The Pennzoil 400 presented by Jiffy Lube came to a wild end on March 6 after a caution sent the NASCAR Cup Series race into overtime. Kyle Busch went from being mere laps from his first win of the year to watching as Alex Bowman reached Victory Lane, and he responded with some strong words.
“The same f****** guy who backs into every f****** win that he ever f****** gets, backs into another f****** win. Bulls***!” Busch said over his radio, transcript courtesy of The Athletic’s Jordan Bianchi.
Busch had the lead with fewer than four laps remaining in the Cup Series race at Las Vegas. He had a slight lead over Martin Truex Jr. and a bigger lead over Ross Chastain, and it appeared that he would win his first race of the year. However, Erik Jones slammed into the wall and brought out the caution.
This incident forced a restart, and Busch ended up on the second row after Kyle Larson, Bowman, and William Byron all turned in quicker pit stops by taking two tires instead of four. Busch was not able to get around Bowman and Larson at the end of the race, and he ultimately ended the day fourth overall.
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“Great Ethel M Chocolates Toyota Camry TRD today. Was good, fast there at the end,” Busch told FOX Sports after the race. “Trying to do just what I could do to hold the lead there with [Martin Truex Jr.]. Felt like I inched away finally, we were coming to the white — I don’t know what it was. But anyways, wasn’t meant to be. Not our day. See you next week.”
Bowman Has Taken the Lead Late During Multiple Wins
The race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, which was Bowman’s second in the last five dating back to the elimination race at Martinsville Speedway on October 31, 2021, continued an interesting streak. It was the fourth race in the past five where Bowman has taken the lead with fewer than 10 laps remaining.
Bowman’s first win of the 2021 season, which took place at Richmond Raceway, featured him taking the lead with 10 laps remaining. He held on until lap 400 and punched his ticket to the playoffs. This run of late finishes also includes the win at Pocono Raceway.
The race at Martinsville is a fitting example. Hamlin had the lead on lap 494 of 500, but a tap from Bowman sent him into a spin and brought out the overtime-forcing caution. Bowman lined up on the front row next to Busch for the final restart, and then he jumped back to the lead for the final run to the finish line.
He captured the checkered flag for the fourth time in 2021 while Hamlin made some strong comments during his post-race interview. Though the driver of the No. 11 first interrupted Bowman’s celebration.
“He’s just a hack, an absolute hack,” Hamlin said after the race to NBC Sports. “He gets his a** kicked by his teammates every week. He’s just f****** terrible. He’s just terrible, and he sees this one opportunity and he takes it. He has the fastest car every week, and he runs 10th.”
Busch Still Completed a Stunning Turnaround in Vegas
The two-time Cup Series champion had nowhere near a smooth trip to his hometown track. He dealt with a major collision with the wall in practice, as well as several incidents during the race before taking the lead in the final stage.
The issues began on March 5 when a tire went down during practice and sent the No. 18 into the wall. The collision destroyed the side of Busch’s stock car and forced him to go to a backup. However, there was another major issue considering that this backup was essentially a parts car that required hours of work.
The members of Joe Gibbs Racing came together and got the backup race-ready in about eight hours. They completed the wrap on the evening of March 5 and sent the car through inspection without issues.
Busch started at the rear of the field, but he began making moves during Stage 1. The driver of the No. 18 worked his way to the 20th position before dealing with a broken shifter. Though the team was able to make repairs during an extended pit stop.
Busch continued to deal with issues throughout the race, including a spin and a collision with the wall. However, he still worked his way through the field and took the lead multiple times.