racing for the win there,” Larson said after leading 29 laps. “He never got into me. I was trying to squeeze throttle to get position on him and just got tight.”

Kyle Busch finished third after winning the first stage. He led 18 laps. Denny Hamlin finished fourth and Christophe­r Bell finished fifth. Bell led 37 laps from the pole and rebounded from a flat left-rear tire while leading under caution on lap 62.

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