CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Exceptional. Special. Dominant. These are the colorful words that so easily flowed out of Martin Truex Jr. and Denny Hamlin as they each explained the superior performance by Kyle Busch as he drove away with the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Sunday night.
The second- and third-place finishers of NASCAR's longest race had glowing things to say about the driver of the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota, whose rear bumper they had chased for 377 (of the 400 total) laps.
And rarely do you find NASCAR drivers effusively glowing about their on-track competitors, but the facts remain...
Busch was exceptional. He's now the first Cup series driver to post a points-race win at every active NASCAR racetrack. That record includes 23 tracks in Busch's 15-year Cup career.
Think about that for a minute -- or let's say 263 minutes and 22 seconds, roughly the same amount of time it took for Busch, 33, to maneuver past lapped cars or cut back on the throttle to save his tires on Sunday. In the history of the sport, there has not been another active Cup driver to take the checkered flag at every track on the circuit.
Which leads us to...
Busch was special. He started on the pole, won all four stages and notched his 47th career Cup win at the track that had eluded him in 28 tries. No. 29 proved to be the lucky one.
"I gotta tell ya. To be able to do what he's done at the age he is, it's just special," said team owner Joe Gibbs.
"I think everybody really appreciates how hard that is. For him to do that, particularly, Kyle is young. ... He's always after it. He's always aggressive. He carries that emotion with him. He's special when it comes to game day."
And when the green flag dropped at 6:22 p.m. ET and the cars found their grooves among the track compound...
Busch was dominant. When asked if there was a chance for Hamlin's Toyota to catch his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate, the driver of the No. 11 quickly quipped: "Not really. I think we maximized what we had in our car. It was being driven as fast as it could go. ... That's too much to overcome in the long run. They just were a tiny bit faster."
And given all the accolades that have accompanied his first 600 win, Busch remained realistic about the fact his record could last for just a short time.
"Somebody already had to give me the bad news and tell me it's only for a 100 days, so that sucks. But it's certainly pretty cool tonight," said Busch, who will look to continue his racetrack win streak at Charlotte Motor Speedway's new "roval" course on Sept. 30.
September is a long time until the Cup circuit circles back to Charlotte and the innovative track that will be transformed into half road course, half oval. In fact, there's 15 races between now and that September date, and that's 15 races where other drivers such as Kevin Harvick, Joey Logano, Truex and Brad Keselowski will stand in Busch's way.
But Busch didn't have to worry too much about Harvick this Memorial Day weekend. Harvick, the Cup driver with the most victories in 2018 at five, hit the wall on lap 83, ending his night and his attempt at winning both the All-Star Race and the 600.
The No. 4 car "never gave any warning. ... It's one of those deals, you gotta take the good with the bad and this weekend was one of the bad ones," said Harvick, who had his first DNF of the season.
Whether it was experience, intellect, Harvick's misfortune or a mixture of all of the above, Busch turned his fourth straight Cup season with at least four wins into one that could only be described with some select glowing words.