BRISTOL, Tenn. (AP) | Kyle Busch can’t be beat at Bristol Motor Speedway.
Busch beat Carl Edwards and Jimmie Johnson off pit road after the final stops Sunday, then held them off over the closing 60 laps to win the Sprint Cup Series race at the Tennessee bullring. It gave Busch a sweep of the weekend [-] he also won the second-tier Nationwide Series race on Saturday [-] and his fifth consecutive victory at Bristol dating back to a three-race sweep in August.
He’s now won five Cup races at Bristol, which ties him with older-brother Kurt in NASCAR’s top series, and has 11 victories spanning the three national series.
Busch, who drives a Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing, dedicated the win to the manufacturer and its employees in Japan still trying to recover from the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.
Edwards settled for second and lamented not pushing Busch harder after the final restart with 37 laps remaining. Busch, Edwards and Johnson pulled away from the field, and Edwards had several opportunities to move Busch’s No. 18 Toyota out of the way.
But Edwards, in a Ford for Roush Fenway Racing, figured he’d have plenty of chances closer to the finish, so he tried for a clean pass as he and Busch raced side by side for several laps. Busch eventually pulled away, and Edwards never had another shot.
“I thought we’d be better matched with him, but he took off, and I just couldn’t get back to him to race,” Edwards said. “My gut told me there was going to be another caution. If I had known that was the only shot I had, I might have raced a little harder.”
There were no tire issues despite heavy concern when Goodyear’s product struggled through Friday’s full day of on-track action. The supplier called for almost 1,300 new right-side tires to be shipped into Bristol from North Carolina overnight, and they were distributed to teams before Saturday’s final two practice sessions.
But teams were only given one set of the new tires to use on Saturday, and everyone was scrambling to adapt to the effect the new tires had on their car.
NASCAR called a competition caution at lap 50 on Sunday to check the new tires. With no noticeable issues, the ace continued with little discussion of the entire flap.
1. (12) Kyle Busch, Toyota, 500 laps, 132.6 rating, 47 points.
2. (1) Carl Edwards, Ford, 500, 120.1, 43.
3. (6) Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet, 500, 135.6, 43.
4. (11) Matt Kenseth, Ford, 500, 95.2, 40.