Kyle Busch takes advantage of Briscoe-Reddick bump on final lap, seals Bristol Dirt win
BRISTOL, Tenn. — Kyle Busch has a particular fondness for Bristol Motor Speedway, but No. 18 Toyota driver Joe Gibbs Racing needed a huge stroke of luck on Sunday night to rekindle his love affair with the track half a mile.
Busch won the Food City Dirt Race from a distant third place after second-placed Chase Briscoe’s Ford slid on the elevated dirt track in leader Tyler Reddick’s Chevrolet on the final turn, spinning the two cars on the side.
Reddick straightened his Camaro and headed for the finish line, but Busch’s momentum in Turn 4 carried his #18 Camry past the flag stand 0.330 seconds ahead of Reddick, who was denied his first victory in the NASCAR Cup Series.
RELATED: Official Results | Photos on the track
Busch, meanwhile, notched his 60th career win, ninth all-time and most among active drivers. With his first win of the season, he equaled Richard Petty’s 18-year series record streak with at least one trip to Victory Lane.
An eight-time winner on Bristol’s traditional concrete surface – again, the most among active drivers – Busch won the NASCAR Cup Series’ second dirt race since 1970 and the first with the new Next Gen race car.
“Yeah, we have one,” Busch said with a wry smile. “It doesn’t matter how you get them. It’s about getting them. I can’t say enough. I mean, man, I feel like Dale Earnhardt Sr. right now (as the crowd booed his unexpected victory). It’s awesome. I did not do anything.
After the second of two rain delays, Busch moved up to second on lap 227, but he fell back when Briscoe passed him on lap 232 of 250 and began chasing Reddick for the lead.
“I don’t know why, we couldn’t shoot after it rained both times,” Busch said. “He just wouldn’t shoot. It took about 20 laps to start.
“Overall really delighted to be back. Real pumped to get a win. This one means a lot. I can win on any surface here in Bristol. Carry on baby.”
A chagrined Briscoe took full responsibility for the crash that gave Busch the win.
“I was knocking Tyler down and I tried to throw a slider and I didn’t expect him to come running at me, and I escaped,” Briscoe said. “I was going both ways. I feel bad. I didn’t want to destroy it. It was 100% my fault. I hate that for Tyler. He’s a good friend of mine.
Reddick took the disappointment with consummate grace.
“I don’t think I did everything right, to be honest with you,” Reddick said. “Briscoe managed to get me back there. Just looking at him, I should have done a little better job of just… I don’t know. I shouldn’t have let him get this close. He pulled me down. I worked very hard to do this.
“I mean, you run on dirt, you go for the last corner. That’s all you as a pilot hope to fight for in his situation. It was really exciting for the fans, so… It sucks, but we still managed to finish second. I’m honest. I should have done a better job of stepping away so he wouldn’t be in range trying to do that move. That’s how I see it. »
MORE: Briscoe, Reddick clash, fail
Reddick took control of the race after a restart on lap 151 to start the final stage. With a fierce race through Turns 1 and 2, he pulled between the cars of Busch on top and Joey Logano on the bottom to take the lead for the first time.
He held the lead for the next 99 laps, after five warnings and the second rain delay. The last lap was the only one led by Busch.
Briscoe was credited with a 22nd place finish after running second through the final set of turns.
Logano came in third, 4.004 seconds behind the race winner. Kyle Larson finished fourth, followed by Ryan Blaney, Alex Bowman, Christopher Bell, Chase Elliott, Michael McDowell and Ty Dillon.
Briscoe led the first 48 laps, but his #14 Ford spun early with a flat tire to trigger a warning flag on lap 49. He rallied to take the lead on lap 140 and held on to win stage 2 with 150 complete laps. Larson won Stage 1.
The next NASCAR Cup Series race is scheduled for next Sunday (3 p.m. ET, FOX, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) at Talladega Superspeedway.
To note: The Cup Series garage inspection was completed without a hitch, confirming Kyle Busch as the race winner.
Input: Staff Reports