Even Kurt Busch had a reason to smile after Auto Club Speedway

FONTANA, CA - MARCH 16: Kurt Busch, driver of the #1 Monster Energy Chevrolet, during practice for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway on March 16, 2019 in Fontana, California. (Photo by Robert Laberge/Getty Images)

While his little brother stole the show Sunday at Auto Club Speedway, Kurt Busch had his own reasons to smile.

Kurt was fifth in the closing laps and looked to be in line to score his third top five of the season ,the only Chevy driver to do so.  He was passed on the last lap however and had to settle for sixth behind Ryan Blaney.

“I was just hoping to get a top 5 and came home just a bit short,” he said. “But the growth rate of us at Ganassi and the adjustments we’re making, I couldn’t be happier. I’m smiling as I’m driving the car. It’s so much fun to toss it down in there with all this downforce and the horsepower, you just pitch it sideways and see if it’s going to stick. But, we know we’ve got our work cut out for us. It’s awesome to run up front. I’m smiling. But, we know at our growth rate, we’re not on a plateau yet. I’ve got to keep going.”

His thoughts turned to victory lane nearby where his brother was celebrating the race win, and his 200th win across all three of NASCAR’s top touring circuits.

“But, this is a big day. For my little brother to have 200 wins, they’re all added up through his hard work and his dedication to perfection,” he said. “Not bad for two kids with an attitude from Vegas.”

The elder Busch hopes to keep up the family tradition of winning like his younger brother is doing.

“As far as attitudes and winning? I’ve got to hold up my end of the bargain,” he said. “I’ve gotten too nice and I’m not winning enough; but I’m having fun. I love the Ganassi guys. Matt McCall (crew chief) wants more. I know he does. I want more. I was hoping for a top 5 today but we’ll take it. All in all, we’re running where we need to be running.”

FONTANA, CA – MARCH 17: Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Interstate Batteries Toyota, is congratulated by his brother Kurt Busch, driver of the #1 Monster Energy Chevrolet, after winning the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Auto Club 400 and winning his 200th NASCAR race at Auto Club Speedway on March 17, 2019 in Fontana, California. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)