Busch claims first Cup victory at Bristol since 2011
By Matt Courson
August 19, 2017
BRISTOL, Tenn.— Kyle Busch swept the NASCAR race weekend for the second time at Bristol Motor Speedway Saturday night, netting his 40th victory in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.
Busch, who led the second most laps led of the evening, held off a late charge by rookie Erik Jones, who led the most laps of the evening.
Busch claimed 53 points and six playoff points in the 500-lap event.
“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.”
STAGE ONE (LAPS 1-125)
Rookie Erik Jones led the field to the green alongside Kyle Larson.
In the opening laps, Brad Keselowski suffered a flat left-front tire and had to bring his car to pit road.
He would go four laps down in the process.
The first yellow flag of the evening flew on lap 61 for Aric Almirola. The No. 43 got loose in Turn 2 and scraped the wall. He would ultimately finish 37th.
With 10 laps to go in Stage 1, Kyle Busch caught Larson and dodged lapped traffic to claim the lead and eventual 10th stage victory.
STAGE TWO (LAPS 126-250)
During pit stops under the yellow flag, race leader Kyle Busch stayed a bit longer on pit road than he expected.
Jones led the opening 42 laps in stage two.
Busch restarted sixth, but moved into the second place 15 laps later.
The 2015 champion would eventually pass for the lead on lap 167.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. brought out the yellow flag on lap 201 after scraping the outside wall on the backstretch. Stenhouse would recover to finish 14th.
As the field came off Turn 4 heading toward the green flag, Martin Truex Jr. dove to pit road to repair a loose wheel.
Things would only get worse for Truex, as he would be penalized for an outside tire violation. Truex lost 2 laps. Truex would never overcome the issue, and finish one lap down.
While battling lose conditions, Austin Dillon spun around in Turn 4. Dillon went up the track and collected the No. 33 of Jeffrey Earnhardt.
The damage to the No. 3 was too extensive to continue the race.
Matt Kenseth elected to not come down to pit road and acquired the lead.
Kenseth held off a late charge by Jimmie Johnson to claim victory in stage two. Johnson would finish second, followed by Kevin Harvick, Ryan Newman, and Erik Jones.
STAGE THREE (LAPS 250-500)
Erik Jones went back to the lead on lap 254 and led the next 99 laps until the caution came out.
The No. 13 of Ty Dillon got up into the Turn 2 wall on lap 353.
The race went green for 42 laps, but the caution flew on lap 395.
The No. 24 NAPA Chevrolet bounced off Kevin Harvick in Turn 2 and spun down the track, hitting the inside wall.
Contact between Matt DiBenedetto and Landon Cassill on the start/finish line ended up in Cassill slamming into the Turn 1 wall.
The damage was too extensive for the No. 34 to continue.
The preferred line moved up the racetrack, allowing Kyle Busch to pass Erik Jones for the lead on lap 445.
Kyle Busch was able to hold off a late charge by Erik Jones to win the night race at Bristol.
Kyle Busch is now the winningest driver among active drivers at Bristol Motor Speedway with six victories at the .533-mile speedway.
This is his second victory and 14th top-10 finish in 2017.
Rookie Erik Jones (second) posted his first top-10 finish in two races at Bristol, and ninth in 2017.
Denny Hamlin has finished in the top-10 at Bristol 12 times in 24 starts.
Martin Truex Jr. leads Kyle Busch by 101 points over Kyle Busch.
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