Kurt Busch steals spotlight from younger brother at Bristol
BRISTOL, Tenn. — Kurt Busch stole the spotlight from his younger brother Saturday night at Bristol Motor Speedway to snap a 58-race winless streak and grab an overdue short-track victory.
Busch won for the first time this season but sixth on the 0.533-mile bullring he once dominated. Busch once won three consecutive times on the Tennessee track and was considered the best in the business on the concrete oval.
Then his younger brother learned his way around the place, and Kyle Busch became the master of the track.
Kyle Busch has seven Cup wins at Bristol, 21 total across NASCAR’s national series. He’s so good that he chose the song “All I Do Is Win” by D.J. Khaled to play as he was introduced before the race. The crowd responded with a thunderous boo, and Kyle Busch’s eventful evening was off to a roaring start. He triggered a 15-car accident just two laps into the race, fell two laps off the pace, came back to race Martin Truex Jr. for second, and moved Truex out the way late in the race.
A frustrated Truex kicked his car in anger, and as Kyle Busch was tending to his wounded race car, older brother Kurt battled Stewart-Haas Racing teammate Clint Bowyer for the lead. Kurt Busch was relentless on the restart and got his Ford to the front, then Kyle Busch spun to bring out a ninth caution.
Kurt Busch had a good restart but Kyle Larson, on fresher tires, was desperately trying to catch him for the win. Kurt Busch held him off and Larson, winner of the Xfinity Series race on Friday night, finished second in his bid for the Bristol sweep.
The victory was the 30th of Kurt Busch’s career, first since the Daytona 500 in 2017. It was his first Bristol victory since 2006.
“I love this place,” Kurt Busch said.
The ninth driver to win this season, he earned a spot in the 16-driver playoff field.
“It’s all about winning,” he said. “I wasn’t worried about not making the playoffs, so we could kind of treat these races coming up as free-for-alls, and we’re just going to keep going after it.”
The victory was the 13th for Stewart-Haas Racing since it joined Ford last season, and the 100th Cup victory for the Fusion.
Kyle Busch wound up 20th. He led the first 70 laps of the Xfinity Series race but wrecked with a flat tire, so his Bristol weekend was a bust.
“We probably finished where we should have anyways, as torn up as our race car is,” Kyle Busch said.
STILL SEEKING A BRISTOL WIN: Truex Jr. has never won on a short track and felt he had a chance to snap that streak at Bristol.
He was running second behind Bowyer when Kyle Busch tapped Truex’s rear bumper to cause Truex to wreck. Truex was so angry, he threw pieces of equipment to the ground and gave the side of his Toyota a hard kick.
“I just got hit in the left rear, pretty simple,” Truex said. “This place has been so hard on us. I can’t even explain to you how good we’ve run here in the past three or four years and crap like this happens every single time. It’s like just one thing after another.”