- The Washington Times - Monday, March 23, 2009

BRISTOL, Tenn. | Kyle Busch has dominated Bristol Motor Speedway before, only to be denied a trip to Victory Lane.

Not this time.

Busch led 378 of 502 laps Sunday to win the Food City 500 - his second victory of the season. It was redemption for Busch, who lost his power steering while leading last spring and was bumped from the front in August by Carl Edwards after leading 415 laps.

He was well on his way to victory in the Nationwide Series race Saturday, leading a race-high 157 laps before his crew let a tire slip away on the final pit stop. The ensuing penalty knocked him out of contention, and he finished sixth.

“We should have won here last fall; we should have won here yesterday,” Busch said. “This place probably owes me a few, but you can never ask a race track to pay you back. You just have to just keep working on it.”

Busch has won a race in one of NASCAR’s top three series every weekend this season. It started with a victory in the nonpoints qualifying race at Daytona and followed with wins in the Truck and Nationwide Series at California, the Cup race at Las Vegas and the Nationwide race at Atlanta.

He was untouchable in his Toyota in Sunday’s Cup race - even for teammate Denny Hamlin, who followed him across the finish line.

“Man, it’s great to get a 1-2 [finish],” Hamlin said of the Joe Gibbs Racing dominance.

Hamlin has had his own heartbreak at Bristol; he led 98 laps last spring and was headed to the win when a fuel pickup problem cost him the victory. He finished third, again behind Busch, in August.

Defending three-time series champion Jimmie Johnson was third to tie his career-best Bristol finish from 2004. Johnson had devoted a good deal of time to figuring out why he has struggled at Bristol, and the homework with crew chief Chad Knaus clearly paid off.

“What a day for us. I wish we had 500 more laps to go,” he said. “I have to thank Chad and the engineering staff for sitting me down a couple weeks ago to look at this race track and what I need here. I made my wish list, and they gave me what I needed.”

Jeff Gordon, his teammate at Hendrick Motorsports, was fourth. Kasey Kahne was fifth in a Dodge and followed by polesitter Mark Martin, Ryan Newman, defending race winner Jeff Burton and Juan Pablo Montoya.

Marcos Ambrose, in the spotlight after his gas man chased a tire across pit road two weeks ago at Atlanta, finished 10th.

A Busch brother has won the past three races. Kyle Busch won at Las Vegas earlier this month, and Kurt followed it with a win at Atlanta. Kurt Busch, a five-time Bristol winner, finished 11th on Sunday.

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