Kyle Busch becomes the first driver to win 50 NASCAR Nationwide events
Kyle Busch held off his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate, Joey Logano, in the closing laps to take the checkered flag and drive his No. 18 Toyota into victory lane following the Food City 250 NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway on Friday night. Busch beat Logano’s No. 20 Toyota to the flag by 0.019 seconds to take the win. This is seventh-narrowest margin of victory in series history and the tightest ever for the series at Bristol.
“Joey ran us real clean there at the end,” No. 18 crew chief Jason Ratcliff said after the race.
(Logano) had a rocket ship there at the end.
Busch also made history two times over with the win. He became the first Nationwide driver ever to claim 50 wins and the first to win three-straight Nationwide Series races at Bristol.
“It’s awesome,” Busch said of reaching the 50-win mark.
The one-two finish for Busch and Logano was the 14th in the series for JGR and the third this year.
“I don’t know where he came from,” Busch said of his teammate. “He had a rocket ship there at the end.”
Clint Bowyer finished third in the No. 33 Kevin Harvick Inc. Chevrolet. Busch said after the race that he thought Bowyer would be the driver he’d have to battle for the win, not Logano.
Busch started on the pole and led the way until Bowyer took the top spot on lap 113. Bowyer stayed up front until Busch got back by him to retake the lead with 87 laps to go in the 250-lap race.
“We made some big adjustments on the first stop and went too far,” Ratcliff said in regards to the performance of the No. 18 car falling off slightly around the midway point of the race.
Logano became the first driver other than Busch or Bowyer to occupy the first position when he, Jason Leffler in the No. 30 Turner Motorsports Chevrolet, and Elliott Sadler in the No. 2 Kevin Harvick Inc. Chevrolet opted not to pit during a caution that came out when David Starr fell victim to a tire issue with 60 laps to go.
“I think it was the right call,” Logano said, commenting that his car was actually faster than the No. 18 once their tires equalized.
Leffler and Sadler both fell back through the field on their old tires, but Logano was able to hold the two previous leaders off for several laps. Busch did finally get by him for the lead with 44 laps to go and led the rest of the way. Although he got by Sadler and Leffler, Bowyer was never able to overtake Logano for the second spot.
Leffler held on to finish seventh, and Sadler finished right behind him in eighth.
Carl Edwards overcame a pit road speeding penalty that his No. 60 Roush Fenway Racing Ford was assessed during an early caution on lap 34 to finish fourth. Aric Almirola rounded out the top-five in the No. 88 JR Motorsports Chevrolet.
Michael Annett was sixth in the No. 62 Rusty Wallace Racing Toyota, Parker Kligerman finished ninth in a substitute role behind the wheel of the No. 22 Penske Racing Dodge, and Brian Scott finished 10th in the No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota.