Kurt Busch locked up his first victory of the NASCAR Cup Series season Sunday, opening the postseason’s Round of 12 by winning the South Point 400 as a hometown favorite at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Busch’s No. 1 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet led 29 of the 268 laps, claiming a .148-second margin of victory at the drop of the checkered flag in overtime. His first win at the 1.5-mile Vegas track was the 32nd of his Cup Series career.
The triumph provides Busch with an automatic berth in the postseason’s Round of 8, the final three-race series before a champion is crowned at Phoenix Raceway in the Nov. 8 season finale.
Matt DiBenedetto finished second in the Wood Brothers No. 21 Ford. Denny Hamlin led a race-high 121 laps and took third in the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 11 Toyota, just ahead of teammate Martin Truex Jr. in fourth and Alex Bowman closing out the top five.
A caution flag with 32 laps remaining jumbled the running order, with debris from a shredded right-rear tire on Jimmie Johnson’s No. 48 Chevrolet splitting up a pit-stop cycle. DiBenedetto inherited the lead, and Busch was the only championship-eligible driver on the lead lap when the yellow flag flew.
Other playoff contenders ran into trouble. A collision between Kyle Busch and Joey Logano early in Stage 2 hurt the latter the most. Logano pulled the No. 22 Team Penske Ford to pit road with a tire rub and he resumed the race in 32nd place, one lap down. He rallied to finish 14th, and Kyle Busch continued to place sixth.
Austin Dillon, who had a strong showing in the opening Round of 16, endured a rocky start to the next round with a pair of pitfalls in the final stage. Dillon lost ground with a pit-road penalty after a crewman toppled over the pit wall, then lost several laps while his Richard Childress Racing crew changed a broken power-steering belt on the No. 3 Chevrolet. He was 32nd at the finish.
THE FRATERNAL ORDER OF THE GO FAST
This week there was not a player who had the foresight to have the driver formally known as The Outlaw, now wishing to be known by his given name, Kurt Busch, as their choice. Therefore, as has been the case over this race season, I will slip this award back into “the closet” until the checkered flag falls at Talladega.
THE MOVERS AND THE SHAKERS
Even though there is likely to be an internal investigation regarding Amber The Extremely Cheddar Head and just how she has been able to score more points than anyone else within the Redneck Fantasy League, as of this writing. She, once again, racked up the most points totaling 40 big ones Sunday.
Doing nearly as good as The Cheddar Head at Vegas is a trio of senior citizens that include Bernie The Bay Area Bandit, Jim, aka Chiefy, and Edie The Las Vegas Super Star. All three players were hoping that the Junior Busch Brother, aka ol Kylie, could pull off his first victory of the season in this round of 12. That did not happen Sunday, but he still put 39 points into their buckets for Vegas!
Meanwhile, Carlton The Doorman racked up a very nice 32 points from the South Point 400. The Doorman was the only player to have a ride along with Sliced Bread, aka Joey Logano, for the Las Vegas weekend.
There were five players that were banding together this weekend to root and support Blazingly Bad Brad Keselowski. Those five players include Dan The Numbers Cruncher, Carole, aka Rudy, Linda The Cookie Mom, Snoopy Dawn, and lastly Leon Your Most Humble Sheriff. All five of these players were rewarded 24 points for their loyalty.
Rounding out the top five scorers of the week is Jeremy The Coach who pocketed 13 points from his chosen dude, William Byron.
Slightly more than half of the fantasy league remained in their previous locales Sunday. After doing basic math that leaves five players who exchanged zip codes after Las Vegas. The largest mover of the race is Jim, aka Chiefy. Ol Chiefy really stepped up his game Sunday moving up three (3) positions to move into 4th place.
Another high flyer after the race was Jeremy The Coach. The Coach moved two (2) positions as the Sun set in Vegas, falling down to 8th places when it was all said and done.
The remaining three players, Carole, aka Rudy, Snoopy Dawn, as well as Bernie The Bay Area Bandit, just slide next door from their previous location. La Bandita moved up one place to rest now in 8th, while Rudy and Snoopy slid down one spot to now sit in 5th and 6th, respectively.
STRAIGHT FROM THE CRAPPER
Well this week we won’t be celebrating a 2-fer! Jeremy The Coach was having such a great day for about 2/3 of the race, and then his man, William Byron, got pinched up into another car and his evening turned into crap! When that happened, The Coach’s night turned into crap as well. The Coach could only muster up 13 points this week and that would give him The Crappiest Pick of the Week award, single-handedly.
The race for The Outhouse has tightened up significantly! Even though Edie The Las Vegas Super Star was given another week rent free in The Outhouse this week, Linda The Cookie Mom is standing patiently outside the front door awaiting entrance, just one point behind the Vegas Super Star!
Next week NASCAR heads to the deep South, Talladega Alabama!
TIL NEXT TIME, PULL YOUR BELTS TIGHT AND LET’S GO RACIN’!