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Sunday March 7th, 2021 6:46PM

Kyle Busch wins rain-delayed NASCAR playoff race in Texas

By The Associated Press
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FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — Kyle Busch won for the first time this season to extend a 16-season streak while his penalized teammate missed a chance to secure a spot in the championship in the NASCAR playoff race at Texas that finished Wednesday, three days after it started.

Busch, the reigning Cup champion who is already out of contention for the title this year, finished 0.468 seconds ahead of Martin Truex Jr., his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate who had to go to the back of the field when the race started Sunday because of an illegal spoiler.

Truex, the 2017 champion and runner-up last season, also was docked 20 points because of that spoiler, a crucial penalty for the driver who was already below the cutoff line for the top four before that. A win would have taken care of that, but he couldn't get past his teammate.

“Coming here we had a lot of confidence and we had a strong run,” Truex said. "This time of year, second is great, it’s just not good enough.”

There are spots for three other drivers to join Joey Logano for a run at the championship in the season finale Nov. 8 at Phoenix. The only race before then is Sunday at Martinsville, NASCAR's oldest and shortest track where Truex won in June and last fall.

Busch led five times and was in front for 90 of the 334 laps at the 1 1/2-mile Texas track that was finally dried out after more than three days or misty conditions and drizzle combined with cool temperatures.

It was in the mid-40s when the race finally resumed Wednesday after being on hold for 72 hours, 28 minutes, 34 seconds. The race was red-flagged Sunday after 52 laps because of the precipitation that lingered until Wednesday morning.

Kevin Harvick, Denny Hamlin, Brad Keselowski are above the cutline going to Martinsville. Chase Elliott, Alex Bowman, Truex and Kurt Busch are the other remaining contenders.

Logano secured his spot in the final four with his win 10 days earlier at Kansas to open the three-race round of eight.

Busch had just enough fuel left to do a burnout on the frontstretch and was a little slow in doing his customary winning bow.

“It's been a long time,” Busch explained about the delayed reaction.

The No. 18 Toyota needed a push from a tow truck to get to Victory Lane.

“I kept getting great leadership and mentoring” from the crew, Busch said of the saving fuel. "It ran out coming in here to do a burnout.”

The 57th career victory for Busch gives him at least one win in every year since 2005, a streak of 16 consecutive seasons. The two-time Cup champion got his fourth Cup win at Texas.

Truex led five times for 53 laps.

___

More AP NASCAR: https://apnews.com/NASCAR and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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