Kurt Busch Wins NASCAR Cup Race At Bristol

Ganassi's Larson Finishes Second; Clinches Playoff Spot

Scott Stiller
August 19, 2018 - 11:07 am
Kurt Busch's No. 41 Monster Energy Ford Fusion

Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

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Kurt Busch is headed for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series playoffs after winning Saturday night’s Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Busch took the lead on a late-race restart on lap 478 of the 500-lap event when his Stewart-Haas Racing teammate Clint Bowyer chose the outside lane.  Busch beat Bowyer into the first corner and was able to hold it off the corner down the back stretch to take the lead.

“I’ll tell you, this track brings out the best in everybody,” said Busch, the 2004 Series Champion.  “Just to come here, to feel that Saturday night atmosphere, racing under the lights, it brings you back to the roots”.

Busch had to work his magic one more time on a lap 488 restart with Chip Ganassi Racing’s Kyle Larson beside him with 30-lap fresher tires.  Busch was able to get another good start and beat Larson to the finish line by .367-seconds.

“The race was incredible,” said Busch.  “Every time I looked in the mirror, somebody different.  Restarts, I look in the windshield, somebody different.  Tons of fast cars tonight".

The win was Busch’s sixth at Bristol and 30th of his career.  Kurt and Kyle Busch are the first pair of brothers to reach 30-victories each at NASCAR’s top level.

Larson, who started from the pole, was relieved to finish second with a car that was not to his liking.

“That’s probably 12 to 15 spots I feel like better than where I deserved to finish,” said Larson. “I got lucky all night lining up in the right lanes.  I could gain three or four spots every restart.  Probably the most frustrating Bristol race I’ve ever had just because I never really felt like I had a shot to win”.

The second-place finish did guarantee Larson a spot in NASCAR’s playoffs.  Ryan Blaney and Brad Keselowski also mathematically clinched Playoff spots.

Hendrick Motorsports Chase Elliott finished third followed by Team Penske’s Joey Logano.  Joe Gibbs Racing's Erik Jones rounded out the top 5.

The race featured 19-lead changes among 9-drivers along with 9-caution flags for 70-laps.

The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series is off next weekend and return to the track for “Throwback Weekend” September 2nd at Darlington Raceway.

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