Larson beats Buescher in closest finish in NASCAR history at Kansas

Kyle Larson beat Chris Buescher in the closest finish in NASCAR Cup Series history Sunday night at Kansas Speedway.

The margin of victory was 0.001s in the AdventHealth 400. Larson went outside Buescher through Turns 3 and 4, which Buescher tried to slow down by crowding the Hendrick Motorsports driver. The two wound up in a drag race off the corner, banging doors once as they moved down the track toward the apron before crossing the finish line.

It was unclear at first who had won the race. After reviewing its high-speed camera, NASCAR called Larson and the No. 5 team to victory lane.


“I don’t know. That was wild,” Larson said. “I was obviously thankful for that caution; we were dying pretty bad and was happy to come out [of pit road] third and figured my best shot was to choose the bottom and just try to split three wide to the inside. It worked out; my car turned well and I got some runs. I got through [Turns 1 and 2] really good down the backstretch and had a big tow on Chris and got him to kind of enter shallow, and I just committed really hard up top.


“I wasn’t quite sure if we were going to make it out the other side; I got super loose in the center, and then I’m trying not to get too far ahead of him to where he can side draft, and then I was just trying to kill his run. It was just crazy.

“That race from the start to finish was amazing. That first stage was incredible, the second stage at the end was fun and then that whole last stage with the wrecks and cautions and then fuel strategy and tires running long and all that was wild. You guys got your money’s worth today, and I’m just proud to be a part of the show.”

The victory was Larson’s second of the season and second at Kansas Speedway. It is the 25th of his career. He led 63 laps.

Buescher was on the losing side of history while earning his second runner-up finish of the season. The RFK Racing driver was left in disbelief afterward.

“I don’t know what to say right now. I haven’t seen a replay other than a picture and I sure can’t see it in that picture,” said Buescher, who led 54 laps. “That sucks to be that close. … It was a great finish for us, a really strong day, and a lot of speed in this Castrol Edge Ford Mustang, and we really needed that. Needed a win more and thought we might have had that one. We had a lot of speed there firing off, we were really good really all day, and I’m really proud of that. We had some good strategy to get us back up there and tried to cover what I could, and gave him half a lane too much, I suppose. Good, hard race there down to the line. Yeah, that hurts.”

Chase Elliott finished third, edging out Martin Truex Jr. at the finish line. The two were quickly closing on the top two coming to the checkered flag.

Denny Hamlin finished fifth. He led a race-high 71 laps and was the leader going into overtime. Hamlin, however, restarted on the bottom, and was put three wide when Larson dove inside him and Buescher.

The race’s final caution to set up overtime was for a sole spin by Kyle Busch. The Richard Childress Racing driver was running fifth when he went for a long spin through Turn 2.

Hamlin was leading Truex and Larson at the time of the caution. Hamlin, Buescher, Larson, and six other drivers took two tires on pit road. Truex came off pit road 10th as the first driver with four tires.

For the overtime restart, Hamlin and Buescher were on the front row, with Larson and Elliott in the second. Ryan Blaney and Noah Gragson were in the third row, John Hunter Nemechek and Alex Bowman in the fourth, and then Corey Heim and Truex in the fifth.

Truex made quick work to get himself into the top five. Buescher led Larson and Truex at the white flag.

Completing the top 10 finishers were Christopher Bell in sixth place, Alex Bowman in seventh, Busch in eighth, Noah Gragson in ninth and Michael McDowell in 10th. Bell started from the pole and led five laps.

Stages 1 and 2 went caution-free. There were five cautions in the final stage.

There were 27 changes among 10 drivers. Hamlin won the first stage, and Buescher won the second stage.


Story originally appeared on Racer