Kurt Busch Getty NASCAR Cup Series at Kansas
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Back in February, NASCAR's Next Gen chassis made its debut at Auto Club Speedway. Toyotas didn't lead a single lap in the race.

Three months later, at Kansas Speedway, all six Camrys in the field wound up inside the top 10. Winner Kurt Busch led the way, salvaging a slow start for Michael Jordan's 23XI Racing team while putting his brand in victory lane after its first race on his No. 45 Toyota.

"We started this No. 45 car from scratch," Busch said. "A lot of guys, girls, people came from other teams. The spirit was we're a bunch of rebels, let's go do this."

What they did Sunday was revolutionary, considering the recent slide within Jordan's program. Busch had three crashes himself within the last four races while Bubba Wallace was without a top-10 finish since the season-opening Daytona 500.

"We as an organization have kind of let these guys down," said co-owner Denny Hamlin. "So many mistakes that we've made on pit road and what not."

On the final round of stops, those mistakes threatened again. Kurt Busch came out third, behind two Kyles: his brother and Kyle Larson, the reigning NASCAR champion. It took most of the final 35 laps to run Larson back down in dirty air, the only Chevrolet that could run with the Toyotas all day.

"I think, had it been anybody except Kurt behind me," Larson said, "I could have held them off."

But Busch had the firepower to fight back. With nine laps to go, he pulled off a clean pass, besting Larson and squeezing him ever-so-slightly coming off turn 2. It concluded a thrilling back-and-forth battle between the duo that included Larson hitting the wall after this failed slide job on Busch with 86 laps remaining.

While Larson recovered, eventually getting back out front, Busch explained he learned enough about Larson's car in that moment to plan the winning move.

"I tried to throw a little asphalt type of mentality on him," Kurt Busch explained. "Like fake the slide job. I'm glad that we were able to make the right move."

And Toyota, after playing catch-up with this new chassis, is clearly starting to make the right calls. Even Wallace, a victim of one of those 23XI pit road mistakes (uncontrolled tire violation) charged back to finish inside the top 10. He's the only Toyota driver not currently in playoff position as NASCAR's regular season hits the halfway point.

"[Toyota] had the handling," Larson said of Kansas, "As well as a lot of speed. Just raw speed."

Perhaps there was a little bit of divine intervention, too? As CBS Sports' Steven Taranto pointed out, Busch's No. 45 was originally the number of Kyle Petty's son, Adam, before he was tragically killed in practice at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Busch and Jordan's first win in this car happened 22 years to the day Adam was killed.

"I could feel things early on with Kyle and the way that he wanted this 45 car to have success," Busch said. "It's a small spiritual connection ... I'll find him in Level Cross and we'll go have a drink together and say thanks."

Traffic Report

Green: Denny Hamlin -- Hamlin fought back tears congratulating Busch in victory lane, emotions he later took to Twitter in celebrating his second career win as a car owner. It takes the pressure off 23XI a bit as the team can fully focus on improving Wallace's No. 23.

On the racetrack? Hamlin was fourth, just his second top-10 finish in an ugly year. Perhaps Kansas is the moment the No. 11 starts reinserting itself into the championship conversation?

Yellow: Ricky Stenhouse Jr. -- JTG Daugherty Racing has hit on something with this Next Gen chassis: Stenhouse has three straight top-10 finishes for the first time since 2017. In all of last season driving the No. 47, he could only muster two top 10s in 36 starts.

So, what's the problem? Stenhouse started this comeback a distant 31st in points after arguably the worst start of his Cup career. Even with the streak, he remains a whopping 113 points outside of playoff position at halfway.

Red: Ford -- The Blue Ovals turned ice cold at Kansas with not a single Ford driver finishing inside the top 10. Another winner outside the top 16 also puts pressure on some stars who haven't won yet, even those high in the point standings like Ryan Blaney, Kevin Harvick and Aric Almirola.

Oops!

Erik Jones persevered through one of the most bizarre part failures in recent NASCAR history. The lone lug nut securing his right rear tire became stuck on the wheel to the point the team couldn't get it off the car. Breaker bars, sledgehammers, disc cutters ... nothing worked to take off this small piece of metal that became stuck to their car with superglue.

After several minutes, it took a Sawzall (yes, that is a thing) to finally cut through enough metal to peel the lug nut off. But the damage was done; Jones finished the race a distant 32nd, six laps off the pace.

"We got the plan to go back and cut the wheel completely, which is what we ended up doing on pit road," said tire carrier James Houk. "It finally came off. Never seen [anything like it]."

Neither had any other NASCAR teams, and the No. 43 pit box had a flurry of activity the rest of the day answering questions for others worried it could happen to them.