FORT WORTH, Texas — Already out of the NASCAR Cup Series playoffs even before this round, leaving him no chance to add a third season title and repeat as champion, Kyle Busch was able to extend his streak of years with at least one win on the top circuit to 16 with his first victory of 2020.
He also denied a needed victory for Martin Truex Jr., his penalized Joe Gibbs Racing teammate who still has a chance to be one of the four drivers with a title chance in the Nov. 8 season finale at Phoenix Raceway.
"I feel like crap," Busch said. "But I got a win."
Busch won the race at Texas that finished Wednesday, three days after it started. He was 0.468 second ahead of Truex and had just enough fuel left to do a celebratory burnout on the front stretch before needing a push from a tow truck to get the No. 18 Toyota to victory lane. Busch had not won a Cup Series race since the 2019 season finale.
"If it was one more lap, the 18 was probably going to run out of gas," said Truex, who led 53 laps. "So, I mean, it just was one of those things how close can you get without winning?"
It was the 12th top-three finish this season for Truex, whose only win came at Martinsville Speedway — NASCAR's oldest and shortest track where the next race is Sunday in Virginia. He also won there last fall.
Because of an illegal spoiler, Truex had to go to the back of the field when the Texas race started Sunday, and he also lost crew chief James Small. The 2017 champion and runner-up the past two seasons was also docked 20 points, a crucial penalty because he was already below the cutoff line for the top four before that.
A win would have taken care of his trouble.
"Coming here we had a lot of confidence and we had a strong run," Truex said. "This time of year, second is great — it's just not good enough."
Joey Logano, who won the opening race of this round of the playoffs at Kansas Speedway, is the only driver locked into a championship bid at Phoenix.
Kevin Harvick, Denny Hamlin and Brad Keselowski are above the cutoff line going to Martinsville. Alex Bowman and Chase Elliott are both 42 points behind the cutoff, while Truex is 53 back and Kurt Busch 98.
The 57th career Cup Series victory — and fourth at Texas — for Kyle Busch gives him at least one win every year since 2005.
"We got it, and I was so nervous," Busch said. "The last three laps, that's like winning a championship, that's how nervous I was."
He led five times and was in front for 90 of the 334 laps at the 1.5-mile track that was finally dried out after more than three days of misty conditions and drizzle combined with cool temperatures. Temperatures were in the mid-40s when the race finally resumed Wednesday after being on hold for 72 hours, 28 minutes and 34 seconds. The race was red-flagged Sunday after 52 laps.
Bowman finished fifth at Texas, just ahead of Keselowski and Kurt Busch. Hamlin was ninth, Logano 10th and Harvick, who had won the previous three fall races in Texas, was 16th after resuming Wednesday a lap back because of damage to his right side when he brushed the wall while leading Sunday. Elliott finished 20th.
"I don't know about the craziest (race), but certainly the longest. I'm glad it's over, and I'm glad we had a great run," Keselowski said. "I'm very much looking forward to Martinsville."
Busch was a little slow in doing his customary winning bow.
"It's been a long time," explained Busch, who also credited his crew for leading his fuel-saving efforts. "I kept getting great leadership and mentoring. It ran out coming in here to do a burnout."