Busch sweeps all three Bristol races
BRISTOL, Tenn. – As Kyle Busch crossed the finish line for a three-race sweep, his crew quickly credited the driver for his role in the record-setting moment.
“We are in the presence of greatness,” a team member said over the radio.
Indeed, they were.
Busch completed an unprecedented sweep of three national races in one week, completing the trifecta with a victory in the Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway. He hoisted a broom in Victory Lane, where he made his third visit in four days.
“I’ve been trying to do this since I got to NASCAR,” said Busch, who has tried for a three-race sweep five times in his career.
“I love Bristol and I love winning. And to do it for the first time ever in NASCAR, to sweep the weekend, man, that’s pretty awesome.”
Busch also won the Nationwide race Friday night, and the Trucks race Wednesday night to become the first driver to complete the sweep since NASCAR expanded to three national series in 1995.
“He’s pretty good,” Joe Gibbs Racing president J.D. Gibbs said. “To do all three of those back-to-back was a big deal.”
The Cup victory, his third of the season and third in the last four at Bristol, was drama-free after another round in his ongoing feud with Brad Keselowski.
Busch admitted to intentionally wrecking Keselowski late in the Nationwide race, and he celebrated that win by mockingly rubbing his eyes like a crying baby as the crowd showered him with boos. Keselowski vowed revenge over the public address system, to the delight of the Bristol crowd.
The barbs continued all the way up to the start of the Cup race. As Busch was booed in pre-race introductions, he sarcastically told the crowd, “Aw, you’re so loving.”
Keselowski was introduced moments later, taking the microphone and earning a thunderous cheer by saying, “I’m Brad Keselowski … Kyle Busch is (a jerk).”
There was almost no chance of an on-track altercation, though, as the two hardly raced near each other for most of the night.
Keselowski did make it hard for Busch to pass him late in the race, when Keselowski was fighting not to go a lap down, but Busch made a clean move around him in his No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota after several attempts.
“Great job,” his team radioed after the pass.
“I know,” Busch replied. “I have more class.”
Rogers reiterated that after Busch completed the victory.
“Some wiseguys got introduced behind him, and he raced like a champion and handled it with class all day,” Rogers said.
David Reutimann rallied from a bout with food poisoning to finish second in a Toyota for Michael Waltrip Racing, his first top-15 finish since winning at Chicago last month.
“I feel really, really good about the finish, but I’m not feeling so hot right now,” Reutimann said after the race. “I’m ready to go to sleep at some point. Maybe now.”
Jamie McMurray was third in a Chevrolet for Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing, a finish good enough to move him to 13th in the standings. He trails Clint Bowyer by 100 points for the 12th and final spot in the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship.
But McMurray said he’s not focused on making the Chase field. There’s two races to go in the “regular season.”
“I’m really fortunate this year that we were able to win those two big races because if we don’t make the Chase, it’s not going to be devastating,” said McMurray, winner of the Daytona 500 and the Brickyard 400.
Bowyer rallied from an early pit-road speeding penalty to finish fourth in a Chevrolet for Richard Childress Racing, and he moved a step closer to locking down the final spot in the Chase. Mark Martin, who started the night 35 points Bowyer in 13th place, finished 23rd and is now 14th in the standings, 101 points out.
“We’ve got two races to go, two good race tracks,” Bowyer said. “I love Atlanta, run well there, and I love Richmond, run well there. With any luck at all, we’ll be in this thing.”
Kasey Kahne was fifth in a Ford for Richard Petty Motorsports, and Ryan Newman was sixth in a Chevrolet for Stewart-Haas Racing.
Juan Pablo Montoya, McMurray’s teammate, finished seventh despite damage to his car from contact that wrecked four-time defending series champion Jimmie Johnson. The pole-sitter, Johnson finished 35th.
Greg Biffle was eighth in a Ford for Roush-Fenway Racing, Penske Racing’s Kurt Busch was the highest finishing Dodge, and RFR’s Matt Kenseth rounded out the top 10.
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