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NASCAR Cup: Kyle Busch completes Bristol sweep

Kyle Busch takes the checkered flag to win the Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on Aug. 19, 2017 (photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR).

Kyle Busch takes the checkered flag to win the Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on Aug. 19, 2017 (photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR).

By AMANDA VINCENT

Kyle Busch capped off the three-race Bristol (Ten.) Motor Speedway sweep Saturday night, winning the Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series event, adding to his Camping World Truck Series win there Wednesday night and Xfinity Series win there Friday night. He’s the only driver to complete the three-race Bristol sweep, but he’s now done it twice, with the first sweep coming in 2010. Saturday night’s win also was Busch’s sixth Cup win at Bristol, the most of any active driver.

“Man, Erik Jones put up a whale of a fight,” Busch said. “That’s all I had. I was running with my tongue hanging. My arms were jello and my throat hurts, but man, that’s awesome. Can’t say enough about everybody on my Joe Gibbs Racing team. Adam Stevens (crew chief) and the guys are phenomenal. Car might not have been perfect, but I’m never perfect. I never feel like we’re perfect, but this Caramel Camry was fast. So proud of these guys; so proud of my team; so proud of Joe Gibbs Racing. So proud of Rowdy Nation; this one’s for you.”

Busch led 156 laps and won the opening stage, but unlike in the Truck and Xfinity series races, he wasn’t the laps-led leader in Saturday night’s Cup race. That honor went to Erik Jones, who led 260 laps after starting on the pole. Jones finished second to Busch, 1.4 seconds back.

“It’s a bummer. I mean, you can’t lie,” Jones said. “I thought we had a really good day, and we fought hard all day. We had our ups and downs and led a lot of laps and didn’t have quite enough at the end. Kyle is really good here. But we had a good 5-Hour Energy Camry. Just needed a little more at the end. It’s just unfortunate we didn’t have it. I did what I could, but it just wasn’t quite enough.”

Although Jones led over half the race, including 106 in the first half of the 500 lap race, he failed to claim a stage win. Instead, Matt Kenseth won stage two after staying out during caution late in the stage.

In the first stage, Busch and Kyle Larson both got by Jones and traded the lead back and forth in the final laps of the stage before Busch took the lead on lap 125, the final lap of the opening stage. Larson was the only driver other than Jones and Busch to lead significant laps, running up front for 70 laps. He wound up ninth at the finish.

Jones was back up front to start the final stage that made up the second half of the race after Kenseth pitted during the caution between the second and third stages. Aside from Jones, Busch and Larson, Kenseth was the only driver to post double digits in the laps-led column, running up front for 11 laps.

After Busch took his final lead of the race with just over 50 laps remaining, Jones and Kenseth battled back and forth for second until Kenseth lost third to Denny Hamlin in the closing laps. Hamlin finished third and Kenseth fourth to give Toyota the top-four finishing positions.

Kurt Busch rounded out the top-five.

Other top-10 finishers included Ryan Newman in sixth, Trevor Bayne seventh, Kevin Harvick eighth and Ryan Blaney 10th.

Follow Auto Racing Daily on Twitter @AutoRacingDaily or like Auto Racing Daily on Facebook (facebook.com/autorcngdaily). Amanda’s also on Twitter @NASCARexaminer and has a fan/like page on Facebook (facebook.com/nascarexaminer)

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Posted by on August 20, 2017. Filed under Breaking News,Featured,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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