Busch’s only series title came in 2004, the first year NASCAR used a 10-race playoff which it then called the Chase to determine its series champion.
Entering Sunday night’s South Point 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Busch was ranked lowest among the 12 remaining playoff contenders. In other words, he was probably the least likely to be considered a lock for the Round of 8.
All that changed on Lap 236 of 268, when NASCAR displayed a caution for debris on the backstretch after Jimmie Johnson’s No. 48 Chevrolet suffered a flat tire and dropped pieces on the track.
At the time, just about every playoff driver was caught a lap down by the caution, having recently completed their respective stops. Everyone in the playoffs except Kurt Busch, who had remained on the track and not yet pit.
The value of track position
Suddenly, Busch found himself in a prime position late in the race with excellent track position and his fellow playoff competitors far behind him.
When the race returned to green on Lap 243, Busch grabbed the lead from Matt DiBenedetto and then never let go despite two more restarts, including the final one heading into overtime.
The result was Busch’s first win of the 2020 season, his first ever at his hometown track of Las Vegas and he became the first driver locked…