August 19, 2018 / 2:29 AM / 3 months ago

Kurt Busch captures first win of season at Bristol

Kurt Busch took the lead on a restart with 23 laps to go, held off pole-sitter Kyle Larson over the final 13 laps and drove to his first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series win of the season on Saturday night at the Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race at the Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tenn.

The win ended a 58-race winless streak for the Stewart-Haas Racing driver and gave him his sixth victory at the high-banked BMS short track.

“It was awesome,” Busch said. “To be in this position when you race at a short track on a Saturday night, it brings back a lot of memories of a kid growing up and racing with your dad and family.”

Chip Ganassi Racing’s Larson finished second, 0.3 seconds behind.

Chase Elliott of Hendrick Motorsports was third.

Rounding out the top five were Joey Logano of Team Penske and Erik Jones of Joe Gibbs Racing.

Ryan Blaney captured Stage 1. Logano won the second stage.

Nothing went smoothly for Cup’s “Big Three” of Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jr.

Points leader and six-time 2018 winner Kyle Busch damaged his car in hopes for an eighth overall win at Bristol and a third-straight win on the BMS high banks when he got caught up in a wreck on the second lap. His Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota was badly damage but fixable. By the time he returned to the track, he was two laps down.

Also caught up in the Lap 2 12-car wreck was defending series champion and four-race winner on the season, Truex.

Both Kyle Busch and Truex stayed in the race after their crews made repairs, and each worked their way into top five late. But with 69 laps to go, Truex was tapped from behind by Kyle Busch while they were running second and third, respectively. Truex slammed the wall, and his shot for a first career short-track win was over.

Harvick, who led eight laps, had to pit for tires while running second midway through Stage 2. That put the eight-race winner in 2018 a lap down.

Only two races — at Darlington Raceway and Indianapolis Motor Speedway — remain before the 10-race Playoff starts in Las Vegas.

—Field Level Media

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