Bristol Motor Speedway was no match for Kyle Busch this past week as the Joe Gibbs Racing driver collected three wins in a four-day stretch including Saturday’s Monster Energy Series race. After winning Wednesday in the Camping World Truck Series, Busch returned to “Thunder Valley” to claim victory in Friday night’s X-finity Series race. Then on Saturday, he got the best of rookie Erik Jones as well as the half-mile Tennessee oval, keeping the Number-18 Toyota in front over the final fifty-six laps and beating Jones to the checkered flag by nearly a second-and-a-half. It’s the second time in eight years that Busch has won all three races across NASCAR’s three national series in the same week at the same track. He first accomplished the feat in 2010, also at Bristol. Jones did his best to deny Busch his “Tennessee Trifecta” on Saturday night, starting from the pole and leading a race-high 260 laps. They exchanged the lead three times during the final stage before Busch asserted himself down the stretch. After laboring through much of the regular season without a Cup Series victory, the 2015 champion now seems to be building momentum for another title run. Busch has two wins in his last four starts and has climbed to second in the point standings … Denny Hamlin finished third on Saturday and Matt Kenseth was fourth, giving Toyota a sweep of the top four spots. Kurt Busch completed the top five in his Stewart-Haas Racing Ford … With just two races left in the regular season, Jamie McMurray leads Clint Bowyer by fifty-eight points in the fight for the final playoff spot … Paul Menard finished sixteenth on Saturday night, just two days before his 37th birthday.
“Mother Nature” was the only one able to slow Kyle Busch down Wednesday night at Bristol Motor Speedway as he stormed to his forty-ninth career Truck Series win. The start of the race was delayed two hours by rain but once the green flag flew, Busch did too. He started from the pole, led throughout the first stage, won Stage-2 and closed the night by leading the final thirty-seven laps. Busch’s ride was not completely without a challenge. He was tagged with a speeding penalty on pit road at the end of the second stage and restarted at the rear of the field. It took him less than fifty laps to track down race leader Matt Crafton and when he did, Busch drove off to his third win of the season in seven starts. Crafton started sixth and led twice for ninety laps en route to his runner-up finish. John Hunter Nemechek came home in third place with rookie Grant Enfinger and Ben Rhodes completing the top five. This is Busch’s fifth Truck Series victory in “Thunder Valley,” easily topping the track’s win list … Wednesday’s race produced just six lead changes among four drivers: Busch, Crafton, Rhodes and Austin Cindric. There were five cautions for thirty-one laps … With just two races remaining in the regular season, there are three drivers battling for the final two playoff spots. Rhodes comes out of Bristol with a seventeen-point lead over Ryan Truex, who carries a nine-point edge over Enfinger in the fight for what would be the final post-season berth.
Ever wonder what a Monster Energy Cup driver does on the plane ride home? He catches a bug to “protect” his wife! Watch below:
In Loudon, New Hampshire, the NASCAR X-finity Series was able to do the one thing that they haven’t been able to accomplish since June twenty-fourth at Iowa Speedway, finish a race on the day it was scheduled … Kyle Busch won the Overton’s 200 Saturday afternoon from the pole, in a race that featured a rain delay of over an hour that never threatened to extend their streak of postponed races … The story of the race was the side by side racing action attributed to the traction compound applied to the track, that saw thirteen lead changes compared only three in the same race last year … Cup Series regulars Kyle Larson and Brad Keselowski were the Stage One and Stage Two winners respectively … Ryan Preece appearing in his first X-finity race in the Number-20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota finished second … The Kensington, Connecticut native who raced in the X-finity Series for JD Motorsports last year impressed, he is scheduled to drive the 20 one more time this year … Rounding out the top five finishers were William Byron, Larson, and Keselowski … There were three cautions for fifteen laps and the thirteen lead changes were shared by seven drivers: Busch, Keselowski, Justin Allgaier, series points leader Elliott Sadler, Larson, Preece, and Matt Tifft.
Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series regular Kyle Busch won the Alsco 300 NASCAR X-finity Series race for the second consecutive year from the pole position … Busch and his Number 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota elected to stay on the track when what would become the final caution flag came out on lap one-hundred sixty eight, to take the lead and then he never looked back … Busch would lead the final thirty-three laps to go back-to-back in the event at Kentucky Speedway that was delayed by sixteen hours due to severe and persistent thunderstorms Friday night … The top six was filled with Cup series regulars pulling double duty on Saturday due to the weather postponement … Busch, Ryan Blaney, Erik Jones, Kevin Harvick, Ty Dillon, and Joey Logano were your top six finishers … The top X-finity Series regular was Junior Motorsports rookie driver William Byron fresh from his back-to-back series wins the past two weeks finishing in the seventh spot … Jones and Blaney were your stage winners … There were seven lead changes among four drivers: Busch, Jones, Logano, and Blaney … No X-finity regular lead a single lap in the race … There were eight cautions for forty-four laps.
For the second time this month, Joe Gibbs Racing’s Kyle Busch has lost his crew chief due to a NASCAR suspension. Adam Stevens still has one race left to serve on his four-race ban. And now, interim crew chief Ben Beshore gets a weekend off after improperly installed lug nuts were found on Busch’s Number-18 Toyota during post-race inspection last weekend at Sonoma Raceway. Beshore also was fined twenty thousand dollars. Busch finished fifth in the Toyota/Save Mart 350.
With Kevin Harvick’s win Sunday in Sonoma, California, the list of Monster Energy Series winners this season now stands at eleven. But remember … Joey Logano’s victory at Richmond International Raceway does not qualify him for the playoffs due to post-event penalties. If there are seven new names in Victory Lane over the final ten regular-season races (or six if Logano wins again with no penalties), then there’ll be one driver with a victory to his credit that will not get a spot in the 2017 playoffs – which will include only the top sixteen eligible drivers based primarily on race wins. The list of notable drivers still looking for their first Cup Series win of 2017 includes Kyle Busch, Dale Earnhardt Junior, Denny Hamlin, Chase Elliott and Matt Kenseth. Of those five drivers, all are former winners at Daytona International Speedway – site of Saturday night’s Coke Zero 400 Powered by Coca-Cola – except Elliott, who’s won two Cup Series poles at “The World Center of Racing” but is still looking for his first race win there. He was victorious in the X-finity Series in 2016 … If the NASCAR playoffs began today, Logano would qualify based on points despite his problems at Richmond. He’s tenth in the regular-season standings, seven points ahead of Clint Bowyer – who leads Kenseth by just four points in the fight for what would be the final playoff spot.
Check out this cute video!
Kyle Busch took advantage of Ben Rhodes’ misfortune to claim victory on Friday night at Kansas Speedway. Rhodes was leading the race less than ten laps from the finish when a piece of debris cut through the grille of his ThorSport Racing Toyota and penetrated the radiator, which resulted in an overheating engine and a twenty-third-place finish. Busch pounced on the opportunity, leading the final eight laps to record his forty-seventh career victory. It’s not like he didn’t have a fast truck. From the Number-10 starting position, Busch would lead a race-high ninety-one laps and beat runner-up Johnny Sauter to the checkered flag by two-and-a-half seconds. John Hunter Nemechek ran third with pole sitter Christopher Bell and rookie Chase Briscoe completing the top five … The race included fifteen lead changes among just four drivers: Busch, Bell, Rhodes and Grant Enfinger … There were eleven cautions for forty-six laps.
The next stop for NASCAR is Bristol for Sunday’s Food City 500, eighth round of the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series… Sunday’s winner will have to get directions to find victory lane, Bristol Motor Speedway is moving it to the track’s frontstretch from its traditional roof-top location between turns three and four. The idea is to bring the celebration closer to the fans attending the race in a move similar to those earlier this year at Atlanta Motor Speedway and Martinsville… The Busch brothers, Kyle and Kurt have an added incentive to win on Sunday. Kyle and Kurt Busch each have five wins at “The Last Great Colosseum.” A win by either would break the family tie for “Best Busch Brother at Bristol” and move them into the top of the list of most wins at Bristol Motor Speedway by active drivers in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series… Kyle Larson holds the points lead headed into the weekend on the strength of one win and five second place finishes in the first seven races of the year. Larson is in good company since the only other drivers with five or more second place finishes within the first seven races of a season are: Kevin Harvick (six in 2015), Dale Earnhardt (five in 1987), Bobby Allison twice (five in 1972 and 1979), and Cale Yarborough (five in 1974).