Clutch Restart Propels Blaney To Victory
BRISTOL, Tenn. – Kyle Busch dominated the closing stages of Friday’s Food City 300 NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway, but Ryan Blaney escaped with the victory.
Blaney moved past Busch on a restart with six laps to go, and held him off for the final laps to score his second career Nationwide Series win in his 24th start. Busch settled for second. Points leader Chase Elliott wound up third, Ty Dillon was fourth and Regan Smith fifth.
Busch, who led a race-high 161 laps from the pole, wasn’t happy with how the final restart went. He chose the faster outside lane, but his No. 54 Monster Energy Toyota briefly slowed as Busch led the field to the restart line.
Blaney took full advantage. He sprinted by Busch on the inside, and Busch couldn’t recover in time to deny Blaney’s No. 22 Discount Tire Ford the win.
“Kyle didn’t go on that last restart,” Blaney said. “He said his tires were jacked up, but we got to the second line and I went.
“We lost track position (earlier in the race), but our team and (crew chief) Jeremy Bullins helped us get it back.”
Blaney also apologized for an accident in the final laps that took out Kyle Larson as the two battled for fourth place. Larson’s Turner Scott Motorsports teammate, Dylan Kwaniewski, was also involved.
Larson was frustrated, but took the crash in stride. He finished 26th.
“We’ll probably be racing against each other for a long time,” Larson said of his battle with Blaney. “It’s unfortunate, we had a good car, but it happens.”
Brendan Gaughan finished sixth, with Kevin Harvick seventh and Erik Jones eighth. Brothers James and Chris Buescher rounded out the top 10.
Elliott’s third-place finish boosted his points lead to 13 over Smith. Dillon ranks third, 30 points behind, followed by Elliott Sadler 42 points back and Brian Scott 51 points behind.