KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — Kurt Busch was slowly driving his Jordan Brand-styled ride toward victory lane at Kansas Speedway on Sunday when car owner Denny Hamlin stopped him in his tracks, ducked his head through the window and said: “We did it.”
Did they ever.
Busch survived a weary day of tire attrition, then pinched his way past Kyle Larson for the lead with eight laps to go, before driving away from the reigning NASCAR Cup Series champion to win for the first time at Kansas — and give the up-and-coming 23XI Racing team owned by Hamlin and NBA great Michael Jordan its second win ever.
“That’s the most gratifying part, helping these guys win,” Busch said. “It’s all about team work. I don’t do this alone.”
Larson had the dominant car, riding the top line around the mile-and-a-half oval, but Busch was able to put his Toyota just about anywhere he wanted. That paid off when the two were side-by-side with eight to go and Busch squeezed by Larson, who brushed the wall and lost just enough momentum to surrender the lead — and the win.
Busch pulled his No. 45 car — one of the numbers that Jordan wore during his career — to a stop at the start-finish line and climbed out the window before throwing his arms up in triumph, the familiar Jumpman logo splashed across his fire suit.
COURTESY: AP SPORTS