Kyle Busch won the Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway in Tennessee on Monday — a day after he began the race on the pole — but he had to work hard to get his second win in a row.
First, like all the other drivers, he had to run 204 laps Sunday before the remainder of the race was postponed by rain until Monday at 1 p.m. ET with NASCAR hoping it could get in all 500 scheduled laps.
But the big work came with six laps to go Monday, when he gave leader Kyle Larson a Bristol Bump, knocked him loose, and rolled past the 42 into the lead — and ultimately onto Victory Lane.
“Checkers, yeah,” he shouted into his radio as he crossed the finish line at Bristol first only eight days after he’d done the same at Texas Motor Speedway.
Larson, Jimmie Johnson, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Alex Bowman rounded out the top five.
Busch started on the pole Sunday and jumped out to a six car-length lead on the first lap, but there was a long way to go and multiple rain delays to deal with.
While Busch stayed among the leaders both days, he wasn’t always in the most dominant car. Ryan Blaney was that driver for most of the first stage.
Blaney took the lead from Busch on Lap 16 and stayed out front for more than 100 laps until he got caught up in a wreck in front of him on Lap 119.
That opened the door for Brad Keselowski to win Stage 1 at Lap 125, and then after the race resumed Monday with 46 laps remaining in Stage 2, Keselowski was again the driver across the line first when he used the bump and run on Larson late and held on to win the stage.
Larson’s tires were older than most drivers immediately behind him, and in the last 10 laps of the stage, his car just appeared to not have enough grip left.
But Keselowski wouldn’t be around at the finish after a breaking a suspension piece and causing the final caution of the day with 32 laps to go. He ultimately finished 23rd.
Denny Hamlin took the lead on Lap 262 but fell out on Lap 264 with a loose wheel. He fell two laps back and never got back into contention. Johnson took the lead until getting passed by Keselowski on Lap 266.
The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series is back in action Saturday night at 6:30 p.m. ET at Richmond Raceway.
–K. Lee Davis, Field Level Media