NASCAR

Kyle Busch survives opening lap clash to take eighth Bristol victory – NASCAR


Kyle Busch survived an opening lap crash to take his eighth NASCAR Cup series win at Bristol.

The Joe Gibbs Toyota driver led home brother Kurt Busch, having made the call to stay out while his nearest challengers pitted for new tyres during a caution period in the final 20 laps.

Busch, who has more wins at Bristol than any other active driver, was caught up in an opening lap collision which was caused by front-row starter William Byron getting loose and collecting Aric Almirola. Behind them Busch came together with Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

Despite being caught up in the pile-up, by lap 93 of the 500-lap contest Busch was back in the top 10, but it wasn’t until lap 381 when he took the lead of the race for the first time.

His long-run pace up front was weak, however, and within 30 laps he was passed by both Clint Bowyer and Joey Logano.

A caution period on lap 415 caused by Kyle Larson handed the lead back to Busch, who was promoted to first after leader Denny Hamlin was judged to have sped on pit road during the yellow flag period.

Again Busch was unable to hold onto the lead for an extended period of time, being passed by the Penske pair of Brad Keselowski and Logano 10 laps after the restart.

A final caution period on lap 479 proved pivotal, with both Logano, Keselowski, and the third Penske entry of Ryan Blaney all opting to pit for tyres, while Busch stayed out to gain track position. The call proved vital as Busch was able to hold onto the lead until the finish of the race.

Runner-up Kurt Busch came close to beating his younger brother, but a brush with the wall with four laps to go ended all hopes of him winning.

Stage 2 winner Logano finished third and was making good use of his fresh tyres at the end of the race but ran out of time to mount another challenge for victory.

Blaney, who set the all-time track record in the second qualifying session, led a race-high 158 laps, finished fourth. He remains the driver with the most laps led without a win this season.

Hamlin rallied back from his penalty to score his fifth top-five finish of the year.

Paul Menard was sixth, one spot ahead of Clint Bowyer, who had a fast car, but contended with handling issues for much of the day and caused the penultimate caution of the day after his front right tyre went down.

Daniel Suarez, Ryan Newman, and Jimmie Johnson rounded out the top 10.

Pole sitter Chase Elliott just missed out on a top-10 finish in 11th, with Matt DiBenedetto finishing a strong 12th.

Kevin Harvick, who had to start at the back of the field and take an early drive-through penalty after his car failed inspection three times before the race, finished 13th.

Ty Dillon, who took a surprise Stage 1 win after a photo finish with Bowyer, wound up 15th.

Keselowski, who was a front runner for much of the race and led 40 laps, was classified 18th and a lap down after being handed a late-race penalty for ignoring restart instructions.

Race result

Pos Driver Team Car Laps
1 Kyle Busch Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 500
2 Kurt Busch Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet 500
3 Joey Logano Team Penske Ford 500
4 Ryan Blaney Team Penske Ford 500
5 Denny Hamlin Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 500
6 Paul Menard Wood Brothers Racing Ford 500
7 Clint Bowyer Stewart-Haas Racing Ford 500
8 Daniel Suarez Stewart-Haas Racing Ford 500
9 Ryan Newman Roush Fenway Racing Ford 500
10 Jimmie Johnson Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 500
11 Chase Elliott Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 500
12 Matt DiBenedetto Leavine Family Racing Toyota 500
13 Kevin Harvick Stewart-Haas Racing Ford 500
14 Austin Dillon Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet 500
15 Ty Dillon Germain Racing Chevrolet 500
16 William Byron Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 500
17 Martin Truex Jr. Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 499
18 Brad Keselowski Team Penske Ford 499
19 Kyle Larson Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet 499
20 Darrell Wallace Jr. Richard Petty Motorsports Chevrolet 499
21 David Ragan Front Row Motorsports Ford 498
22 Chris Buescher JTG Daugherty Racing Chevrolet 498
23 Alex Bowman Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 497
24 Erik Jones Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 497
25 Ryan Preece JTG Daugherty Racing Chevrolet 496
26 Landon Cassill StarCom Racing Chevrolet 495
27 Matt Tifft Front Row Motorsports Ford 494
28 Michael McDowell Front Row Motorsports Ford 493
29 Ross Chastain Premium Motorsports Chevrolet 491
30 Daniel Hemric Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet 490
31 Bayley Currey Rick Ware Racing Chevrolet 488
32 Quin Houff Spire Motorsports Chevrolet 476
33 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Roush Fenway Racing Ford 395
34 Corey LaJoie Go FAS Racing Ford 308
35 Timmy Hill MBM Motorsports Toyota 239
36 Gray Gaulding Petty Ware Racing Ford 142
37 Aric Almirola Stewart-Haas Racing Ford 3



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