Kyle Busch Wins for Richard Childress Racing in Fontana
Over fifteen seasons with Joe Gibbs Racing, Kyle Busch won 56 points-paying races and two championships. He became a face of NASCAR, an anchor for Toyota racing, and a perennial contender to be feared at every kind of track. It all ended this past offseason, with a drawn-out free agency that seemed increasingly unlikely to end with a deal to stay at JGR before he finally announced his plans to move to Richard Childress Racing for 2023. Through an exhibition and two points-paying races at three very different tracks, Busch's new era is off to an incredible start.
Two weeks before the season started, and just days after a detainment in Mexico over a firearm brought onto a plane, Busch finished second at the Clash at the Coliseum showcase race. He was wrecked out of contention for the win in both the Daytona 500 and its qualifying races, but he showed overwhelming speed and moved into position to win the race with an exceptional move alongside teammate Austin Dillon before a late single-car crash led to multiple restarts. All that led to today's race in Fontana, where he found himself racing Ross Chastain side-by-side for the lead on the way down to the pit lane for the day's final stop.
Busch held the lead out of the pit lane, with Chastain close behind. Then, Busch pulled away. He went on to win the race by nearly 4 seconds, beating out Chase Elliott and Chastain to lead a 1-2-3-4 finish for Chevrolet in his first win for the brand since his final season at Hendrick Motorsports all the way back in 2007.
The win already puts Busch in a strong position to make the postseason, giving him the chance to fight for a title he always expects. It also marks a record nineteen consecutive seasons with at least one race win. In the Fall, Busch will have a shot to give Richard Childress Racing its best shot at a title since Kevin Harvick left the team in the early 2010s. The program has not won a title since Dale Earnhardt won his seventh in 1994.
The NASCAR season continues at Busch's home track, the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, next weekend. The venue of today's race, the former California Speedway, will be demolished as part of a sale of most of the property to outside investors. A short track reconfiguration announced in February 2020 should theoretically fit inside the remaining property, but final construction plans have not been announced.
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