Yet Another Bristol Win For Rowdy Busch
BRISTOL, Tenn. – Kyle Busch held off Kyle Larson during a late-race restart before pulling away to his seventh NASCAR Nationwide Series win at Bristol Motor Speedway Friday during the Drive To Stop Diabetes 300.
The victory – his second of the 2014 Nationwide Series season – was his third-straight at Bristol in Nationwide competition.
For the first half of the race it looked as if the man to beat was going to be Busch’s Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Matt Kenseth. Kenseth took the lead from Busch on lap 30 and quickly pulled away from the field.
“We really had to change our car a lot today,” Busch said in victory lane. “Adam (Stevens, crew chief) made some really good calls on the pit box trying to get me freed up and trying to get me to where I could roll and make some speed up.”
Kenseth stayed out front for 179 laps, but Busch stayed close and waited for his moment. That moment came on lap 209 when Kenseth got stuck behind lapped traffic. Busch made his move, darting by Kenseth to retake the race lead.
“Kenseth, man, he was really fast. He was lightning fast there most of the day and I was having a hard time catching him,” Busch said. “I was just able to bide my time through traffic a little better than he did.”
The caution flag would wave four times in the final 91 laps, giving Kenseth and other contenders like Kevin Harvick and polesitter Kyle Larson continued opportunities to catch Busch. The final caution flag of the day waved on lap 286 when Jeremy Clements bounced off the wall in turn four.
During the restart on lap 291 Larson – who finished second to Busch in this race last year in a photo finish – was able to drive from fourth to second on the outside. Larson tried to close the gap on Busch in the final laps but Busch simply drove away in the final laps to victory.
“I just tried to run hard. I know he (Larson) was running the top. He loves the top. So I knew he was going to be up there,” Busch said. “It seemed like anybody who was behind me on the restart (in the outside lane) would be able to jump the two guys who were on the bottom. It seems like the bottom here is really at a disadvantage.”
Larson finished second for the fifth time in Nationwide Series competition Saturday.
“My Turner Scott Motorsports guys did a great job,” Larson said. “Our Cartwheel Chevy was OK to start. They worked on it and got it to roll the center better and I was able to get up by the wall where I like it and make some time back up.
“We got hurt on one of the restarts starting third and then we were lucky enough to get back to fourth before that last one (caution),” Larson said. “I thought I might have a shot at Kyle but just got up over I guess the cushion you would call it and got marbles on my tires. From there I had to fight off Kevin (Harvick) because Kyle got too far ahead.”
Harvick was third, followed by Ryan Blaney and Kenseth.