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NASCAR Cup: Kyle Busch claims seventh Bristol win

BRISTOL, TN – APRIL 14: Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Skittles Toyota, gets into his car during practice for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway on April 14, 2018 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo by Robert Laberge/Getty Images)

By AMANDA VINCENT

A week and a day after claiming his first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series win of 2018 at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Kyle Busch claimed his second win of the season Monday in the delayed Food City 500 at Bristol (Ten.) Motor Speedway. Already the winningest active driver at Bristol, Busch grew his track Cup Series win tally to seven.

“It’s just the long long delays and things that happen that kind of get you in and out of your game,” Busch. “Tell you what, you just got to stay focused for the entirety of it and try to keep going. I, of course, used some NOS in order to help me do that and some Skittles, of course, to help me do that. We had plenty of those during the break, but I can’t say enough about this Skittles Toyota Camry. I mean Adam (Stevens, crew chief) and these boys brought a great race car. We knew it was going to be good in the long runs. We weren’t quite as good as the 42 (Kyle Larson) on that long run before that last caution came out. I actually thought I had a tire going down, but we were able to get some tires on it and go give it everything we had. We had a 20-lap shootout and that was everything that it was about was right there just chasing down that 42 and being able to get there. Thanks to M&Ms, Interstate Batteries, Cessna, DVX Eyewear, Black Clover, the fans. I appreciate the fans coming out today. I know it was a hard one, a tough one, a cold one for everybody that was here in Bristol and around Bristol, Tennessee, but we appreciate that.”

Kyle Larson finished second after leading a race-high 191 laps of the total 500 over the course of Sunday and Monday.

“I was really, really good on that long run,” Larson said. “And yeah, as soon as we restarted there, I was extremely loose. The No. 17 (Stenhouse) got to my inside. I just really didn’t have any grip. I thought it would tighten-up for me and I could get going, but it never really did and I was just really loose. I hate that I didn’t win. It’s another one at Bristol. I feel like every time I race here I almost get a win. It was a fun race. I’ve been beat by Kyle about every time I race here, too, so that gets frustrating after a while.”

Jimmie Johnson posted his first top-five finish of the season, finishing third after starting the race in the back because of a tire change after Friday’s qualifying session.

“It really is a great boost,” Johnson said. “I’ve said for weeks now that we’re getting better, and it’s great to finally have a result to back that up. We’ve had decent Fridays and really good Saturdays, and then, some bad luck in the races. Although we had plenty of bad luck over the course of the four or five days that we’ve been here, we were able to pull through and get a great third place finish, so I’m very proud of everybody at Hendrick Motorsports and thank everybody on this Lowe’s For Pros team, and let’s get home and get out of here. It’s snowing again.”

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. finished fourth, and Alex Bowman posted his first-career top-five with a fifth-place finish.

“Just thankful for driving for Hendrick Motorsports,” Bowman said. “It’s been a lot of fun finally getting some good runs going our way. It’s been cool. To run fifth, it’s not a great day, but it’s better than what we started the year doing. We are making progress, making steps in the right direction and just got to keep doing that.”

Brad Keselowski added to his Food City 500 stage-win tally Monday. After winning the first 125-lap stage Sunday, he won the second after the race resumed on lap 205 Monday.

Larson was up front when the race was resumed under caution Monday. He stayed out while other frontrunners pitted. As Larson restarted as the leader, Keselowski restarted fifth after changing two tires.

Larson grew his leading margin for several laps until Keselowski got up to second as the close of stage two neared. With seven laps remaining in the stage that ended at the halfway point of the race, Keselowski took the lead.

Keselowski eventually drifted to the back of the lead lap and went a lap down with 63 laps remaining. With 31 laps to go, He blew a left-front tire, bringing out the final caution of the race.

Larson took the race lead on lap 293, but with 176 laps remaining, he spun while in the lead as a result of contact with Ryan Newman as Newman attempted to remain on the lead lap. Despite the spit, Larson was still third in the running order after pit stops during the resulting caution. Busch, was the race leader.

Both Larson and Busch led over the course of the remaining laps, with Busch taking the lead for good with six laps to go.

Finishing sixth through 10th were Aric Almirola, Kevin Harvick, Clint Bowyer, Joey Logano and Newman.

“Well, we were a top five car, just got the wrong spot on the restart, there,” Newman said. “Wish we would have been sixth instead of fifth; gladly would have been fourth. Good run for our Bass Pro/Cabela’s Chevrolet. The team did a good job this weekend. Starting clear back as far as we did and, then, being as high as second, good team effort. Something to build on going to one of my favorite race tracks next weekend.”

SUNDAY HIGHLIGHTS: Ryan Blaney dominated early, leading 100 laps after taking the lead from pole sitter Busch on lap 17 and before being collected in one of four multi-car Sunday wrecks on lap 118.

“I didn’t see much to be honest with you,” Blaney said. “By the time I could see anything, they were already turned right and there was nowhere to go. Seeing the replay, I don’t know, people not cleared clearing themselves, and then, wrecking and take the leader out, so that’s unfortunate. Our car was pretty good today. We just kind of got held up, there, and we might not have been as strong at the end of that run, but I thought we could have at least held on for that stage and never got the chance. The positives you look at is that we had a good car and that’s something to hold your head high about.”

After challenging Blaney for the lead for several laps, Team Penske teammate Keselowski inherited the lead with Blaney’s early retirement from the race.

Keselowski, then, stayed out during the wreck’s resulting caution to lead the remaining green-flag lap of stage one for the stage win.

After staying out, Keselowski pitted between the two 125-lap stages, handing the lead over to Larson. Larson, then, dominated the remainder of Sunday’s 204 laps and was up front when the remainder of the race was postponed until Monday.

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Posted by on April 16, 2018. Filed under Breaking News,Featured,Monster Energy NASCAR Cup,NASCAR. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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