This article is part of our NASCAR Barometer series.
The NASCAR Cup Series drivers, teams and fans endured a multiday rain delay to finally see the finish of the 500-mile Texas Motor Speedway race that started Sunday and finished Wednesday night. For Kyle Busch, it was worth the wait. The Joe Gibbs Racing driver leveraged speed and pit strategy to come out on top and finally pull into Victory Lane for the first time since winning the championship last season at Homestead Miami Speedway. The win means he has won a race in each of the last 16 years of NASCAR Cup competition, but obviously comes too late to help him defend his 2019 title. The win was sweet redemption after enduring a tough 2020 being locked out of Victory Lane.
Busch's win had some impact to the playoff picture with just one race left for drivers to earn a spot in the championship finale. The biggest beneficiary of Busch's victory is arguably Kevin Harvick, who made early contact with the Texas wall and left Texas with a 16th-place finish. A nonplayoff contender win left him in a relatively comfortable points position. On the other side, it was probably most harmful to teammate Martin Truex Jr., who was assessed a 20-point penalty prior to the race. Truex finished second to Busch. Had he won, that penalty would have been erased and he would be in the finale. Instead, he is 40 points behind the cutline in sixth position in the standings ahead of this week's visit