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MENCS: Busch goes back-to-back with Bristol win

(MRN) Kyle Busch nudged race leader Kyle Larson off his line and then kept the Number-18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota in front over the final six laps to win Monday’s rain-delayed Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway. It’s now back-to-back Cup Series wins for Busch, who was also victorious nine days ago at Texas Motor Speedway. The race was scheduled to be run on Sunday, but rain halted the event before the first two stages were completed – forcing teams to return to the Tennessee half-mile yesterday. Larson started the day at the front of the field and for most of the afternoon, it looked as if that’s where he would end the day. He led a race-high two hundred laps and had the Number-42 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet in front for a twenty-one-lap stretch before Busch finally caught and passed him. The margin of victory over Larson was sixty-two one-hundredths of a second. Defending race winner Jimmie Johnson finished third in his bid for a second straight springtime victory in “Thunder Valley.” Ricky Stenhouse Junior briefly challenged Larson for the lead in the closing laps before placing fourth and Alex Bowman ran fifth. Darrell (Bubba) Wallace Junior was the highest-finishing rookie, in sixteenth place.

The race included eighteen lead changes, four more than last year.

There were thirteen cautions for 114 laps.

NASCAR CUP SERIES

Top 10 Finishers in the Food City 500

DRIVER STARTING POSITION LAPS LED

1. Kyle Busch (Pole) 117

2. Kyle Larson (6) 200

3. Jimmie Johnson (17) —

4. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (4) —

5. Alex Bowman (8) —

6. Aric Almirola (19) —

7. Kevin Harvick (39) —

8. Clint Bowyer (14) —

9. Joey Logano (10) 1

10. Ryan Newman (30) —

RACE NOTES …

Kyle Busch and Kyle Larson were the class of the field in the last stage of Monday’s race, combining to lead 188 of the final 250 laps … Busch and Kevin Harvick (who finished seventh on Monday) have won five of the year’s first eight Cup Series races and are virtually assured of grabbing two of the sixteen playoff berths. Other 2018 race winners are Austin Dillon, Martin Truex Junior and Clint Bowyer … Jimmie Johnson and Alex Bowman gave Hendrick Motorsports two cars in the top five yesterday with finishes of third and fifth, respectively.

NASCAR CUP SERIES Unofficial Point Standings After 8 Races

DRIVER POINTS BEHIND LEADER

1. Kyle Busch 365 —-

2. Joey Logano 306 -59

3. Kevin Harvick 290 -75

4. Clint Bowyer 286 -79

5. Brad Keselowski 271 -94

6. Ryan Blaney 267 -98

7. Martin Truex Jr. 257 -108

8. Denny Hamlin 252 -113

9. Kyle Larson 249 -116

10. Kurt Busch 241 -124

TRACK FACTS …

Brad Keselowski won the first two stages of this weekend’s Food City 500 before slipping to a twenty-third-place finish in the final running order. Keselowski shredded a tire late in the race that forced him off the pace. He was running at the finish, five laps down to race winner Kyle Busch, after leading four times for sixty-seven laps … This marks the second straight year that rain forced Bristol’s spring Cup Series race to a Monday.

About Jim Harris

Jim Harris has been WYSH's News & Sports Director since 2000. In addition to reporting local news, he is the play-by-play voice for Clinton High School football, boys' and girls' basketball and baseball. Catch Jim live weekdays beginning at 6:20 am for live local news, sports, weather and traffic plus the Community Bulletin Board, shenanigans with Ron Meredith and more on the Country Club Morning Show on WYSH & WQLA. Jim lives in Clinton with his wife Kelly and daughter Carolina, his mother-in-law and cats Lucius and Oliver.

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