Kyle Busch Controls Bullring Homecoming

Kyle Busch celebrates his victory in Thursday's late model event at The Bullring at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. (Barry Ambrose Photo)
Kyle Busch celebrates his victory in Thursday's late model event at The Bullring at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. (Barry Ambrose Photo)

LAS VEGAS – It had been 17 years since Kyle Busch drove into victory lane at his hometown short track, The Bullring at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

On Thursday night, the man who’s accustomed to lifting hardware in the NASCAR Cup Series took home a trophy that was close to his heart.

Busch outlasted the field at the Star Nursery 100 Super Late Model Open Comp race, finishing 1.220 seconds ahead of Christian McGhee and 1.312 clear of regional star and multi-time Bullring winner Derek Thorn.

“It’s been a long time since I won here – a really long time,” said Busch, who has won more than 50 races at the three-eighths-mile paved oval. “The fans here have always supported me – in the beginning from The Bullring days when I was a kid.

“Thanks to all the supporters out here in Las Vegas – my mom and dad, and my wife and my son now … how times have changed. It’s so cool and special to come out here – I want to thank Craig Keough and Star Nursery for sponsoring this event, and the next one.”

Busch started slow, beginning in the seventh spot and staying outside the top five for the first few laps.

“We had a lot of cautions there early and were eating some laps in the yellow, and it was going to be a short race under the green flag,” Busch said.

The defending NASCAR Cup Series champion was patient and eventually moved his way up to the front. Busch briefly took the lead on lap 63, only to see Thorn retake him for the top spot.

But Busch didn’t wait long to fight back, executing a bump-and-run move to pass Thorn on lap 65. He wouldn’t look back from there.

“We had a good car and just kind of got stuck there for a little bit,” Busch said. “That’s The Bullring – that’s how I remember it the times I used to be here. You gotta move them, or you’ll get moved. It’s fun racing.

“Thorn is one of the best competitors out here on the west coast, there’s no question. So, it’s cool to beat those guys tonight.”

Thorn led many of the laps before Busch overtook him and was the primary competition for the NASCAR pro throughout the race. McGhee bumped Thorn on the final lap to finish second.

The finish:

Kyle Busch, Christian McGhee, Derek Thorn, Tyler Fabozzi, Sammy Smith, Trevor Christiani, Tanner Reif, Jonathan Mawhinney, Austin Thom, Dylan Lupton, Jimmy Parker Jr., Jim Wulfenstein, Joe Farre, Andy Allen, Dean Thompson, Brittney Zamora, Scott Gafforini, Stan Mulls, Steve Anderson, Chris Clyne, Kyle Neveau, Aaron McMorran, Brandon Farrington, Warren Knipper.