LAS VEGAS — Two decades of heartbreak at his home track finally ended for Kurt Busch when a little bit of luck fell his way at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Busch happened to be the leader when a late caution Sunday night jumbled the field and put him in control of his 0-for-21 losing streak in his hometown. He had three magnificent restarts, including one in overtime, to steal a vital playoff race.
The good timing helped Busch sneak his way into the third round of the NASCAR Cup playoffs. He had been ranked last among the 12 title contenders before the race; now he’s guaranteed a slot in the round of eight.
“This is 20 years of agony and defeat and today triumph,” Busch said. “I don’t know if I have any gas left or if I just filled my tank up to go win every race. This is my hometown and I have so many people to thank and I know they are watching on television so proud of their hometown driver.”
The win, the first of the season for the 2004 Cup champion, was celebrated alongside younger brother, Kyle. The reigning NASCAR champion slammed doors with his big brother on the cool-down lap. Busch then took the checkered flag to the finish line and smacked it on each of the letters in Las Vegas.
“This is what kids dream of when they grow up racing. You dream of winning at your hometown track,” said Busch, “and for two decades it’s kicked my butt.”
It was the first win of the year for Chip Ganassi Racing and the first in the playoffs for a Chevrolet driver.
Busch happened to be the leader during a a round of green flag pit stops interrupted with 32 laps remaining by just