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The Other Busch Gets Victory In Bristol

| Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Saturday, August 18 2018

Kurt Busch got his first victory of the 2018 season Saturday in Bristol. (RacinToday/HHP file photo by Gregg Ellman)

By Jim Pedley | Managing Editor
RacinToday.com

Kurt Busch entered Saturday night’s race at Bristol Motor Speedway as the best driver in the series to not have won a race in 2018. He left Bristol sans the “not have won” tag.

Busch took the lead on a restart with 23 laps to go, held off pole-sitter Kyle Larson over the final 13 laps and drove to his first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race of the season on Saturday night at Bristol Motor Speedway.

The win ended a 58-race winless streak for the Stewart-Haas Racing driver and gave him his sixth victory at the high-banked BMS short track. “It was awesome,” he said.

“To be in this position when you race at a short track on a Saturday night, it brings back a lot of memories of a kid growing up and racing with your dad and family.”

Chip Ganassi Racing’s Larson finished second, .3 seconds behind.

Chase Elliott of Hendrick Motorsports was third.

Rounding out the top five were Joey Logano of Team Penske and Erik Jones of Joe Gibbs Racing.

Ryan Blaney captured Stage 1. Joey Logano won the second stage.

“It’s awesome to do it at Bristol,” said Busch, whose crew chief, Billy Scott, picked up his first victory in NASCAR’s premier series. “I love this place. We now have won six times here and I have great teams that have always helped me win.”

Nothing went smoothly for Cup’s “Big Three” of Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jr.

Points-leader and six-time 2018 winner Kyle Busch damaged his car and hopes for an eighth overall win at Bristol and a third-straight win on the BMS high banks when he got caught up in a wreck on the second lap. His Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota was badly damage but fixable. By the time he returned to the track he was two laps down.

Also caught up in the Lap 2 12-car wreck was defending series champion and four-race winner on the season, Truex.

Both Busch and Truex stayed in the race after their crews made repairs and both worked their way into top five late in the race. But with 69 laps to go, Truex was tapped from behind by Busch while they were running second and third respectively. Truex slammed the wall and his shot for a first career short track win was over.

“It’s just Bristol,” said a resigned Truex, who kicked his car in disgust after the wreck. “Trying to get that first short track win. This place has been so hard on us. I mean I can’t even explain it to you how good we’ve run here in the past three or four years, and crap like this every single time. It’s like just one thing after another.

“Sucks that it happened, but at the end of the day, it’s racing at Bristol. I feel like I probably should’ve took the lead there. I probably should’ve bumped the 14 (Bowyer) out of the way just to get the lead and I wouldn’t have been in that position. Sometimes you’re the nice guy and you get knocked out of the way. We’ll just have to race him a little harder next time.”

Harvick, who led eight laps, had to pit for tires while running second midway through Stage 2. That put the eight-race winning in ’18 a lap down.

Only two races – at Darlington Raceway and Indianapolis Motor Speedway – remain before the 10-race Playoff starts in Las Vegas.

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Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Race

Bristol Motor Speedway

Bristol, Tennessee

Saturday, August 18, 2018

  1. (9) Kurt Busch, Ford, 500.
  2. (1) Kyle Larson, Chevrolet, 500.
  3. (2) Chase Elliott, Chevrolet, 500.
  4. (19) Joey Logano, Ford, 500.
  5. (14) Erik Jones, Toyota, 500.
  6. (16) Clint Bowyer, Ford, 500.
  7. (10) Ryan Blaney, Ford, 500.
  8. (22) Alex Bowman, Chevrolet, 500.
  9. (13) Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet, 500.
  10. (6) Kevin Harvick, Ford, 500.
  11. (23) Trevor Bayne, Ford, 500.
  12. (24) Ryan Newman, Chevrolet, 500.
  13. (18) Austin Dillon, Chevrolet, 500.
  14. (7) Denny Hamlin, Toyota, 500.
  15. (26) Kasey Kahne, Chevrolet, 500.
  16. (11) Brad Keselowski, Ford, 499.
  17. (15) David Ragan, Ford, 499.
  18. (21) Daniel Suarez, Toyota, 499.
  19. (28) Chris Buescher, Chevrolet, 499.
  20. (3) Kyle Busch, Toyota, 497.
  21. (32) Ty Dillon, Chevrolet, 496.
  22. (29) Matt DiBenedetto, Ford, 496.
  23. (5) William Byron #, Chevrolet, 496.
  24. (12) Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Ford, 495.
  25. (39) Landon Cassill, Chevrolet, 493.
  26. (35) Ross Chastain(i), Chevrolet, 492.
  27. (40) Blake Jones, Toyota, 485.
  28. (37) * Timmy Hill(i), Toyota, 481.
  29. (20) Jamie McMurray, Chevrolet, 435.
  30. (17) Martin Truex Jr., Toyota, Accident, 431.
  31. (8) Aric Almirola, Ford, 428.
  32. (34) * JJ Yeley(i), Chevrolet, Accident, 423.
  33. (36) Reed Sorenson, Chevrolet, Accident, 338.
  34. (30) Corey LaJoie, Chevrolet, Electrical, 234.
  35. (33) * Jesse Little(i), Toyota, Accident, 59.
  36. (4) Paul Menard, Ford, Accident, 28.
  37. (31) Michael McDowell, Ford, Accident, 10.
  38. (27) Bubba Wallace #, Chevrolet, Accident, 3.
  39. (25) AJ Allmendinger, Chevrolet, Accident, 1.
  40. (38) * Gray Gaulding, Chevrolet, Accident, 1.

Average Speed of Race Winner:  89.538 mph.

Time of Race:  2 Hrs, 58 Mins, 35 Secs. Margin of Victory:  0.367 Seconds.

Caution Flags:  9 for 70 laps.

Lead Changes:  19 among 9 drivers.

Lap Leaders:   K. Larson 1-13; K. Harvick 14-15; K. Larson 16; R. Blaney 17-62; K. Larson 63; R. Blaney 64-130; A. Almirola 131; K. Harvick 132-137; C. Elliott 138-191; R. Blaney 192-199; A. Almirola 200; J. Logano 201-254; K. Larson 255; J. Logano 256-296; C. Elliott 297-354; K. Larson 355; C. Bowyer 356-441; R. Newman 442; C. Bowyer 443-476; Kurt Busch 477-500.

Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led):  R. Blaney 3 times for 121 laps; C. Bowyer 2 times for 120 laps; C. Elliott 2 times for 112 laps; J. Logano 2 times for 95 laps; Kurt Busch 1 time for 24 laps; K. Larson 5 times for 17 laps; K. Harvick 2 times for 8 laps; A. Almirola 2 times for 2 laps; R. Newman 1 time for 1 lap.

Stage #1 Top Ten: 12,4,14,9,10,42,41,20,22,48

Stage #2 Top Ten: 22,9,42,10,12,14,20,48,41,88

| Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Saturday, August 18 2018
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