Kansas City, Cannes. – Kurt Bush was driving slowly on his Jordan Brand-style ride to the victory lane on the Kansas track on Sunday when car owner Danny Hamlin stopped him, stuck his head out the window and said, “We did it.”

Have they ever.

Bush endured a weary day of tire wear and then made his way past Kyle Larson to become the leader eight laps to go before leaving the reigning NASCAR Cup champions to win for the first time in Kansas – and give up – and – a second victory is approaching the 23XI Racing team owned by Hamlin and the great NBA Michael Jordan.

“It’s a pleasure to help these guys win,” Bush said. “It’s all about teamwork. I’m not the only one doing it. “

Larson had a dominant car that drove on the top line around the oval and a half miles, but Bush could put his Toyota almost anywhere. It paid off when the two were close to eight until the end, and Bush pressed Larson, who waved off the wall and lost enough momentum to give up the lead – and victory.

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Bush stopped his car № 45 – one of the numbers Jordan wore during his career – before stopping at the start-finish line and climbed out the window before raising his arms triumphantly, the familiar Jumpman logo sprayed on his fire suit.

It was the second win for 23XI after last year’s Buba Wallace won in Toladega, and it happened at the most unexpected time; none of the team’s riders finished in the top 10 this season.

“You know, we, as an organization, let these guys down – I’m talking about Bubba and Kurt, all the mistakes we made on pit roads and more,” Hamlin said. “But let’s talk about the positives. I can’t thank Kurt enough. Jordan Brand’s first race, so jealous that he drives this car, and then to make this thing so fast, yeah, it’s just – I’ve never had that feeling, even before winning for me, and even more so if I’m not won. It’s different. “

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There was also no resentment about how Bush raced to the finish line.

“He never hit me. I’m trying to press the gas to take his position, and I just squeezed in, “Larson said. “It was fun racing with Kurt in the last half of the race. I tried very hard all the time. “

No kidding. At one point, with 85 left, Larson went almost to the sidelines, battling Bush for the lead around the corner.

“It’s just a tough race to win,” Larson said. “I had a little difficulty with the traffic, he was able to pass from there. I just wanted to stay in second place. I just fought very hard today. “

One of the dominant storylines earlier this week was how the tires would work under the next-generation car during its Kansas debut, especially after several drivers – including Joey Lagan – had trouble dipping the rear in practice.

The problems started again during Sunday’s second phase.

William Byron, who was knocked off the road by Logan during a controversial finish last week in Darlington, was running near the front when his tire ran out. Just as Byron limped down the pit, Tyler Reddick came down behind and touched the wall. Martin Trueks Jr. had the same problem with the tires on the last lap of the stage.

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“Our engineers have talked to anyone who has had problems in practice,” said Greg Stacker, Goodyear’s director of racing, who advised teams to increase their back pressure before the weekend to account for the load.

“We wanted to make sure everyone knew about the situation.”

Eric Jones had a completely different problem with the tires: his team was unable to remove the rear nut. He tried all kinds of saws, torches and wrenches in vain, which was a strong blow for the Petty GMS Motorsports team that hung outside the playoffs.

Kyle Bush, who earlier this week welcomed the world’s daughter Lennix Key, managed to avoid tire problems and keep Ross Chastain and Chase Eliot from winning the first leg on Sunday. His older brother, Kurt, beat him to pass the second stage, and Elliot was again in the third.

Then the same problem with the tires caught up with Eliot, the back of which fell and sent him to spin on the track for 70 laps to him. Eliot was lucky to keep his № 9 off the wall before stopping in a dirty backyard.

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Kyle Bush hoped to take home the trophy to his new girlfriend, whom he greets along with his wife Samantha after a long public struggle with infertility. But despite a strong car all day, he settled for third place.

Maybe her uncle will one day bring this trophy.

“I finally won this track,” said Kurt Bush. “I can’t believe it.”

THE BEST OF THE REST

Christopher Bell used his third pole of the season and finished fifth. Truex is back from a tire problem and finished sixth, with Chastain, Ricky Stanhouse Jr., Alex Bowman and Wallace closing the top 10.

GLORY UKRAINE

Josh Bilitsky had the colors of the Ukrainian flag on his car № 77 for Spire Motorsports to show support for humanitarian efforts taking place in the war-torn country. Several cities in Ukraine, including Kyiv and Mariupol, were also included in the paint scheme along with the signs of the Ukrainian-American Coordinating Council.

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NEXT

The series takes a break in the regular season ahead of the Coca-Cola 600 and heads to Texas for an all-star race next weekend.

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