2010-08-26 / Sports

Kyle Busch Sweeps Bristol

By Gerald Hodges
THE RACING REPORTER

Kyle Busch Kyle Busch BRISTOL, Tenn. – Kyle Busch held off David Reutimann and Jamie McMurray to win Saturday’s Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway and complete his unprecedented sweep of three NASCAR national touring events at the same track in the same week.

“The pit stops tonight were flawless,” said Busch. “Jimmie (Johnson) beat us out one time just because of pit selection. But unfortunately he had his troubles, but we were able to just get out there and kind of set sail. We had a really fast race car. Coming through the field was fun. Passing in front of those guys and working traffic the way you had to work traffic and just kind of pick and choose your way; do you go high, do you go low. You had to have a car that would really work anywhere.”

On Lap 429 of 500, Busch nosed past Reutimann after an intense 15-lap battle and pulled away to a Sprint Cup victory that fit well with his Wednesday win in the Camping World Truck Series and his Friday triumph in the Nationwide Series.

The victory was Busch’s fourth at the .533-mile track, his third of the season and the 19th of his career.

“I mean, we had a good race car, and you know, we battled being loose at times through the center and loose on exit, and then we made the exit better but hurt the center, and that’s kind of what ultimately got us at the end,” said runner-up, David Reutimann, who battled a stomach virus all week.

“You know, it was a good race. I enjoyed racing the guys up front, Jamie and Kyle and those guys. You know, it’s just a – I feel really, really good about the finish, but I’m not feeling so hot right now, so I’m ready to go to sleep at some point.”

McMurray came home third.

“I mean, it’s pretty remarkable what he’s (Busch) been able to do this weekend, especially with owning his own truck team,” said McMurray. “I know that’s been fairly stressful for him. And obviously the Nationwide, it’s – I don’t know, it’s amazing how many races they can win in that car. But then to be able to come out tonight and win again, he obviously has a really good feel for this place, and he just had a really good weekend. He’s been close to doing that before, so that’s really impressive what Kyle has been able to do.”

Clint Bowyer, Kasey Kahne, Ryan Newman, Juan Montoya, Greg Biffle, Kurt Busch, and Matt Kenseth were the remaining top-10 finishers.

After leading 175 laps, Jimmie Johnson was fighting for position on Lap 262 when contact from Juan Montoya’s Chevrolet sent Johnson’s Chevy spinning down the backstretch and into the Turn 3 wall. The polesitter lost 66 laps during repairs and finished 35th.

Denny Hamlin snapped a drive shaft near the midpoint of the race and lost 26 laps in the garage while his crew replaced it. He finished 34th. The only consolation for Johnson and Hamlin is that each has a series-best five victories, good for 50 bonus points to start the Chase.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. ran as high as seventh, but finished13th.

Top-15 Chase contenders with two races left before the Chase begins: 1. Harvick- 3521, 2. J. Gordon-3242, 3. Kyle Busch-3170, 4. Edwards- 3113, 5. Hamlin-3108, 6. Stewart 3107, 7. Burton-3101, 8. Kenseth-3095, 9. Johnson- 3077, 10. Kurt Busch-3073, 11. Biffle-3055, 12. Bowyer-2920, 13. McMurray-2820, 14. Martin 2819, 15. Newman-2820 Note: Only the top-12 drivers will make the Chase.

Kyle Busch took the checkered flag in Friday night’s Nationwide Series, Food City 250 after bumping Brad Keselowski out of the way on lap 219 of the 250-lap race.

Busch and Keselowski were the class of the race, with Keselowski leading three times for 62 laps and Busch leading three times for a race-high 116 laps. Keselowski held the point from lap 162 to 218, but after doggedly pursuing the championship leader, Busch finally made his way past Keselowski in between turns one and two.

But as soon as Busch’s car got in front of Keselowski on the backstretch, the nose of Keselowski’s Dodge nudged the rear bumper of Busch’s Toyota, sending Busch scraping along the wall.

Busch never let off the throttle and quickly got in behind Keselowski as they entered turn three, and just before turn four, Busch reached Keselowski and nosed his Toyota into the back of Keselowski, sending him spinning, with the rear of Keselowski’s Dodge contacting the outside wall.

Busch motored on, and with the exception of two late-race restarts where he was briefly challenged by Elliott Sadler, Busch checked out to collect his second Nationwide Series win at Bristol.

“I raced and raced and raced him (Keselowski), I don’t know for 12, 15 laps,” said Busch, who is two for two this week at Bristol, as he won Wednesday night’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at the .533- mile oval. “I thought I had him cleared on the back and I moved up in front of him, and instead of him doing an Earnhardt crossover move, he decided that he would just run into the back of me and put me in the fence. So, that’s Brad Keselowski. So, you know, I went down into the next corner and dumped him. He does it to everybody else. Why can’t I do it to him?”

The victory was Busch’s 10th Nationwide Series win this season, tying him with the mark set by Sam Ard during his championship run in 1983 and tied by Busch in 2008. It was also Busch’s 40th career Nationwide Series victory, inching him ever closer to the all-time Nationwide Series win total of 48 set by Mark Martin.

Top-10 Nationwide points leaders after 24 of 35: 1. Keselowski 3830, 2. Edwards- 3517, 3. Kyle Busch-3396, 4. Allgaier-3123, 5. Menard- 3036, 6. Harvick-2908, 7. S. Wallace-2808, 8. Bayne-2721, 9. Leffler-2620, 10. Gaughan- 2587.

Top-10 Camping World Truck leaders after16 of 25: 1. Bodine-2533, 2. Almirola- 2322, 3. Peters-2283, 4. Sauter-2245, 5. Hornaday- 2210, 6. Crafton-2178, 7. Dillon 2172, 8. Skinner-2116, 9. Starr-1994, 10. Carmichael- 1863.

Weekend racing: The Cup teams have an off weekend. The Nationwide Series is at the Montreal, Canada, road course, while the Camping World Trucks are at Chicagoland Speedway.

Fri., Aug. 27, Camping World Trucks, race 17 of 25; Starting time: 8:30 p.m. ET; TV: Speed.

Sun., Aug 29, Nationwide Series NAPA Auto Parts 200, race 25 of 35: Starting time: 2 p.m. ET; TV: ESPN2.

Racing trivia question: Who was the youngest driver to win a Cup race? Hint: It happened in 2005.

Last week’s question: Richard Petty leads all drivers with 200 career Cup wins. Who has the second most wins? David Pearson is second with 105 wins.

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