Kurt Busch gets turned on the restart and makes a great save, but ends up wrecked after the No. 9 hits him.
Busch says father, Tom, got mixed up spotting for him and Kurt RELATED: "Rowdy" compares himself to Tom Brady In this day and age, if you've won four out of the past five Sprint Cup Series races, chances are your entire team is hitting on all cylinders, not just you, the driver. Kyle Busch , winner of the series' past three races, realizes the organizational success goes from top to bottom -- and that includes spotter Tony Hirschman. "Oh, for sure. Tony, he's a huge part of the team no doubt ... He's been a huge asset to our team. He's been a great help," Busch said Friday at Pocono Raceway, site of Sunday's Windows 10 400 (1:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN/MRN/SiriusXM). " ... Spotters, they are very important in our business and we rely on them probably a heck of a lot more than we probably should. Sometimes you trust those guys with everything and that's when you have the spotter wrecks, because the driver didn't double check where he was or what was going on." But Busch didn't always click with his spotter so well. In fact, he had one downright distracted one -- his dad. "I've gone through a couple spotters years ago and my dad being one of those," Busch said. "The problem with my dad is he would watch my brother ( Kurt Busch ) and me so sometimes he was spotting for my brother while he was supposed to be spotting for me. And, he's like, 'Car outside, outside,' and I'm like, 'What?' So I asked him, I said, 'Is there a car outside Kurt ?' Oh yeah. "He didn't work out too well. But, no, he got me to where I am today so he was a huge asset." The task at hand this weekend at Pocono is certainly no easy bout, with the 'Tricky Triangle' claiming one of NASCAR's most unique track layouts. The intricacies aren't lost on the appreciative Busch . "The spotters man, sometimes -- look at here at Pocono -- they're up on the tower there and heck it's three-quarters of a mile over to the backstretch in Turn 2 -- and you put your life in those guys' hands sometimes." Tune in Sunday to see if Hirschman -- not father, Tom -- can lead Busch to Victory Lane for the first time at Pocono and for the fourth straight week overall. MORE: Where Kyle stands in the Chase race
No. 18 driver gives Toyota its first victory at the Brickyard RELATED: Full race results " Updated series standings " SHOP: Busch gear INDIANAPOLIS -- "This is awesome!" Kyle Busch screamed as he crossed the start/finish line at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and continued a run that has grown from extraordinary to downright other-worldly. Holding off Kevin Harvick and Joey Logano during three late-race restarts, Busch beat Logano to the finish line by .332 seconds to win Sunday's Crown Royal presents the Jeff Kyle 400 at The Brickyard. The victory was Busch ’s fourth in the last five NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races, all coming after an 11-event absence to start the season, the result of a broken right leg and left foot suffered in a crash during the Feb. 21 NASCAR XFINITY Series race at Daytona International Speedway. "I guess Kyle's back," a disappointed Logano said after the race, uttering perhaps the biggest understatement in the modern era of stock car racing. Harvick finished third, followed by Martin Truex Jr . and Denny Hamlin . Clint Bowyer , Matt Kenseth , Kurt Busch , Kyle Larson and Brad Keselowski completed the top 10. To the suggestion that the accident may have provided additional impetus to his comeback, Kyle Busch replied, "I just think that maybe I've found my happy place. "Happy Gilmore (a movie character) – he found his happy place and he just dominated at the end, so maybe I've found that, too. Nothing better than being in Victory Lane. Nothing better than being in Victory Lane for one of the biggest wins of my career. "I just want to celebrate with my team, my wife and my family." A quick inventory of Busch's accomplishments shows that the driver of the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota: -- He is the first to sweep both the Sprint Cup and XFINITY Series races at Indianapolis. Busch won the Lilly Diabetes 250 XFINITY race on Saturday with a last-lap pass of Ryan Blaney . -- He gave Toyota its first victory at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, breaking a string of 12 straight wins by Chevrolet at the 2.5-mile track. -- He won the 33rd NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race of his career. -- He continued his relentless advance toward the top 30 in the standings and consequent eligibility for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup playoffs. In what now seems a foregone conclusion, Busch has six races to overcome a 23-point deficit to 30th-place Justin Allgaier . "We're a championship contending team," Busch asserted. "We just have to be championship eligible. Thank the good Lord for bringing me back when he did. Obviously, thanking him for all the success I've had in my life, where I'm at and all my blessings. "To get me back as quick as he did, to persevere through that and that deficit. We're still continuing on. We can't have bad days. I don't know that any of that matters—we're going to bask in this moment here." Perhaps most astounding is Busch's ability to win three straight races at three different race tracks using three different competition packages: low-downforce at Kentucky with a 3.5-inch spoiler; standard 2015 rules at New Hampshire with a six-inch spoiler; and high-drag at Indianapolis with a nine-inch spoiler and one-inch wicker. Logano fell just short of giving team owner Roger Penske, a 16-time Indianapolis 500 winner, his first Sprint Cup victory at The Brickyard. RELATED: Logano says, 'I'm glad he's back, but geez' "You come to Indy, and it's all about the win," said Logano, who took the checkered flag in the season-opening Daytona 500 this year. "You either win or finish last. It doesn't really matter anywhere in-between. At least that's the way I race when I come to a track like this. I feel like, at Daytona and Indy, it's all about getting trophies and rings and making out with bricks. "Overall, it was a good day, but second hurts. It always does." Jeff Gordon 's last race at The Brickyard as a full-time Cup driver—and his hopes for an unprecedented sixth victory at the 2.5-mile track—suffered an irreparable blow on Lap 50. Racing to the inside of Harvick, Bowyer's Toyota got loose and spun. Gordon checked up, trying to avoid Bowyer's car, but the No. 24 Chevrolet swerved out of control into the outside wall in Turn 3. The resulting damage ended any hope of another Brickyard trophy for the four-time Sprint Cup champion. "I was underneath Kasey Kahne and we were just racing for position," Gordon said as his crew worked feverishly in the garage to repair the car. "I saw Bowyer get sideways. I don't know what caused it. Me and Kasey were trying to check up to avoid it. I don't know if he got loose or we just both got loose together. Then I just lost control and got in the wall." Gordon finished 42nd and lost one spot to 11th in the series standings. Without a win this season, Gordon is in jeopardy of missing the Chase and can ill-afford another day like Sunday. FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Dale Jr., Hamlin also topped Friday's practice leaderboards RELATED: See the new spoiler at Indy this weekend Practice 3: Full results Kurt Busch led the final Sprint Cup Series practice on Friday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in preparation for Sunday’s Crown Royal Presents the Jeff Kyle 400 at the Brickyard (3:30 p.m. ET, NBC Sports Network/Live Extra, SiriusXM). The Stewart-Haas Racing driver jumped to the lead near the end of the final session, putting up a high speed of 181.987 mph. Coming up short in speed to the No. 41 driver was Kevin Harvick (181.763 mph). Kyle Larson (181.357 mph), Jimmie Johnson (180.697 mph) and Martin Truex Jr . (180.672 mph) rounded out the top-five fastest on the leaderboard. Denny Hamlin led the series’ first practice at the Brickyard, but fell to 31st-fastest in the final round. Dale Earnhardt Jr . also led a practice session, but was 32nd-fastest, right behind Hamlin, in the closing run. Jeff Gordon , the defending race winner, finished 23rd-fastest in the final session. The Sprint Cup Series takes the track at the Brickyard for the Coors Light Pole Qualifying session tomorrow at 1:10 p.m. ET (NBC Sports Network/Live Extra). Practice 2: Full results A fast lap of 181.466 mph sent Dale Earnhardt Jr .'s No. 88 soaring to the top of the leaderboard early during Friday's second practice at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The Hendrick Motorsports driver found more speed in this session, having posted a high speed of 181.046 mph (ranked seventh) in the opening session this morning at the Brickyard. Team Penske 's Brad Keselowski came up just behind Earnhardt, scoring a fast lap of 181.448 mph in his No. 2 Ford to snag the second spot. Earnhardt's Hendrick Motorsports teammate Kasey Kahne ranked third (181.408 mph), while Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates' Kyle Larson (181.378 mph) and Michael Waltrip Racing 's Clint Bowyer (181.331 mph) rounded out the top five. Last year's Brickyard 400 winner Jeff Gordon showed speed again in this session, propelling around the famed speedway at 181.189 mph to earn the sixth spot. Sprint Cup Series champion Kevin Harvick was 14th-fastest, rounding the Indiana track at 179.583 mph in his No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet. Reigning XFINITY champion Chase Elliott -- who will be making his fourth Sprint Cup Series start in Sunday's 400-mile event -- clocked a fast lap of 178.798 mph in his No. 25 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet, giving him the 17th-fastest speed in the field. After topping the opening practice, Denny Hamlin ran into trouble early in the second session when the hood of his No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota flew up and hit the windshield. The bizarre occurance -- which NASCAR determined was caused by the hood not being properly pinned down -- brought out the caution for debris. His No. 11 team replaced the hood and the windshield and Hamlin returned to the race track to score the 12th-fastest speed. Paul Menard 's No. 27 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet returned to the track after hitting the wall during opening practice. The 2011 Brickyard 400 winner ranked 22nd on the leaderboard. Practice 1: Full results Denny Hamlin rose to the top of the leaderboard Friday morning in opening NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice as teams got their first taste of a new aerodynamic package at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Hamlin drove the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 11 Toyota to a fast lap of 182.208 mph on the 2.5-mile track. The 34-year-old driver won the Coors Light Pole Award at the Brickyard in 2012. Jimmie Johnson , a four-time Brickyard winner, managed the second-fastest lap at 181.796 mph in the 85-minute session, but the show of speed was tempered by a fuel-pressure issue that brought the Hendrick Motorsports No. 48 Chevrolet to a halt on the track at the 50-minute mark of practice. He was pushed back to the garage with help from the No. 14 Chevy of Tony Stewart . Defending Sprint Cup Series champion and current points leader Kevin Harvick was third-fastest at 181.756 mph in the Stewart-Haas Racing No. 4 Chevrolet in preparation for Sunday's Crown Royal Presents the Jeff Kyle 400 at the Brickyard (3:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, IMS, SiriusXM). Five-time Brickyard winner Jeff Gordon was fourth-fastest at 181.444 mph in preparation for his final race at the historic speedway. Gordon prevailed in the inaugural NASCAR race at Indy in 1994 and triumphed last season to top the series' all-time win list at the 2.5-mile track. Stewart, a two-time Brickyard winner, completed the top five on the leaderboard. With new aero devices in place to make the cars less smooth through the air, Hamlin's speed was significantly slower than Matt Kenseth 's 186.285 mph lap that led first practice at the Brickyard last year. The lap was also off the 188.470-mph pace set by Kevin Harvick in Coors Light Pole Qualifying at Indianapolis in 2014. The new high-drag rules package was designed with the hopes of promoting more side-by-side racing at the rectangular track, where passing has typically been difficult. The biggest aerodynamic change was to the rear spoiler, which was raised to a 9-inch height and capped by a new wicker bill on top. Though a portion of the larger spoiler is made of clear, hard Lexan plastic, a handful of drivers -- Dale Earnhardt Jr . and Daytona 500 winner Joey Logano among them -- complained of some visibility issues in their rear view. Chase Elliott , set to replace Gordon as a Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidate in the Hendrick Motorsports No. 24 Chevrolet next season, was 15th-fastest in preparation for the fourth Sprint Cup start of his career. His No. 25 Chevy from the Hendrick stables clocked a best lap of 179.939 mph. Former Indianapolis winner Paul Menard scraped the outside retaining wall at approximately the 30-minute mark, causing slight damage to the right side of the Richard Childress Racing No. 27 Chevrolet. After repairs, Menard was able to return to the track, setting the 21st-fastest lap. Two more practices are scheduled Friday for the Sprint Cup Series -- 1-2:25 p.m. ET and 4-5:55 p.m. ET, with both broadcast on NBC Sports Network. Coors Light Pole Qualifying, which will use single-car runs to set the 43-car field, is scheduled Saturday at 1:10 p.m. ET. FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Complete news and notes on all 43 cars in the Windows 10 400 RELATED: Full race results " Series standings " Chase Grid Breaking down how the full 43-car field fared at Pocono Raceway. 1. Matt Kenseth , No. 20 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . Kenseth was 16 seconds behind leader Kyle Busch in the closing laps, but the driver of the No. 20 saved enough fuel to pass his teammate and coast to his first Pocono win. 2. Brad Keselowski , No. 2 Ford, Team Penske . "Sorry about that, guys. Everybody OK?" Keselowski asked his team after he locked up his brakes, slid through his pit box and hit two crew members during his Lap 58 green-flag stop. He rallied to score his fifth top five of the year. 3. Jeff Gordon , No. 24 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports . Gordon matched his best 2015 finish when his Pocono finale became a fuel-mileage race and he climbed from 16th. 4. Dale Earnhardt Jr ., No. 88 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports . Earnhardt and his team battled through a variety of issues -- a pit road penalty and mid-race spin among them -- to be in the right place and climb from 17th to fourth in the final 10 laps as the leaders ran out of fuel. 5. Greg Biffle , No. 16 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing . Biffle recorded his second top-five of the year thanks to -- you guessed it -- fuel mileage. He also led Laps 125-126 during green-flag stops and kept working with his team to find grip. 6. Jimmie Johnson , No. 48 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports . Johnson was forced to pit for fuel with three laps to go and climbed through the field to earn his 14th top-10 as competitors faded. 7. AJ Allmendinger , No. 47 Chevrolet, JTG Daugherty Racing . A missed shift triggered a vibration for Allmendinger, who worked through the issue to score his third top-10 of the year. 8. Clint Bowyer , No. 15, Toyota, Michael Waltrip Racing . Bowyer started saving fuel while running 11th with 18 laps to go. 9. Tony Stewart , No. 14 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . It was a solid day for Stewart, who started fifth before recording just his second top-10 this season. 10. Carl Edwards , No. 19 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . Edwards was running ninth in the closing laps when he hit pit road for a quick splash of fuel. 11. Paul Menard , No. 27 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing . Menard spent the majority of Sunday’s race running inside the top 15 and saved one lap of fuel to make it to the end. 12. Kyle Larson , No. 42 Chevrolet, Chip Ganassi Racing . Fuel mileage wasn’t on Larson’s side, but he was still pleased with the effort and later tweeted, "Best car we’ve had all year though and pit crew did an awesome job all day." 13. Austin Dillon , No. 3 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing . With crew chief Slugger Labbe at the helm, Dillon posted his best Pocono result. 14. Landon Cassill , No. 40 Chevrolet, Hillman Smith Motorsports. Cassill ran as high as second en route to his best career Pocono showing. 15. Jamie McMurray , No. 1 Chevrolet. Chip Ganassi Racing . McMurray said Pocono was slicker this weekend than it was in June and he spent the race chasing the handling of his car. 16. Danica Patrick , No. 10 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . Patrick had a mid-race scare when a piece of trash adhered itself to her car’s grille and caused her temperatures to spike. 17. David Ragan , No. 55 Toyota, Michael Waltrip Racing . Ragan improved to run 10th, but ran out of fuel in the final laps and coasted across the finish line. 18. Aric Almirola , No. 43 Ford, Richard Petty Motorsports . Almirola reported a throttle issue during the first half of Sunday’s race, but appeared to have the right amount of fuel to make it to the end. 19. Martin Truex Jr ., No. 78 Chevrolet, Furniture Row Racing . Truex was running second in the final laps and had to hit pit road for a quick splash to finish the race. A pit road speeding penalty incurred during the stop damaged his forward progress. 20. Joey Logano , No. 22 Ford, Team Penske . Logano led a race-high 97 laps and was cruising toward his second win of the year when his car ran out of fuel with three laps to go. He then picked up a speeding penalty while refueling. 21. Kyle Busch , No. 18 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . The pole sitter focused on fuel conservation and took over the race lead briefly before sputtering out himself with two laps to go. 22. Denny Hamlin , No. 11 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . Hamlin focused on crisp shifts as he nursed a gearbox issue and maintained his position inside the top 10 until he also ran out of fuel. 23. Ryan Newman , No. 31 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing . Newman was running 16th when he ran out of fuel in the closing laps. 24. Justin Allgaier , No. 51 Chevrolet, HScott Motorsports . Allgaier was having a solid day, running inside the top 15, when he pitted just prior to the Lap 92 caution flag and lost track position. 25. Alex Bowman , No. 7 Chevrolet, Tommy Baldwin Racing . Bowman improved upon his best Pocono outing after a solid effort on Sunday. 26. Michael Annett , No. 46 Chevrolet, HScott Motorsports . Annett’s car started tight and then snapped to loose as Sunday’s race unfolded. 27. Cole Whitt , No. 35 Ford, Front Row Motorsports . Whitt struggled to find consistency in his car and sustained damage while running in the pack. 28. Casey Mears , No. 13 Chevrolet, Germain Racing . Mears restarted 13th after picking up eight spots on pit road during the final caution. Subsequently, he reported that his car was plowing through the corners. 29. Matt DiBenedetto , No. 83 Toyota, BK Racing . DiBenedetto stayed out of trouble to post his best Pocono finish. 30. J.J. Yeley, No. 23 Toyota, BK Racing . Yeley was awarded the Lucky Dog pass on the seventh caution period, but struggled to capture any momentum. 31. Brett Moffitt , No. 34 Ford, Front Row Motorsports . On Lap 27, Moffitt made contact with teammate David Gilliland and sustained a significant tire rub. 32. Travis Kvapil , No. 32 Ford, Go Fas Racing. Kvapil held steady to improve upon his most recent Pocono performance. 33. David Gilliland , No. 38 Ford, Front Row Motorsports . During late-race green-flag stops, Gilliland’s team tried to get the front end of the car down after earlier contact elevated his splitter. 34. Reed Sorenson , No. 98 Ford, Phil Parsons Racing. Sorenson was the Lucky Dog three times in a row, but struggled to find a rhythm and stay on the lead lap. 35. Jeb Burton , No. 26 Toyota, BK Racing . "They’re lucky no one was pitting that time," Burton radioed his team after Kahne’s early-race crash on pit road brought out the red flag. "They’ve gotten lucky twice. Something needs to change." Burton was in a similar incident during Saturday’s final practice session. 36. Timmy Hill , No. 62 Chevrolet, Premium Motorsports. Hill recorded his best 2015 result in his third Cup event. 37. Kurt Busch , No. 41 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . Busch was inadvertently turned by Paul Menard in Turn 1 and then nailed by Sam Hornish Jr . 38. Alex Kennedy , No. 33 Chevrolet, Circle Sport . Kennedy spun on Lap 92 to bring out the eighth caution flag. 39. Sam Hornish Jr ., No. 9 Ford, Richard Petty Motorsports . Hornish missed a shift early in the race, which caused a world of hurt for him and others navigating the Tricky Triangle. 40. Trevor Bayne , No. 6 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing . Bayne’s best Pocono start was stalled just past the midway point when a wayward tail pipe went through the radiator of his car. 41. Ricky Stenhouse Jr ., No. 17, Roush Fenway Racing . Stenouse braked hard but couldn’t avoid crashing into the back of a slowing Sam Hornish Jr . in Turn 1 on Lap 28. 42. Kevin Harvick , No. 4 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . The outside pole sitter opted to stay on track during the competition caution and blew up after leading the field to green on Lap 17. 43. Kasey Kahne , No. 5 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports . Kahne got loose on Lap 5 coming off Turn 3 and slammed into the pit road wall, sending helmets flying and pit crew personnel scurrying. FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
No. 41 Stewart-Haas Racing driver talks team chemistry post-Sonoma RELATED: Full race results " Updated series standings SONOMA, Calif. -- Kurt Busch finished second to younger brother Kyle for the first time in a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race Sunday at Sonoma Raceway. Both have been competing in the series full-time since 2005. Both have won plenty of races. Never had they finished 1-2, until now. The elder Busch ( Kurt will be seven years older upon his birthday in August) wasn't complaining following the Toyota/SaveMart 350, but if he'd had his druthers … "Now I wish I could have gotten up there and moved him," Kurt said, grinning. "I was trying to think if we've ever finished 1-2, and we did it today. That's a pretty special moment. I've got over 500 starts. I know he's over 300. Can you imagine, 800 starts between the two of us, we almost have 30 wins each, and that's the first time we've ever finished 1-2." Kurt nearly led the most laps in the 110-lap race, the 16th of 36 points races this season, sitting out front for 43 circuits. Only Jimmie Johnson led more, pacing the field for 45. Kurt led under green for the final time from laps 67 through 74; he was 15th on a restart with 32 laps remaining after pitting when many others stayed out. One by one, he picked his way through the field, the run briefly delayed by an off-track excursion moments after he passed Joey Logano ( Team Penske ) for fourth with 15 laps remaining. "I've lost all rear grip," Busch told his crew. He'd also picked up a noticeable amount of debris on the front of his Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet as well. When the caution flew moments later, coming to pit road was a no-brainer, said crew chief Tony Gibson. "We had a tire going down, a left rear tire that was going flat so it actually turned out good," Gibson said. "If we hadn’t pitted that last time there, I feel like we would have been in bad shape. So it actually worked out to our benefit to pit. "We just needed to be about two cars up further on that restart." The final caution saw several drivers hit pit road; Johnson chose to stay out, as did a few others. Busch was ninth on the restart. He passed Clint Bowyer for second with one lap remaining. His brother wasn’t long gone, but gone just the same. "We had a fast car; I think we had the car to win for sure," Gibson said. "There at the end I knew those guys would get swallowed up on old tires. You saw that last year here with 10 to go when (Dale Earnhardt) Junior and those guys pitted and drove right back up through there. "We lost a couple of spots getting on pit road … which probably made the difference and the 15 (Bowyer) held us up a little bit there. But at the end of the day we led a lot of laps, it was an awesome race car and the guys did a great job." Busch was suspended for the season’s first three races, but has won twice (at Richmond and Michigan) since returning. He’s 10th in points and assured of being on of this year’s 16 drivers competing in the Chase for the Sprint Cup . "We almost could have had as many race wins as we had races we were under suspension, so there's so many things that have gone into place for us to be successful," Busch said. "And the number one thing is Tony Gibson. He builds great race cars, and it's a pleasure to drive for him, and I love the team camaraderie. "I haven't had this type of team chemistry since my championship year (2004). It feels good to have that." FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Kurt Busch struggles with loose conditions and goes for a spin while running in the tenth position at Kentucky Speedway.
Kevin Harvick's engine expires while battling for the lead with Kurt Busch .
See how the postseason picture looks after 21 races Note: Kyle Busch has four wins and is the only driver with a win outside the top 30. Kyle Busch must finish in the top 30 in points after the regular-season finale at Richmond International Raceway to make the Chase field.
Kyle Busch talks about the importance of spotting and how his dad once got Kurt mixed up with Kyle while spotting a race.