Well, the 2019 Xfinity race at Charlotte Motor Speedway was certainly action-packed. The big race featured multiple big names, including Kurt Busch, Kyle Larson, and Denny Hamlin. But who won the race? Was it a perfect getaway for Matt DiBenedetto and the No. 83 Red Bull Toyota team? Or did they leave something on the table? We take a look at the stats and see how they compare to past results to get the full story.
The Red Bull Racing Team Had A Great Getaway
Overall, it was a great getaway for the Red Bull Racing team. The combination of strong performances on-track and smooth driving in the garage resulted in a perfect score in the official driver rating. As a result, Matt DiBenedetto was pleased to hear the roaring crowd at the checkers as he climbed out of his car after the race. “I think we had a good day,” said DiBenedetto. “I know our guys did a great job and I think we proved a lot of people wrong. We showed up, we were ready to race, and we ran really well. So, it feels great to be able to drive down an open-wheel racetrack again.”
In 2019, Matt DiBenedetto was finally able to enjoy a long-awaited win as he claimed the checkered flag at the end of day one of the Xfinity race at Charlotte Motor Speedway. His victory came nearly seven-years after his first and only Cup Series win at the 2016 Talladega Superspeedway. It also came nearly three-years after he and Red Bull Racing clinched a spot in the championship standings with a second-place finish at the 2018 season finale in Phoenix. This year was all about payback for DiBenedetto and the team.
Kyle Larson’s Title Chase Was Cut Short
However, one of the biggest winners from the 2019 Xfinity race at Charlotte Motor Speedway was none other than Kyle Larson. The 33-year-old driver put in a strong performance throughout the entire season, finally putting the finishing touches on his first NASCAR title at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Unfortunately, his championship campaign came to a disappointing end just a few hours after the checkered flag dropped. In the closing moments of the race, Larson was running in third place, a position he would hold for much of the final lap. With two laps to go and a chance to clinch the title, Larson made a move down the middle to pass Martin Truex Jr. The two raced side-by-side for a few hundred yards before Larson finally took the checkered flag. It was a heartbreaking way to end a championship-caliber year for the 2018 NASCAR Cup Series champion.
While Larson’s title bid came unraveled at Charlotte Motor Speedway, he was able to salvage his season, taking home a hard-earned second-place finish. He also locked down a spot in the championship race, which was again won by Martin Truex Jr. Despite the disappointment of not being able to bring home the championship, Larson will cherish the opportunity to race for the title again next season.
The first Xfinity race at Charlotte Motor Speedway was held in early May of this year. The race was won by Kurt Busch, with his teammate Denny Hamlin taking home third place. Despite the early date, the track had a lot of snow on the ground and temperatures were in the single digits. It was a completely different story six weeks later for the second race of the season. The temperatures were in the 40s and there was very little wind. Overall, it was a very different experience for the drivers in the first race as opposed to the second. For a while, it appeared that the first race might not even happen. However, in the end, it was the second event that was postponed by rain. When the weekend finally came around, it was a triumph for the “new” Charlotte Motor Speedway as it saw the return of the marquee event that is the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes. It was also a memorable day for Kevin Harrington, who recorded the fastest lap of the day, crossing the line in 1 minute, 21.86 seconds, a new track record!
While the weather was brutal this year at Charlotte Motor Speedway, it only got worse for the second event. Heavy rain and lightning led to the race getting postponed. When the track finally reopened, it was another triumph for Charlotte Motor Speedway and a fitting end to a long, cold winter.
Kurt Busch Did What He Does Best – He Won A Ton Of Races
The 2019 season was a bit of a downer for Kurt Busch. After a strong performance last season, the 2006 NASCAR champion had high expectations for this year. Unfortunately, he was unable to live up to those expectations. Busch finished the year with just one top-five and seven top-10s in 26 races. However, the one constant in his season was his incredible depth of experience. In his 13th and possibly final year in the NASCAR Cup Series, Kurt Busch proved to everyone that he was still one of the best. The biggest question heading into the final race of the season was whether or not Busch had any chance of winning the title. With Kyle Larson struggling with injuries and Kevin Harvick in the midst of a contract dispute, there was no clear favorite to claim the crown. Then, in the waning moments of the season, news broke that Larson had tested positive for a banned substance and would be forced to miss the last race of the season. It was a clear victory for Kurt Busch.
Kurt Busch winning the 2019 NASCAR Cup Series was more than just a one-off achievement. It came after a phenomenal 2019 season in which he won 11 out of 28 races, including the season finale at Phoenix. In fact, one of his biggest wins came just four weeks after his 48th birthday. It was a celebration of sorts for the 2019 season as Busch became the third-oldest driver to win a NASCAR Cup Series championship. He joins an elite group of NASCAR greats, joining Richard Petty and Bobby Allison, who are also 48 years old.
Unfortunately for the fans who had their hearts set on seeing Busch claim the title, it was Harvick who had a miraculous return to win the championship. While Harvick had been holding off Larson all season long, it was the two-time NASCAR Cup Series champion who put the exclamation point on the season with a final-lap charge and a trophy for good measure. Despite the heartbreak of not ending up on top, Kurt Busch had a terrific season and will be remembered as one of the best of all time. He was also able to celebrate with his family, spending time with his wife, Colleen, and their three kids, including twin girls born in January.
Denny Hamlin And The Busching Brothers Are Back In The Winner’s Circle
The 2019 Xfinity race at Charlotte Motor Speedway was one of the most competitive races in recent memory. The two-day event featured multiple big name drivers, including Chase Elliott, Kyle Larson, and Martin Truex Jr. But the one that came out on top was Denny Hamlin, the defending series champion and the brother of Tony. It was a great end to a season filled with drama, as the Busching brothers, Kurt and Kyle, claimed the checkered flag back-to-back in 2019.
There were times last season when it looked like Kurt would finally end his drought and claim his first win since the 2016 season. However, the tables turned in the final race as he finished a distant second, an even more heartbreaking result than his last-place finish in the 2018 Ford EcoBoost 300. The story of the year for the Busching brothers was pretty much a one-sider. In the first race of the season at Daytona, Kurt ran well before struggling with car control issues on Saturday. Nevertheless, he would go on to finish in the top-five in each of the final four races of the season, including the season finale at Phoenix, where he took home second place.
However, it was another strong performance from Kyle, who won four races in a row at one point, that helped him to the title. The 33-year-old finished second in the championship standings to Martin Truex Jr., winning nine races, including the season finales at Homestead-Miami and Pocono Raceway. While it was certainly a team effort from the Busching brothers, it was also a very strong individual performance from Kyle.