Kyle Busch races to an­other vic­tory

Avoid­ing pit stop helps him ‘snooker’ com­pe­ti­tion

The Buffalo News - - SPORTS -

Af­ter his car took a nasty bash to its rear end just a lap and a half into Sun­day’s Food City 500, it looked like Kyle Busch’s bid to win his third race of the sea­son was doomed. But you don’t be­come NASCAR’s ca­reer vic­tory leader by giv­ing up so early in a race.

The Las Ve­gas na­tive and the win­ner of 203 races across NASCAR’s three elite se­ries bat­tled back, took the lead for the first time with 117 laps to go, took it again by stay­ing out on old tires dur­ing a cau­tion with 20 laps to go and went on to post win No. 204 at Bris­tol Mo­tor Speed­way in Ten­nessee.

“We’re crazy,” Busch said when asked about the strat­egy to not pit for tires dur­ing the cau­tion. “Pretty awe­some to be able to snooker those guys (the drivers in front of him who did stop for tires) and be able to get our win to­day at Bris­tol. Love this place.”

The vic­tory was the 54th of Busch’s Mon­ster En­ergy NASCAR Cup Se­ries ca­reer. It was his eighth win at Bris­tol Mo­tor Speed­way’s .533 mile short track. He led just 71 laps.

“We just weren’t quite our best to­day,” said Busch, who has fin­ished in the top 10 of all eight races this sea­son. “Cer­tainly we were com­pet­i­tive. We were top four, top five but we were just never the No. 1 dom­i­nant guy. It seemed like the Penske cars def­i­nitely kind of had us all cov­ered to­day.”

To get the vic­tory, Busch had to hold off older brother Kurt Busch, who was bid­ding to get his sev­enth win at Bris­tol and his first vic­tory since mov­ing to Chip Ganassi Rac­ing for 2019.

“It was fun to bat­tle my brother there at the end,” Kyle Busch said. “I saw him work­ing the top (of the high-banked track) and I’m like, ‘I’d bet­ter go.’ And I got up there and was able to make some ground.”

It was not fun for his older brother. “That one was tough,” Kurt Busch said. “I re­ally wanted to beat him. I was go­ing to wreck him. I was want­ing to stay close enough so that when we took the white (flag that sig­nals one lap to go), I was go­ing to drive straight into (Turn) 3 and floor him. He’s al­ready won. I fig­ured he can give a lit­tle love to his brother. I wanted that one bad. I feel like him right now. I’m all mad be­cause I didn’t win.”

Team Penske drivers Joey Logano and Ryan Blaney fin­ished third and fourth, re­spec­tively, while Kyle Busch’s Joe Gibbs Rac­ing team­mate Denny Hamlin was fifth.

Ty Dil­lon of Ger­main Rac­ing won Stage 1. It was the first stage win of his ca­reer. De­fend­ing se­ries cham­pion Logano of Team Penske won Stage 2 – his third of the sea­son.

Kyle Busch, ran into trou­ble on the sec­ond lap – rather, trou­ble ran into him as he was rear-ended by Ricky Sten­house Jr. when they ac­cor­dioned be­hind a wreck. Busch, who has won twice and earned five podium fin­ishes in seven races this sea­son, and who is a seven-time Bris­tol win­ner, suf­fered ma­jor dam­age to his Toy­ota.

Getty Im­ages

Kyle Busch cel­e­brates in Vic­tory Lane af­ter win­ning the Food City 500 at Bris­tol Mo­tor Speed­way Sun­day.

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