What Kentucky Derby? Kyle Larson Wins in Unbelievable Photo Finish at Rain-Delayed NASCAR Kansas

nascar cup series adventhealth 400
Kyle Larson Wins in Photo Finish at NASCAR Kansas!Logan Riely - Getty Images

Kyle Larson edged Chris Buescher by 0.001 second in overtime Sunday night at Kansas Speedway to claim his second victory this season and the 25th of his NASCAR Cup career in a race that produced the closest finish in Cup history.

Rounding out the top 10, respectively, in the race that was delayed more than three hours for rain were Chase Elliott, Martin Truex Jr., Denny Hamlin, Christopher Bell, Alex Bowman, Kyle Busch, Noah Gragson and Michael McDowell.

The last lap showdown between Larson and Buescher was setup by a caution that occurred with six laps remaining in the scheduled 267-lap race when Kyle Busch spun in turn two. At the time, Hamlin possessed less than a second lead over Truex. Hamlin was in fuel-conserve mode, but Truex was three laps to the good and could run at full speed. When Busch spun, that changed the race’s complexion as all of the cars on the lead lap pitted. Hamlin’s stop took 5.2 seconds and he returned to the 1.5-mile track’s racing surface in the lead.


When the race restarted on lap 267, the top five, respectively, were Hamlin, Buescher, Larson, Elliott and Blaney. Hamlin elected the inside lane for the restart with Larson, Blaney, John Hunter Nemechek and Corey Heim behind him. Buescher took the outside lane with Elliott, Gragson, Bowman and Truex trailing him.

When the green flag waved, Buescher surged into the lead on the outside while Larson passed Hamlin on the inside. Buescher received the white flag with Larson in hot pursuit. Buescher raced off turn two in the middle groove with Larson going high. Through turn four Buescher tried to keep Larson high against the wall, they slammed together twice as they charged to the checkered flag. When they reached the finish line, the splitter on the front of Larson’s Chevrolet barely touched it ahead of Buescher’s Ford.

“That race from start to finish was amazing,” said a jubilant Larson, who led six times for 63 laps. “I was thankful for that (last) caution. We were dying pretty bad.

“I got through (turns) one and two really good and had a good tow on Chris on the backstretch. Super loose through the center. I was trying to kill his run.”

Buescher couldn’t believe Larson beat him.

“I don’t know what to say. It sucks to be that close,” Buescher said.

Hamlin was the race’s top lap leader, setting the pace six times for 71 laps. Larson averaged 175.063 mph in the race that was slowed by seven caution flags.