autoracing 3 days ago

Kyle Busch wins weather-delayed NASCAR race at Bristol

The Charlotte Observer — Brendan Marks The Charlotte Observer

April 16--BRISTOL, Tenn. -- bristol, tenn.

There were bouts of: snow; sleet; pouring rain; snow and rain; sleet and snow; rain and... well, you get the point. Mother Nature was not on good terms with NASCAR this weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway.

But ultimately, there was only ever going to be one winner this weekend, and it sure wasn't going to be the precipitation.

Kyle Busch won the Food City 500 in Bristol on Monday for his second consecutive win of the season.

Race breakdown

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Stage 1: Ryan Blaney led for 99 laps in the first stage, proving himself as one of the week's fastest cars, but he was caught up in a wreck entirely not of his doing and crashed out of the race. Brad Keselowski ended up nabbing his second stage win of the season.

Stage 2: After running 79 laps in Stage 2 on Sunday, NASCAR ultimately postponed the remainder of the race until Monday afternoon. Kyle Larson restarted in first place, but Keselowski bumped him from behind and passed Larson late in the stage for his second stage win this afternoon.

Stage 3: Larson and Kyle Busch dominated for the top two spots most of the afternoon, but with about five laps to go, Busch got on Larson's bumper and pushed him from behind. Busch then slid by Larson, who got loose up the track, and held on to win his second consecutive race.

Three who mattered

Kyle Busch: He battled for the lead with Larson, Keselowski, Bubba Wallace, and a handful of others at various points Monday, and although his car may not have been best, he was.

Kyle Larson: He opted not to pit coming off the initial restart Monday, which may have cost him the stage win but appeared to help in the long run. 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.

Brad Keselowski: Bristol has never been his best track, but with so many other drivers having already crashed out of the race, Keselowski was still able to win two stages (even if he did finish 23rd).

Observations

-- Cool gesture by two local school districts and NASCAR to cancel class Monday and allow students into the second half of Monday's race for free. Weather meant there weren't a ton who took them up on the offer, but still a nice thought.

-- Three red flags for rain ended the Sunday portion of the race, but Monday's near-300 laps went off almost without a hitch. Sleet and snow in the area again threatened to cut the action short, but there were no red flags Monday.

-- Partially due to the weather (and the fact that cars stayed on pit road overnight Sunday in the pouring rain), NASCAR permitted teams to have another set of tires, which were delivered with about 50 laps to go. That factored into some interesting strategy at the end of Monday's action.

They said it

"Hate I lost another one here." -- Larson, who has now finished in the Top 10 in three straight Bristol races.

Brendan Marks: , 704-358-5889@brendanrmarks

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