Kyle Busch got the broom out Saturday night. Here’s how it all went down in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup series Bass Pro Shops NRA Bristol Night Race Saturday.
From his first car NASCAR Cup pole, Erik Jones led the field to the green; Kyle Larson lined up on the front row beside him. Kasey Kahne, who won the third starting spot was sent to the rear for changing a tire. That moved Chase Elliott up with Matt Kenseth, and Martin Truex Jr. rounding out the top five.
Jones started on the outside and had the lead early as Elliott took second, Truex followed, Larson nearly spinning out, fell back.
Elliott to the lead on lap 4. Brad Keselowski lost a left front tire and had to pit. Up front Jones and Elliott were fighting for the lead as Larson joined them.
Jones had a clear lead by lap 9, Larson was second; Kenseth took third, Elliott fourth, Truex fifth.
Keselowski rejoined the field four laps down.
Jones had caught the back of the field by lap 13.
Larson was looking for the lead by lap 19. He slipped and fell back; Kenseth took second, Elliott followed and Larson fell into fourth.
After starting 31st, Dale Earnhardt Jr. in his last Bristol race was up to 19th by lap 24.
Larson, Elliott and Kenseth were fighting for spots in heavy traffic by lap 37.
Larson took third on lap 42. He took second on lap 47.
Elliott was looking for third on lap 50, as Larson had caught Jones up front.
Larson took the lead on lap 51. Elliott had third, Truex was fourth, Kenseth fifth.
Kenseth was soon falling back; he was 11th by lap 59.
Aric Almirola lost a tire and hit the wall, and the first caution came out on lap 61.
The leaders pitted. Larson was out first followed by Jones, Truex, Elliott and Joey Logano.
Green came back out on lap 68; Larson took a quick lead as Jones and Elliot fought side by side, Elliott took the spot at the end of the lap and caught Larson but nearly spun out and had to back off. Kyle Busch had third, Denny Hamlin fourth, Jones fifth.
Jones got by Hamlin then Busch and had third by lap 75.
Busch settled into fourth, Kenseth had recovered and was fifth.
The lead for Larson was 1.7 seconds by lap 87.
Busch shot to second on lap 94. Larson’s lead was just over 2 seconds.
Larson was again in have traffic as the end of the first stage was approaching.
In the traffic, Busch caught Larson on lap 114; Jones and Elliott was fighting for third.
Busch took the lead on lap 115, But Larson was soon right beside him.
Larson retook the lead on lap 118; Jones held onto third.
Larson and Busch were side by side with four laps to go in the stage.
Busch was able to power by with a bump and run on lap 124 and won Stage 1. Jones slipped by Larson and took second.
Top 10 Stage 1: Busch, Jones, Larson, Elliott, Kenseth, Hamlin, Ryan Blaney, Logano, Truex, and Jimmie Johnson.
The leaders all pitted. Kenseth and Busch made contact on pit road. Jones was out first followed by Larson, Kenseth, Elliott and Hamlin. Busch lost five spots during the stop and came out sixth.
Green came out to start lap 136.
Jones had the lead by turn 1; Hamlin and Busch shot forward and were side by side for second. Truex and Larson were behind.
Busch had second by lap 140.
Kevin Harvick took fifth on lap 142. Larson was fourth behind Hamlin.
Busch was looking for the lead by 163. He took the lead on lap 167.
Jones was again looking for the lead on lap 177; Larson was approaching behind after taking third from Hamlin.
Jones had the lead again on lap 180 as the leaders were in heavy traffic.
Busch retook the lead on lap 198 after bumping Paul Menard to try and get past.
Caution three came out on lap 201 when Ricky Stenhouse Jr. running ninth lost a tire and hit the wall.
The leaders pitted. Busch was out first followed by Jones, Larson, Hamlin and Truex.
Green came back out to start lap 207. Truex dove back into the pits with a loose wheel.
Busch took the lead, Larson took second, Kenseth grabbed third.
Truex had a tire violation and was forced to do a pass through penalty. He ended up 26th two laps down.
Kenseth took second on lap 214; Elliott and Larson fought for third. Elliott had third by lap 219.
AJ Allmendinger began showing tire smoke on lap 222 and nearly crashed; he was able to make it to the pits after several close calls.
Austin Dillon and Jeffrey Earnhardt crashed after Dillon spun on the bottom of the track and shot up in turn 2 on lap 230; caution four came out. Both were done. Dillon had made contact on the restart.
With Stage 2 coming to an end, pit strategy came into play.
Kenseth stayed out as the rest of the top five pitted. Busch was out first followed by Larson, Hamlin, Jones and Elliott. He rejoined the field seventh.
Up front Kenseth led, Johnson, Harvick, Ryan Newman and Earnhardt made up the top five.
Green came out on lap 244. Kenseth took the lead, Johnson took second, Harvick third followed by Newman and Larson.
Top 10 Stage 2: Kenseth, Johnson, Harvick, Newman, Larson, Jones, Hamlin, Kyle Busch, Menard, and Clint Bowyer.
Those who had not pitted, came in. Johnson was first off pit road followed by Kenseth, Newman, Harvick and Menard. Kenseth was penalized for speeding.
Up front the top five: Jones, Larson, Hamlin, Kyle Busch and Bowyer.
Green came out on lap 262; Jones held the lead, Kyle Busch second followed by Elliott, Larson and Hamlin.
Stenhouse had more issues on lap 290
Larson took third on lap 315, Hamlin followed putting Elliott fifth. The lead for Jones was 1.7 seconds.
Larson took second on lap 349. Hamlin soon had third.
Ty Dillon hit the wall on lap 354 and the sixth caution of the night came out, Trevor Bayne also lost a tire and hit the wall.
The leaders pitted. Jones was out first, Larson second followed by Elliott, Kyle Busch and Hamlin.
Green came out on lap 360; Jones took the lead as Larson fell back; Kyle Busch was soon looking for the lead and had it a lap later. Harvick was third, Larson fourth, Kenseth had recovered to fifth.
After bouncing off the wall several times, NASCAR black flagged Almirola on lap 393.
Elliott spun on lap 396 while running sixth and fighting with Harvick. He spun out of turn 2 and hit the inside wall; caution seven came out.
The leaders pitted again. Jones was out first, followed by Kenseth, Busch, Harvick and Hamlin.
Almirola and Ty Dillon headed to the garage.
Green came out on lap 402; Jones led, Harvick took second on the outside. Kenseth took third, Busch fourth, Jamie McMurray was fifth. Elliott restarted 20th.
Kenseth took second on lap 408.
Landon Cassill hit the wall hard on lap 416 and caution eight came out. Elliott got the free pass and was back on the lead lap.
The top five stayed out, several deeper in the field pitted for fresh tires.
The restart came on lap 422. Jones took a long lead as Busch took second from Kenseth.
Busch soon had Jones in his sites; but Kenseth got past and retook second on lap 428. Kyle Busch was reporting chattering rear tires. His brother Kurt had made it up to sixth.
Kyle Busch was trying to make up ground on Kenseth; both were making up ground on Jones.
The top 3 were all together by lap 443; Busch had second on lap 444; Jones got loose, Busch took the lead. Kenseth took second on lap 449, Jones settled into third.
Jones and Kenseth were soon fighting for second as Busch was pulling away. Kurt Busch had made his way into fourth and was catching them.
Jones took second on lap 465. The lead for Busch was 1.1 seconds.
Busch was in heavy traffic and Jones was catching him by lap 474.
Hamlin took third on lap 478.
With 12 to go the lead was hovering around a half a second.
The lead was just over a half second with five laps to go.
Jones ran out of time and Busch was able to complete the sweep as Jones settled for a career best second.
Hamlin was third, Kenseth fourth and Kurt Busch fifth. Newman was sixth, Bayne seventh, Harvick eighth, Larson ninth and Blaney tenth.
The Monster Energy Cup series has a week off before heading to Darlington Raceway for the Southern 500 on Sept. 3.
- Matt DiBenedetto’s excellent run comes to abrupt, violent end - February 17, 2019
- Clint Bowyer’s last-ditch effort ends in nine-car wreck - February 17, 2019
- Jimmie Johnson scores miraculous top 10 at Daytona - February 17, 2019