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Kyle Busch moves Larson to win thrilling Bristol Cup race

Kyle Busch moves Larson to win thrilling Bristol Cup race
Apr 16, 2018, 7:34 PM

After a lengthy delay, Kyle Busch made it two in a row in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.

Kyle Busch, Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota Camry Skittles William Byron, Hendrick Motorsports, Chevrolet Camaro AXALTA Joey Logano, Team Penske, Ford Fusion Autotrader
Kyle Busch, Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota Camry Skittles
Kyle Busch, Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota Camry Skittles
Kyle Busch, Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota Camry Skittles
Ryan Blaney, Team Penske, Ford Fusion REV and Kyle Busch, Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota Camry Skittles
Joey Logano, Team Penske, Ford Fusion Autotrader, Brad Keselowski, Team Penske, Ford Fusion Discount Tire and Darrell Wallace Jr., Richard Petty Motorsports, Chevrolet STP
Kyle Larson, Chip Ganassi Racing, Chevrolet Camaro McDonald's and Kurt Busch, Stewart-Haas Racing, Ford Fusion Haas Automation/Monster Energy
Kyle Larson, Chip Ganassi Racing, Chevrolet Camaro McDonald's
Erik Jones, Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota Camry DeWalt and Kyle Larson, Chip Ganassi Racing, Chevrolet Camaro McDonald's
Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Roush Fenway Racing, Ford Fusion SunnyD, Kyle Larson, Chip Ganassi Racing, Chevrolet Camaro McDonald's, Brad Keselowski, Team Penske, Ford Fusion Discount Tire

Busch passed Kyle Larson off Turn 4 with five of 500 laps remaining to win Monday’s rain-delayed Food City 500 at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway, his second consecutive series win of the season and second consecutive at Bristol.

“It was the best right at the end," said Busch. "I know (Kyle) Larson was a little bit loose right there. It seemed like he was over driving and trying to hold the bottom, but he was slipping out of the bottom and I got a huge run on him and got to him and it was just on," Busch said after the race. 

"I knew I might as well just take the opportunity that I got right now. I knew it was a little early because you tend to try to want to think about saving that bump and run deal for the last lap, but I just took my chance with it.

"If he got back to my rear bumper, then so be it. I think that’s fair game and being able to race that way. Fortunately, I was able to run away from him and he couldn’t get back to me.” 

Busch said the change Monday to longer green-flag runs then the stop-and-stop nature of Sunday's start of the race was to his benefit.

"We knew we were going to have a great long run car. We just had to get there and had to get some long runs," he said. "Actually (Larson) was better than us right there before that last caution came out, so I don’t know what happen to ours.

"We just got really, really bad tire vibrations and just wasn’t able to run as hard as we wanted, but we got it. Came in, got them four tires put on it and man we were fast there at the end. We chased those guys back down.”

The race began on Sunday but inclement weather halted it before the completion of the first two stages, which would have made it official. It resumed on Monday on Lap 205 of 500.

Busch will have a chance to match Kevin Harvick with three consecutive wins with another victory Saturday night at Richmond (Va.) Raceway.

Jimmie Johnson finished third, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. fourth and Alex Bowman completed the top-five.

Brad Keselowski was the first car off pit road during the break between Stages 2 and 3 and remained in the lead when the final stage returned to green-flag racing on Lap 262

Stenhouse had too many men over the wall during the pit roads and had to start Stage 3 from the rear of the field.

Denny Hamlin quickly powered to the lead on the restart as Keselowski dropped to second.

Two laps later, Hamlin dropped to pit road complaining of a possible loose wheel and Keselowski resumed the lead.

On Lap 293, Larson had worked his way around Kyle Busch and Larson and into the lead for the first time since early in the race.

Busch settled into the runner-up position on Lap 314 with Keselowski moving back to third.

White navigating lapped traffic, Larson was hit by Ryan Newman and send for a spin while leading the race on Lap 324. Busch nearly hit Larson as he was spinning.

On the restart on Lap 330, Kyle Busch held the lead followed by Keselowski, Larson, Johnson and Bowman.

Reed Sorenson slammed into the Turn 3 wall on Lap 353 to bring out the 10th caution of the race. Kyle Busch was the first off pit road but Daniel Suarez elected not to pit and took over the lead on the restart on Lap 366.

He was followed by Busch, Johnson, Keselowski and Larson.

It took just over a lap for Keselowski to power into the lead with Darrel Wallace Jr. moving into second.

Wallace powered around Keselowski to take the top spot for the first time in the race on Lap 375.

Six laps later, Kyle Busch got around Wallace and back into the lead with Larson in second and Newman in third.

On Lap 391, the caution was displayed for more inclement weather, a mixture of rain and snow. The race returned to green on Lap 400.

With 80 laps remaining, Kyle Busch continued with a commanding lead, followed by Larson, Johnson, Stenhouse and Keselowski.

With 61 to go, Larson got around Busch and back to the lead followed by Johnson, Stenhouse and Newman. Keselowski fell off the pace and a lap down with what he described as a tire issue.

Larson held a more than 2-second advantage over Busch with 50 laps remaining.

On Lap 471, Keselowski got into the wall to bring out another caution. Larson was the first off pit road and held the lead when the race returned to green 22 laps left in the race.

With 15 laps remaining, Kyle Busch moved into second, about a half-a-second behind Larson.

The win is Busch's 45th in the Cup series, breaking a tie with Bill Elliott for 16th-place on the all-time list.

Cla#DriverManufacturerLapsTimeLaps Led
1 18 united_states Kyle Busch  Toyota 500 - 117
2 42 united_states Kyle Larson  Chevrolet 500 0.628 200
3 48 united_states Jimmie Johnson  Chevrolet 500 1.476  
4 17 united_states Ricky Stenhouse Jr.  Ford 500 2.417  
5 88 united_states Alex Bowman  Chevrolet 500 4.179  
6 10 united_states Aric Almirola  Ford 500 4.587  
7 4 united_states Kevin Harvick  Ford 500 4.929  
8 14 united_states Clint Bowyer  Ford 500 5.139  
9 22 united_states Joey Logano  Ford 500 5.549 1
10 31 united_states Ryan Newman  Chevrolet 500 5.820  
11 19 mexico Daniel Suarez  Toyota 500 11.235 5
12 38 united_states David Ragan  Ford 500 16.066  
13 21 united_states Paul Menard  Ford 499 1 lap  
14 11 united_states Denny Hamlin  Toyota 499 1 lap 4
15 3 united_states Austin Dillon  Chevrolet 499 1 lap  
16 43 united_states Darrell Wallace Jr.  Chevrolet 499 1 lap 6
17 47 united_states A.J. Allmendinger  Chevrolet 499 1 lap  
18 24 united_states William Byron  Chevrolet 498 2 laps  
19 1 united_states Jamie McMurray  Chevrolet 498 2 laps  
20 00 united_states Landon Cassill  Chevrolet 498 2 laps  
21 32 united_states Matt DiBenedetto  Ford 497 3 laps  
22 41 united_states Kurt Busch  Ford 496 4 laps  
23 2 united_states Brad Keselowski  Ford 495 5 laps 67
24 6 united_states Trevor Bayne  Ford 495 5 laps  
25 72 united_states Corey Lajoie  Chevrolet 494 6 laps  
26 20 united_states Erik Jones  Toyota 494 6 laps  
27 96 canada D.J. Kennington  Toyota 482 18 laps  
28 13 united_states Ty Dillon  Chevrolet 475 25 laps  
29 9 united_states Chase Elliott  Chevrolet 473 27 laps  
30 78 united_states Martin Truex Jr.  Toyota 458 42 laps  
31 23 united_states Gray Gaulding  Toyota 448 52 laps  
32 55 united_states Reed Sorenson  Chevrolet 342 158 laps  
33 66 united_states Chad Finchum  Toyota 335 165 laps  
34 95 united_states Kasey Kahne  Chevrolet 236 264 laps  
35 12 united_states Ryan Blaney  Ford 117 383 laps 100
36 37 united_states Chris Buescher  Chevrolet 116 384 laps  
37 51 united_states Harrison Rhodes  Chevrolet 115 385 laps  
38 34 united_states Michael McDowell  Ford 9 491 laps  
39 15 united_states Ross Chastain  Chevrolet 3 497 laps

Keselowski wins Stage 2 Bristol after moving Larson

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About this article

Series NASCAR Cup
Event Bristol
Location Bristol Motor Speedway
Drivers Kyle Busch
Teams Joe Gibbs Racing
Author Jim Utter