Kyle Busch keeps his win streak alive at Texas with first victory of the season

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Kyle Busch’s streak lives on.

The 2019 Cup Series champion got his first win of 2020 in Wednesday night’s rain-delayed race at Texas. Busch was saving fuel and held off teammate Martin Truex Jr. for the win.

The victory continues Busch’s run of winning at least one race in each of his Cup Series seasons. Busch started driving full-time at NASCAR’s top level in 2005 and now has a 16-year win streak.

Busch was visibly relieved and satisfied after he got out of his car. He had been eliminated from the playoffs in the second round;

“The last three laps though? It’s like winning a championship, that’s how nervous I was,” Busch said as he wondered if his car was going to run out of fuel over the final few laps.

The car did not run out of gas until Busch went to do a burnout.

Busch’s win denied Truex Jr. an automatic spot in the title race at Phoenix in less than two weeks. Truex entered Sunday’s race — well, the race started on Sunday — with a 20-point penalty after NASCAR confiscated his car’s spoiler following pre-race inspection.

The penalty meant that Truex had to start at the back of the field on Sunday. But he quickly maneuvered his way to the front of the field and was up there for much of the race.

But Busch got the lead by stretching his fuel over the final two fuel runs. Busch pitted from the lead with 66 laps to go after he almost ran out of gas following a 68-lap fuel run. The fuel stretching on the penultimate run allowed Busch to realistically make it to the end of the race without another pit stop.

Once Truex pitted, Busch was nearly six seconds ahead of his teammate. That gap allowed Busch to feather the throttle enough to preserve gas. And while Truex closed in on Busch over the final 40 laps, he never got close enough to make a challenge for the win.

FORT WORTH, TEXAS - OCTOBER 28: Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Skittles Zombie Toyota, celebrates after winning  the NASCAR Cup Series Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on October 28, 2020 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
Kyle Busch's win streak lives on. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

Kevin Harvick goes from 36th to 16th

Kevin Harvick’s misfortune during the Sunday portion of the race helped narrow up the points standings. At least at the top.

Harvick hit the wall during the first 52 laps run on a misty Sunday before the three-day rain delay. He was 36th when the race restarted on Wednesday and was able to get back onto the lead lap before he lost a lap to Busch at the end of the race.

His struggles mean that Denny Hamlin and Brad Keselowski are within striking distance to pass Harvick in the standings at Martinsville. Though the deficits could be a heck of a lot worse.

Harvick is now just 15 points ahead of Hamlin and 17 points ahead of Keselowski entering the final race of the semifinal round. Harvick only lost six points to Hamlin thanks to Hamlin’s inability to earn stage points on Wednesday while Keselowski was able to gain 16 points over the course of the race.

The top four drivers in the standings after Martinsville will race for the title at Phoenix on Nov. 8. If Truex, Chase Elliott, Alex Bowman or Kurt Busch win the race, then one of Harvick, Hamlin and Keselowski will be eliminated.

Points standings

1. Joey Logano [Win at Kansas]

2. Kevin Harvick, 4,137 points

3. Denny Hamlin, 4,122

4. Brad Keselowski, 4,120

5. Martin Truex Jr., 4,104

6. Chase Elliott, 4,095

7. Alex Bowman, 4,095

8. Kurt Busch, 4,039

Chase Elliott’s day goes south in stage 2

Elliott finished 20th because he had to pit twice at the end of the second stage.

The first pit stop was a fuel-only stop designed for Elliott to try to score points at the end of the second stage by finishing in the top 10. But Elliott realized he had a tire issue right after that stop and had to come back to pit road a second time. That second pit stop prevented Elliott from earning stage points and also put him a lap down. He never was able to make up that lap.

Elliott now enters the Martinsville race 27 points back of Hamlin and 25 points back of Keselowski. Elliott has been eliminated in the semifinal round of the playoffs in each of the past three seasons. And right now, it sure looks like it’s going to be four in a row.

NASCAR at Texas results

1. Kyle Busch

2. Martin Truex Jr.

3. Christopher Bell

4. Ryan Blaney

5. Alex Bowman

6. Brad Keselowski

7. Kurt Busch

8. Matt DiBenedetto

9. Denny Hamlin

10. Joey Logano

11. Austin Dillon

12. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

13. William Byron

14. Cole Custer

15. Tyler Reddick

16. Kevin Harvick

17. Clint Bowyer

18. Ryan Preece

19. Ryan Newman

20. Chase Elliott

21. Erik Jones

22. John Hunter Nemechek

23. Aric Almirola

24. Ty Dillon

25. Corey LaJoie

26. Michael McDowell

27. Daniel Suarez

28. Brennan Poole

29. Josh Bilicki

30. Timmy Hill

31. Garrett Smithley

32. Reed Sorenson

33. Quin Houff

34. Chris Buescher

35. Chad Finchum

36. Jimmie Johnson

37. Joey Gase

38. Bubba Wallace

39. Matt Kenseth

40. JJ Yeley

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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.

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