Redemption for Kyle Busch with Victory at Bristol
It is fair to say the Busch brothers have been dominating the 2009 NASCAR season. First it was Kyle in Vegas, then Kurt in Atlanta, and now Kyle again at Bristol Motor Speedway. Busch held off teammate, Denny Hamlin in a green-white checker finish capturing his second victory of the season.
The Food City 500 win will mark his second victory at Bristol, after a disappointing second place finish last summer after leading for 415 laps. This will be Busch’s 14th career win, and his third top three finish of ‘09.
Joe Gibbs Racing had the best day and went 1-2 with Busch in first and Hamlin in second. Fellow teammate and rookie, Joey Logano suffered a blown engine towards the tail end of the race on Lap 494.
Jimmie Johnson, who has never won at Bristol, led until Lap 69 when Busch used the outside line to pass Johnson for the top spot. Busch went on to lead for 378 laps total.
Celebration is becoming familiar for Kyle Busch and the No. 18 car after his two dominating performances both at Vegas and now Bristol. At Bristol, Victory Lane eluded him for the past few races.
Last spring he lost his power steering while leading and was later bumped from the front in August by Carl Edwards. Saturday night in the Nationwide Series race, he led a race-high of 157 laps only to watch his shot at victory slip away after an error by his crew on the final pit stop.
“We should have won here last fall and yesterday, we’ve had so many great cars here too, we just keep messing up on pit road. This place probably owes me a few. There’s a little bit of redemption here, you can never ask a racetrack to pay you back. You just have to keep working on it,” Busch told FOX’s Krista Voda.
Hamlin came close to victory, but no cigar.
“We came up a little short today, but it’s great to get a 1-2 finish for JGR. I can’t thank the team enough. On pit road we were solid all day, had a solid car all day, had a winning car on the long runs just never got it,” Hamlin told FOX’s Matt Yocum.
Roush Fenway Racing saw a disappointing race with only one car in the top 20. Carl Edwards finished 15th while teammate Greg Biffle also suffered a blown engine on Lap 360, ending his day.
Johnson finished in a career-best third after battling with Hamlin on the final laps for the second spot. Johnson and Busch combined have now won 15 of the last 33 Cup races and appear to be two of the most promising drivers for the Cup circuit this season.
Jeff Gordon finished in fourth, but still leads the point standings overall. Kasey Kahne had a strong car all day and finished in fifth after starting in fifth.
After Busch’s impressive performances at both Vegas and Bristol the main question is: can he continue this momentum for the Chase races? After his disappointing Chase finish last year, there is no doubt that Busch, Steve Addington and the No. 18 crew have learned a few things.
The Busch brothers combined have won the last three consecutive races and now their sights are set for Victory Lane at Martinsville Speedway as the field returns to action Sunday, March 29 in Martinsville, Virginia for the Goody’s Fast Relief 500.
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