Kyle Busch claimed a record-breaking win at the Pala Casino 400, with the new Richard Childress Racing (RCR) driver now setting a NASCAR record for most consecutive seasons with a win.
Busch, who entered 2023 having ended a 15-year relationship with Joe Gibbs Racing, was unfortunate not to have come away with his first Daytona 500 win last weekend. However, the Las Vegas native took his first win for the Richard Childress outfit a week later.
With this win Busch has now won at least one race in 19 consecutive seasons, beating a previously shared record with NASCAR legend Richard Petty.
Busch admits to moments of self-doubt
The win at the Auto Club Speedway also marked Busch’s first on an asphalt surface since his win at Pocono on June 2021. The two-time champion admitted that while he was confident he would end his win drought, there were moments of self-doubt leading up to his victory.
“I never doubted myself, but sometimes you do,” Busch said after the race.
“You kind of get down on it, you wonder what’s going on and what’s happening and you put yourself in a different situation and you’re able to come out here and reward your guys.
Busch also took the opportunity to thank his team, with teammate Austin Dillion also being cited as one of the main reasons for Busch’s decision to join RCR.
“I can’t thank Richard and Judy (Childress) enough, Austin (Dillon) for calling me and getting me talking and getting me the opportunity to come over here to RCR,” Busch continued.
“The guys did a great job. (Crew chief) Randall (Burnett) – everybody that worked so hard in the offseason. We did a lot of sim stuff, a lot of testing in general, just trying to get up to speed. There is nothing more rewarding than being able to go to Victory Lane.
“You put yourself in a different situation and you’re able to reward your guys. It’s not about me always winning, but about the guys. I’ve worked with a lot of great people who’ve given me a lot of great opportunities in my career. It’s awesome to be able to reward them.”
Elliot goes from 31st to second
Hendrick Motorsports driver Chase Elliot arguably had the most intriguing race of anyone on the grid.
The Chevrolet Camaro driver was forced to start 31st after NASCAR implemented a metric formula based on owner points and performance in the previous race to determine the running order after Saturday’s qualifying session was washed out.
However, through the efforts of his pit crew, Elliot’s #9 Chevrolet showed a linear improvement in pace throughout the race with last year’s Regular Series champion one of the cars on quickest by the race’s end.
“Yeah, just really proud of our team,” Elliott said.
“We obviously didn’t run very good there toward the end of the year last year, and just everybody really went to work hard over the winter to try and get better.
“Obviously, I think we still have some work to do, but it was really nice to just see a lot of that hard work pay off and have the car driving like we were wanting it to do. So that’s always a good thing.
“Congratulations to Kyle. For him to leave and then to go get the job done like that is pretty cool. He’s always been really good to me, so happy for them and looking forward to getting to Vegas and hopefully competing for some more wins.”
Chastain falls to third
Despite leading a race-high 91 laps Trackhouse’s Ross Chastain could only manage third with the Floridian losing the lead of the race on Lap 165 to Busch.
Chastain’s teammate Daniel Suarez finished fourth with Kevin Harvick in fifth on what was his 750th consecutive Cup Series start.
The event also marked the final time NASCAR will run on Auto Club Speedway for the next two years, with the venue set to reconfigure itself from a two-mile oval to a half-mile.
Pala Casino 400 Top 10 Results 2023
|1||Kyle Busch||Richard Childress Racing||3:08’04.276|
|2||Chase Elliot||Hendrick Motorsports||+2.998|
|3||Ross Chastain||Trackhouse Racing||+7.353|
|4||Daniel Suarez||Trackhouse Racing||+11.866|
|5||Kevin Harvick||Stewart-Haas Racing||+13.268|
|6||Denny Hamlin||Joe Gibbs Racing||+13.296|
|7||Brad Keselowski||RFK Racing||+13.541|
|8||Alex Bowman||Hendrick Motorsports||+16.289|
|9||Austin Dillon||Richard Childress Racing||+16.795|
|10||Joey Logano||Team Penske||+17.013|