Kyle Busch wasn't prepared to make the same excuse for the second day in a row. Busch felt like his pit crew cost him a win in the Nationwide Series race at Bristol on Saturday, but on Sunday he challenged his group to be better. They were and...
Kyle Busch wasn't prepared to make the same excuse for the second day in a row.
Busch felt like his pit crew cost him a win in the Nationwide Series race at Bristol on Saturday, but on Sunday he challenged his group to be better. They were and it put him in a position to win.
Busch came out of the pits in first place with 60 laps to go and held on to win the Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway. He said that his final pit stop set the table for the win.
"I told the guys - they knew about it," Busch said. "The second to last stop when we went from second to Denny, we went from second to third, I told the ladies to man up, get the job done on the last stop, which they did. I'm proud of them for doing that. When the time mattered most, they got the job done."
Busch's teammate Joey Logano blew his motor in the closing laps to send the race to a green-white-checkered finish and Busch held off his other teammate Denny Hamlin for the final two laps for his 14th career win and second at Bristol.
"It was a good day for us," said Busch of his second win of the season. "The Snickers Toyota was really fast. We knew it was fast. We knew it was going to be a good racecar coming here from our performance last fall. We fine tuned on it a little bit here and there."
Busch started 19th but moved into fifth place 42 laps into the race and took the lead from Jimmie Johnson for the first time on lap 70.
"Ultimately, it doesn't really matter where you start here," Busch said. "You have to bide your time, take it easy when you have a car that's good. It was a very satisfying day today. We had a great run there. We really enjoyed it."
Busch led 378 of 503 laps but after leading 415 laps here last August, the win was in doubt until the checkered flag came out.
"It was really nerve wracking," crew chief Steve Addington admitted. "The 11 car (Hamlin) and the 48 car (Johnson) - they had really good racecars. I knew it was going to come down to it. We got behind on that one pit stop there (and it) made me a little nervous because if you're out front, you can get going. It takes a lot to pass somebody."
Hamlin started 24th but moved into the top-10 within the first 75 laps. He led three times for seven laps and picked up his fourth top-10 finish in seven starts at Bristol.
"When we had that caution about 50 or 60 to go, I knew it was going to be tough, unless we got out on pit road first to have anything for those guys," Hamlin said. "His car just takes off so well. Luckily we were able to stay within a couple car lengths of him pretty much for the entire end. So we're just fortunate to be able to battle our teammate and get a 1-2 finish."
Jimmie Johnson led 88 laps and got to the outside of Hamlin on the final lap but couldn't complete the pass. He finished third.
"I think in general we needed a weekend like this here," said Johnson, who jumped up to 13th in the standings with his third top-10 finish of the season. "It started two weeks ago when we went to work on the setup for this race. We created a plan, stuck to it. Off the truck, the car was quick - we were right on par with everybody. (We) had confidence going into qualifying. The weekend just kept building."
Jeff Gordon finished fourth and leads Kurt Busch by 76 points in the championship standings.
Kasey Kahne rounded out the top five while pole-sitter Mark Martin paced the first two laps and finished sixth.