by Brian Turrel
Kurt Busch used a family connection and then a sly move to take the lead in the AdventHealth 400 with eight laps remaining. The veteran driver went on to take the checkered flag, his 34th win but only the first with 23XI Racing, a new team started last year by co-owners Michael Jordan and Denny Hamlin.
Though Busch led at the end of stage 2, a slow pit stop under caution on lap 234 dropped him into third place behind his brother Kyle Busch, with Kyle Larson in the lead.
After Kyle Busch made an attempt to pass Larson and conceded his car didn’t have enough pace, he let Kurt move up to second and try his luck.
Kurt had taken the measure of Larson on a earlier pass and was sheltering his tires for a late-race move. Judging that Larson would be weakest at turn 2, he made his move there and had the speed and grip to make it stick.
Once in clean air, Busch’s Toyota was at its strongest and got well clear of Larson by the last lap.
As Busch described it afterwards, “It all unfolded perfectly where I was able to make the move and not lose momentum and break the draft and bring our Toyota home to victory lane.”
Larson finished second. Kyle Busch finished third and won stage 1. Denny Hamlin finished fourth, and Christopher Bell, who qualified with the fastest time, led 37 laps and finished fifth.
Kansas City, Kansas, Mayor Tyrone Garner was in attendance and reflected on the event before the race.
“This is awesome, having people from all over the country come and converge on Wyandotte County and Kansas City, Kansas. It really highlights how awesome our community is,” the mayor said.
“Really, you couldn’t ask for a better venue, when you talk about NASCAR and the longstanding partnership Wyandotte County’s had.”
“I’m optimistic about the future,” Garner added. “This is a good example of the value of positive partnerships we have with entities such as NASCAR.”
NASCAR racing returns to Kansas Speedway with the Xfinity Series Kansas Lottery 300 on Sept. 10 and the NASCAR Cup Series Hollywood Casino 400 on Sept. 11.