Hometown boy Kurt Busch finally won at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and notched the 32nd win of his career in the process, but the real story is how the victory has locked him into the next round of the playoffs.

The odds were against Kurt Busch from the beginning Sunday evening at the Las Motor Speedway, and that’s exactly why his win was so satisfying to watch. Not only does this give Kurt Busch his first win of the season and the 32nd win of his career, but it also guarantees he qualifies for the next round of playoffs.

Of course, he had to hold off Matt Dibenedetto, Denny Hamlin, and Martin Truex Jr to accomplish this task, but Hamlin battling Dibendetto for position helped Busch slip away. Dibendetto went on to finish second, Denny Hamlin came home third, Martin Truex Jr finished in fourth, and Alex Bowman rounded out the top-five in fifth. 

“This is what kids dream of when they grow up racing, you dream of winning at your hometown track,” Busch said. “For two decades it’s kicked my butt and tonight with this Monster Energy Chevy, I’m in awe.  knew the race would come to us. We needed to get to nightfall and one of those quirky (crew chief) Matt McCall pit sequences finally unfolded and we got lucky.” 

Whether it was luck or skill, Busch is currently the only playoff-eligible driver locked into the next round of the playoffs, leaving 12 drivers to fight for seven available positions. Unfortunately for Kurt’s brother, Kyle Busch, he is 9 points below the cutline at the moment and in danger of being eliminated from the playoffs. 

The current standings show Kurt Busch in first position, followed by Kevin Harvick, Denny Hamlin, Brad Keselowski, Martin Truex Jr, Joey Logano,  Chase Elliott, and Alex Bowman, who are all above the cutline. Kyle Busch is the first driver on the outside looking in and would need to make up 9 points in the next two races to make it to the next round. 

Clint Bowyer, Aric Almirola and Austin Dillon all sit below the cutdown as well and will need to make up 20 points or more to secure a spot in the next round. Now, that’s not going to be easy ground to make up, especially with Talladegas Super Speedway and The Charlotte Roval being the next two races, but they also present opportunities for a spoiler too. 

In fact, between the draft being a major factor at Talladega next week and road courses being particularly tricky for a handful of Cup Series drivers, the points could shake up multiple times before the next round begins. Maybe Almirola, Dillon, Busch or Bowyer are able to grab a surprise victory and secure their own spot in the next round. 

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