Kyle Busch had the finishes lately, he just hasn’t had the speed in his No. 18 Toyota to seriously contend to race wins. That all changed on Sunday afternoon at the Bristol (Tenn) Motor Speedway. Busch’s crew chief Adam Stevens said via a zoom call on Friday that the .526-mile Tennessee oval could be the very spot that they get their “mojo” back.
I’d say despite not winning, they did.
Busch, led 100 of the 500 laps en route to his third top four finish in his last five NASCAR Cup Series races this season. What made this finish different than those? He had a fast race car capable of winning. The Joe Gibbs Racing driver led 14 laps in the season opening Daytona 500. Coming into Sunday’s Food City 500, he had yet to lead a lap since.
While he finished second in Fontana, third in phoenix, second in Darlington 2 and fourth in last Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600, Busch said those were kind of flukish. They didn’t have a top five car in those races but still managed to finish there.
Sunday, they had a top five car and finished there. That’s why this could be the moment that the defending series champion starts his terror.
Busch, finished 17th in the first stage but that’s only because he was speeding on pit road on Lap 63. He moved up to fifth in Stage 2 and stayed out after for track position to restart up front. He took the lead on Lap 278 for the first time since February and would lead all 100 laps over the final half of the race.
In the end, he just didn’t have enough to battle Chase Elliott and Joey Logano for the win and Brad Keselowski was the next one up following their late race run in.