Kyle Busch has won Bristol

Arnold Nichols
April 17, 2018

Kyle Busch was all smiles and Kyle Larson was all scowls.

It happened on turn three when Chris Buescher and Trevor Bayne, who were fighting to stay on the lead lap, got tangled up in front of Blaney.

The Cup Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway has begun amid a forecast that includes a heavy dose of rain.

Asked if Keselowski had moved up on his list of favorites, Busch laughed and said, “Thats pushing it too far.”. "But it certainly helped our cause. Let's just go with that".

It'll be a short week for the drivers before they get together again on Saturday night at Richmond Raceway. Last year's victor Jimmie Johnson will start at P17. "I'm not so sure that [Larson] had that there at the end", Busch said. Keselowski's tire issue, one in which the tire was coming apart, forced him to nurse his vehicle around the track prior to the spin. Polesitter Kyle Busch is fourth, followed by Ricky Stenhouse Jr., who overcome a pit road penalty and an earlier spin.

"I knew it would be hard to get back to him", said Larson, who finished 0.628 of a second behind Busch. The Busch and Keselowski teams were pitted next to each other all day. "I just didn't have any grip".

"It seemed like Kyle gave their guys room, and Brad and [crew chief] Paul [Wolfe] gave us room". However, the weather couldn't prevent Busch from collecting a seventh-career Bristol victory. So that gets frustrating after a while. Larson narrowly lost the second stage, and if not for a bump with five laps remaining, he may have won his first race of the season. He had raced out to a seven-second lead on Sunday before the race was stopped for rain. It didn't last long, though, as Busch passed Wallace a short time later before a brief yellow flag for rain.

"We weren't quite as good as the 42 (Larson) on that long run before that last caution came out", Busch said in victory lane. You can't have wrecks and you can't have blown tires. "But if you put us in yesterday's temperatures, I think we would have been up higher a lot sooner".

Larson said he's "feeling good about it" and expects the leaders to need to use the upper groove more Monday. He led the final restart with 23 laps to go, but was shoved out of the way by a faster Busch with six laps to go. Larson barely held off Stenhouse before being outdueled by Busch. I thought the grip was getting better, which it did a little bit, but not almost good enough.

"I knew it would be hard to get back to him (after he made contact)", said Larson. "I thought it would tighten up for me and I could get going, but it never really did and I was just really loose. Fortunately, I was able to get away and he wasn't able to get to me".

"I've said for weeks now that we're getting better and it's great to finally have a result to back that up", Johnson said.

"And Kyle had to do the rest behind the wheel".

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