FORT WORTH (AP) — Kyle Busch finished ahead of Kevin Harvick and the rest of the field this time, winning at Texas Motor Speedway on Sunday to give Joe Gibbs Racing its first victory of the season.
Busch stayed in front of Harvick the last 24 laps after the final restart. It was Busch’s third win at Texas, and the 44th of his career. He led 116 of the 334 laps at the 1 1/2-mile track.
While Busch hadn’t won in the first six races, he had finished second three times — twice to Harvick — and is the NASCAR Cup Series points leader. He also had a third-place finish in the No. 18 Toyota.
Harvick, who won at Texas in November, led 87 of the first 129 laps and won the first stage. But he had issues on pit road, including a strange incident during a caution when a lugnut popped loose and into the jack. He dropped from first to ninth on that stop, then had to come back in a few laps later because of a loose wheel.
There was another stop when Harvick, who dropped back as far as 27th place and a lap behind the leader, got a penalty for an extra man over the wall when a tire got loose in the pit.
Jamie McMurray finished third, ahead of Erik Jones. Ryan Blaney finished fifth a day after he won the Xfinity Series race there.
Kurt Busch, the pole sitter, finished seventh.
Stewart-Haas Racing had the top three starters in a race for the first time with Harvick, Busch and Clint Bowyer, and all finished in the top 10. Bowyer, coming off a win two weeks ago at Martinsville to end his 190-race winless streak, was ninth.
(© Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)