Kyle Busch concedes Briscoe-Reddick on the final lap to give Bristol Dirt the win
BRISTOL, Tenn. — Kyle Busch has a particular fondness for Bristol Motor Speedway, but the driver of the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota needed a stroke of luck Sunday night to rekindle his love affair with the half-mile track.
Busch won the Food City Dirt Race from a distant third place after second-place Chase Briscoe’s Ford slid up the elevated dirt track at the final turn into leader Tyler Reddick’s Chevrolet, spinning both cars sideways.
Reddick righted his Camaro and headed for the finish line, but Busch’s turn 4 momentum carried his #18 Camry past the flag stand 0.330 seconds ahead of Reddick, who was denied his first NASCAR Cup Series win.
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Busch, on the other hand, scored his 60th career win, the ninth-highest of all time and the most among active drivers. With his first win of the season, he equaled Richard Petty’s series-record streak of 18 years with at least one trip to victory lane.
An eight-time winner on Bristol’s traditional concrete surface – again the most among active drivers – Busch won the NASCAR Cup Series’ second dirt race since 1970 and the first with the new next-generation race car.
“Yes, we have one,” Busch said with a wry smile. “No matter how you get them. It’s all about getting them. Can’t say enough. I mean, man, I feel like Dale Earnhardt Sr. right now (when the crowd booed his unexpected win). This is fantastic. I haven’t done anything.”
After the second of two rain delays, Busch started second again on lap 227 but fell back when Briscoe passed him on lap 232 of 250 and began chasing Reddick for the lead.
“I don’t know why, we couldn’t shoot both times after it rained,” Busch said. “It just wouldn’t ignite. It took about 20 laps to get going.
“Overall, I’m really excited to be back. Real pumped to get a win. This means a lot. I can win on any surface here in Bristol. Come on baby.”
An angry Briscoe took full responsibility for the accident that gave Busch the win.
“I drove Tyler down and tried to throw a slider and I wasn’t expecting him to run into me and I broke free,” Briscoe said. “I turned either way. i feel terrible I didn’t want to break it. That was 100 percent my fault. I hate it for Tyler. He’s a good friend of mine.”
Reddick accepted disappointment with consummate grace.
“I don’t think I did everything right, to be honest,” Reddick said. “Briscoe was able to lead me back downstairs. Just looking at it, I should have done it a little bit better, just…I don’t know. I shouldn’t have let him get that close. He shut me down again. You worked really hard for this.
“I mean, you’re driving on dirt and you’re trying to move around the last corner. That’s all you hope to fight for as a driver in your situation. That made it really exciting for the fans, so… It sucks, but we still managed to finish second. I’m honest. I should have done better and moved away so he wasn’t in range to make that move. That’s how I see it.”
MORE: Briscoe, Reddick collide, come up short
Reddick took control of the race after a restart on lap 151 to start the final stage. With a wild run through Turns 1 and 2, he shot between the cars of Busch above and Joey Logano below to take the lead for the first time.
He held the top spot for the next 99 laps, through five cautions and the second rain delay. The final lap was the only one Busch led.
Briscoe was credited with a 22nd place after entering the final corners in second.
Logano finished third, 4.004 seconds down on the race winner. Kyle Larson was fourth followed by Ryan Blaney, Alex Bowman, Christopher Bell, Chase Elliott, Michael McDowell and Ty Dillon.
Briscoe led the first 48 laps but his #14 Ford spun early with a flat tire, resulting in a warning flag on lap 49. He rallied to take the lead on lap 140 and retained the win on Stage 2 with 150 laps completed. Larson won Stage 1.
The next NASCAR Cup Series race is scheduled for next Sunday (3pm ET, FOX, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) at Talladega Superspeedway.
Note: The Cup Series garage inspection is completed with no issues, confirming Kyle Busch as the race winner.
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