Kurt Busch's career looked in steep decline at the end of 2011 when he was let go by Penske Racing, but on Friday night at Richmond International Raceway he showed that there was plenty of life left in him yet, by clinching victory in the Virginia 529 College Savings 250 race under the floodlights.
It had been a dramatic finish, with Busch having to battle all the way to the line with Denny Hamlin and the two even going sideways before finally crossing the finish line side-by-side with only 0.062s between them.
"It was unbelievable racing with him," said Busch of Hamlin's last-minute strike. "I was pacing myself and pacing myself, and boom! - he came out of nowhere at the end."
Almost as ecstatic and emotional about Kurt's victory was his younger brother Kyle, whose Kyle Busch Motorsports organisation owns and operates the #54 car that the Busch Brothers drive in Nationwide events. The Richmond victory marks the team's first win in the series since they first started fielding an entry this season.
"This is the most emotional I've ever been for a win," admitted Kyle. "When you're behind the wheel, it's a lot easier to do. When you're standing here [in pit road] watching the guy behind you close in on you ..."
"To get KBM its first win, this is unbelievable," offered Kurt." It's harder than you think, putting a program together," he added, saying that it wasn't about a team muscling its way to the front but instead "you have to think your way to the top."
Kurt's victory at Richmond certainly validates the decision Kyle made to bring his brother on board with KBM. Many had questioned whether the flammable combination could possible work given the brothers' turbulent history over the years, but it appears that some extra years and a shared hunger for victory has allowed them to bond just fine after all.
Busch had been strong all evening, his first series turn in front consisting of 36 laps of the three-quarter mile tri-oval from lap 167, and then resurfacing to run up front from lap 222 all the way to the chequered flag on lap 250.
But it had been polesitter Kevin Harvick who led the most laps of everyone, leading for all but eight of the first 100 laps and ultimately out in front for 158 laps in total before finally having to settle for third at the line, having lost touch with the leading duo and ending up almost 6s off the battle for the win.