Three big stories: Kansas

I’d make a “Wizard of Oz” reference, but y’all’ve heard them all. Plus, I can’t think of one for this piece.

Anyway, here’s three big stories from Sunday’s Buschy McBusch Race 400 (no, you didn’t misread that) at Kansas Speedway.

Three big stories: Kansas

1. Kyle Busch overcomes personal adversity to get first win of season

KANSAS CITY, Kan. – MAY 2: Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M’s Mix Toyota, takes a bow after winning the NASCAR Cup Series Buschy McBusch Race 400 at Kansas Speedway on May 2, 2021, in Kansas City, Kansas. Photo: James Gilbert/Getty Images

On top of winning Saturday’s Camping World Truck Series race at Kansas, Kyle Busch completed the weekend sweep by overtaking Kyle Larson on a late restart.

Any other weekend, that’s “same-old, same old Rowdy.” Most weeks, however, don’t also include a miscarriage.

His wife, Samantha Busch, posted a pregnancy update to her YouTube channel, Friday. In which she revealed she suffered a miscarriage for the second time in four years.

Of course, if you watched Kyle Busch after he exited his car to retrieve the checkered flag, you’d never guess he went through this. He performed his traditional post-race bow and gestured to the booing crowd to keep crying.

If nothing else, it shows what a consummate professional he is.

Three big stories: Kansas

2. The list of winners grows longer, while the playoff spots shrink

KANSAS CITY, Kan. – MAY 2: Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Busch Light For The Farmers Ford, drives during the NASCAR Cup Series Buschy McBusch Race 400 at Kansas Speedway on May 02, 2021, in Kansas City, Kansas. Photo: Sean Gardner/Getty Images

Make that 10 different winners.

After 11 NASCAR Cup Series race in 2021, Busch added his name to the growing list of different winners. And much like the landing slots at London Heathrow Airport*, the number of automatic playoff spots for race winners diminishes.

*Shoutout to the six avgeeks who follow me that get that.

Naturally, as the season progresses, we’ll see diminishing returns on different winners. At this point, the only remaining driver I see definitely winning soon is Denny Hamlin.

I doubt we’ll get 18 or 19 different race winners, but time will tell. And if I’m Chase Elliott and Kevin Harvick, while I’m not necessarily hitting the panic button, I’d sweat a little more.

Three big stories: Kansas

3. Safety in NASCAR matters, except for rogue tires

KANSAS CITY, Kan. – MAY 2: Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Verizon 5G Ford, and William Byron, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet, lead the field to start the NASCAR Cup Series Buschy McBusch Race 400 at Kansas Speedway on May 02, 2021, in Kansas City, Kansas. Photo: James Gilbert/Getty Images

Inconsistency, thy name is NASCAR.

With 50 laps to go, a tire got away from Tyler Reddick‘s pit box. It rolled onto the frontstretch grass and brought out a caution.

Fifteen laps later.

This was NASCAR’s explanation for holding the caution.

“The tire was far enough away from the racing surface where we felt comfortable completing the pit stop sequence before retrieving the tire. Ultimately the tire needed to be retrieved.”

Listen, NASCAR was right to throw the caution. A tire on the track is an obvious safety hazard. But how is it not enough of a hazard to throw the caution right away? What’s more, Chris Buescher, who was leading when the tire went rogue, has a legitimate gripe, if he points out NASCAR blatantly manipulated the race. It held the caution, despite the obvious hazard, and waited for the pit cycle to conclude.

I have to ask. If it wasn’t enough of a hazard to throw out the caution right away, then why not send an official to retrieve the tire, while still green?

TOP IMAGE: James Gilbert/Getty Images