Some thought it could never be done, and until this weekend, it had not, but the Bristol night race weekend of 2010 belongs to Kyle Busch. Running roughshod over the Trucks on Wednesday, and turning Brad Keselowski Friday night in the Nationwide race to win, all eyes were on Kyle Busch Saturday night. Never has any driver ever won three NASCAR national touring series races on the same weekend, but now Kyle Busch has done that.
David Reutimann was hard charging all night, came home second, followed by Jamie McMurray, Clint Bowyer and Kasey Kahne fifth. Ryan Newman would finish sixth, with Juan Pablo Montoya, Greg Biffle, Kurt Busch and Matt Kenseth rounding out the top ten.
It was a hot and humid night in the Thunder Valley of east Tennessee as the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams prepared for battle at the Mecca of stock car racing, Bristol Motor Speedway. With heavy cloud cover and afternoon rains, the skies cleared ever so slightly allowing for great track conditions.
As usual BMS had readied a spectacular lead up and introduction to the race, including an elaborate driver intro program. As the drivers entered from the tunnel next to turn three, they stopped to introduced themselves and great the fans. Cheers and jeers followed depending on which driver had the right fans present. As the program continued all attention turned to Brad Keselowski, who, in addition to his run ins with Carl Edwards this season, was involved in an incident with Kyle Busch Friday night in the NASCAR Nationwide Series race. Feeding the anticipation, Keselowski introduced himself and then loudly informed the crown that “Kyle Busch is an ASS.” Several drivers commented on the rivalry including Jamie McMurray who said he wanted to be in front of the two drivers, and Tony Stewart who wanted to be behind them and watch the action.
Jimmie Johnson took the green flag and led the first lap, Tony Stewart moved from fourth to second. Rest of the top five were Carl Edwards, Ryan Newman and David Reutimann. By lap forty Juan Pablo Montoya had managed to get past David Reutimann, while the top four remained the same.
The first caution came out on lap 56 when David Gilliland had a tire go down at put the #38 in the outside wall. By lap 58 the six traditional start & park cars #‘s 55, 66, 09, 64, 07 and 13 were in the garage. Following the restart, Tony Stewart got past Johnson to lead lap 62, but Johnson came right back on the next lap to retake the lead.
By lap 68, Kyle Busch advanced from 18th to 10th. On lap 125 the lap cars of David Ragan, AJ Kyle Busch, Edwards, Reutimann and Truex. Stewart lost a lot of time on pit road for repairs and by lap 155 he was back in 25th place. Meanwhile the top five were #48, 18, 00, 99 and 39. Kyle Busch put the #18 car out front, passing Johnson for the lead on lap 172.
On a lap 200 restart, Kyle Busch went high and David Reutimann went low to put Johnson back to third. Fifteen lap later Johnson got past Reutimann to take second place. On lap 153, Bobby Labonte, who had returned to the track more than 100 laps down, cut down a right front tire and making contact with the wall. That incident brought out the 5th caution of the night. On the restart, on lap 260, Johnson, was turned on the Backstretch by Montoya, sending the #48 car into the outside wall suffering heavy damage. Carl Edwards lost 22 positions on the restart after having to return to pit road for loose lug nuts following the initial pit stop.
Kyle Busch was maintaining the lead, when Jamie McMurray finally got past him on lap 388, bringing the crowd to their feet. The lead for McMurray was short lived as ten laps later, green flag pit stops began. On lap 399, as McMurray slowed to enter pit road, Busch charged around him and took the lead onto pit road. Returning to the track it was Busch out front, however David Reutimann, who had pitted earlier was in the lead. It took Busch 40 laps to finally catch and get by Reutimann to retake the lead.
Kyle would hold that lead for the remained of the race while Reutimann continued to fight hard chasing the #18 car. In the end Busch would lead the most laps, 282, and win the Irwin Tools Night race before a crowd of 155,000 fans. “This was really cool” said Busch following the win, “To put this all together for this weekend and win all three is cool.” When asked about Brad Keselowski’s pre race comments, Kyle simply stated, “Who?” The #18 crew chief, Dave Rogers in a post race interview said, “The car was really slow off the truck, and it was thanks to the great notes from Kyle that we were able top adjust the car to get it in a position to win.”
David Reutimann, who had a bought with stomach flu earlier in the weekend was obviously not fully recovered as was evident in his post race interview. Jamie McMurray moved up two spots in the points to 13th, 100 points behind Clint Bowyer. When asked about his concern for that, he replied, “I’ll let Bono (crew chief ‘Bono’ Manion) worry about it. He certainly is worried about it, and I — remember the stress that goes along with that, and I’m really fortunate this year that we were able to win those two big races because if we don’t make the chase, it’s not going to be devastating.”
A final summation of the weekend here is that “Racin the way it ought a be” is finally back at Bristol Motor Speedway.
|13||27||88||Dale Earnhardt Jr.||Chevrolet||124||0||500|
|17||9||56||Martin Truex Jr.||Toyota||112||0||500|
|25||25||77||Sam Hornish Jr.||Dodge||88||0||497|
|36||40||7||Kevin Conway *||Toyota||55||0||212|