[SPORTS] Kyle Busch rolls to Bristol victory, caps tripleheader sweep
BRISTOL, Tenn. – In a race fraught with tension, and with a pack of drivers with desperate agendas chasing him to the finish line, Kyle Busch held off Erik Jones to complete a sweep of all three NASCAR touring series with Saturday night’s keystone victory in the Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway.
In winning the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series main event at the .533-mile concrete track, Busch capped a long weekend that saw him win Wednesday’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series event and Friday’s NASCAR XFINITY Series race.
Having accomplished the same feat at Bristol in 2010, Busch was the only driver in NASCAR history to achieve the three-series sweep in the same week at the same track. Now he’s the only driver to have done it twice.
Dicing through traffic on the final 79-lap green-flag run, Busch crossed the finish line 1.422 seconds ahead of Jones, a Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender, who will join the race winner as a teammate at Joe Gibbs Racing next year.
“Man, Erik Jones put up a whale of a fight,” said Busch, who won for the second time this season, the sixth time at Bristol (most among active drivers) and the 40th time in his career. “That’s all I had. I was running with my tongue hanging out. My arms were Jello and my throat hurts, but man that’s awesome.
“Can’t say enough about everybody on my Joe Gibbs Racing team. Adam Stevens (crew chief) and the guys are phenomenal. Car might not have been perfect, but I’m never perfect. I never feel like we’re perfect, but this Caramel Camry was fast. So proud of these guys, so proud of my team, so proud of Joe Gibbs Racing. So proud of Rowdy Nation, this one’s for you.”
One bobble by Busch in the closing laps, however, and Jones could have usurped a playoff spot and made the lives of playoff hopefuls Matt Kenseth, Chase Elliott, Jamie McMurray and Clint Bowyer much more stressful.