By Bob Pockras
FOX Sports NASCAR Writer
BRISTOL, Tenn. — Kyle Busch seems to be winning at Bristol Motor Speedway in cars he doesn’t like.
Back at the start of what was called the “Car of Tomorrow” in 2007, he won, then got out of the car and wrecked it.
A week ago, he said NASCAR Race Cup cars on dirt were setting the sport back – but as he showed Sunday night at the Food City Dirt Race, he can still win in the middle of frustration.
Busch was running third on Sunday’s final lap of the Bristol dirt race when Chase Briscoe tried to pass Tyler Reddick for the win and collected Reddick, allowing Busch through for the win. Reddick, who led 99 laps, finished second. Briscoe, who led 59 laps, finished 22nd.
“Real pumped for a win,” Busch said. “This one means a lot. I can win on any surface here in Bristol. Go for it.”
Reddick and Briscoe crash into final corner, Kyle Busch wins
After Tyler Reddick and Chase Briscoe crash out on the final corner, Kyle Busch comes from nowhere to win at Bristol.
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Here are three takeaways from a long night – there were two red flags due to rain – in Bristol dirt.
Busch wins for the 18th consecutive year
Busch tied a NASCAR record held by Richard Petty with at least one win in 18 straight seasons.
Busch thought it was only the third time in nine races this year that he really had a chance of winning late in the race.
“I don’t think winning here tonight really says anything about our season,” he said. “We’ve all had voice meetings this year with struggles and things like that.”
The win didn’t just propel Busch into the Cup playoffs. It could also be crucial, as Joe Gibbs Racing is looking for a sponsor for Busch for next season. Although he is unlikely to leave, it cannot be ruled out until a sponsor is signed for Busch.
“We have a few people we talk to, so we’re excited about that, excited about the leads,” said team vice president Coy Gibbs, son of Joe Gibbs. “I think every time you win it helps.”
Reddick-Briscoe cordial after disappointment
As he drove up pit road to apologize to Reddick after the race, Briscoe acknowledged: “If he hits me, he hits me. I get it.”
No punches were thrown.
Chase Briscoe sorry for costing Tyler Reddick the win
Chase Briscoe wanted to speak with Tyler Reddick after the Food City Dirt Race and said, “If he hits me, he hits me. I get it.”
“It’s definitely a tough way to lose a race,” said Reddick, who thought he played too conservative at the end. “There are a number of things I could do better. … Something I’ve done a lot in my racing career is just pushing too hard at the wrong opportunity and giving the race away.
“Just a bit too careful on the last lap.”
Briscoe said he was going for the win but couldn’t complete what looked like a pretty risky move with little chance of working.
“I wanted to run him flawlessly,” Briscoe said. “I wasn’t going to destroy him for the win. That’s why I tried to drag him, and I was trying to leave him enough if I couldn’t and it was my fault, 100 %.
“I hate it for Tyler. He’s a good friend of mine, and I wanted to see some bad guy win if it wasn’t me. … I tried to throw a slider, and it was the wrong one movement.”
Weird part of scoring is confusing
As this was only the second Cup race on dirt, NASCAR had its challenges. He had to issue a competition warning 15 laps into the race because the cars were picking up too much mud and risked overheating.
Those issues went away, but the teams found themselves in a state of confusion when it started raining at the end of stage two. Typically, caution laps are counted at stage breaks, but the dirt race rules were different and they didn’t count. The reason: Because teams couldn’t lose pit road spots – NASCAR didn’t think it was safe to go from the dirt surface to the concrete road in a racing environment – NASCAR didn’t not allowed teams to bring their regular pit crews and gave them just six minutes to work on the cars during stage breaks.
Those who stopped during breaks couldn’t lose places to others on pit road, but those who stayed away and didn’t restart ahead of those who did. Kyle Busch sat out at the end of the second leg, and when rain forced NASCAR to stop the race, he thought he would be the winner if the race couldn’t continue.
During the red flag, NASCAR said it would not become the leader until the race returned to green and the laps started counting again – and if the race was not resumed, Briscoe, who was stopped from first place, would be the winner. .
Kyle Busch on if the race at Bristol hasn’t resumed
Kyle Busch believes that if the Bristol race hadn’t been restarted, he should have been declared the leader and winner of the Food City Dirt Race.
Busch hung out at the NASCAR transporter until the rain stopped and then started again, and a huge controversy never happened.
“I thought we were the leader,” Busch said. “I don’t know how we wouldn’t have been the leader. They opened pit road. People stopped. Other people stayed out. It’s a strategic call. It prepares everyone for the end of his race, isn’t it?
“I don’t know how you could not say we weren’t the leader. There were eight others who stayed with us. I’d bet they were there with us on that call.”
Pockrass has spent decades covering motorsports, including the last 30 Daytona 500s. He joined FOX Sports in 2019 after stints at ESPN, Sporting News, NASCAR Scene magazine and The (Daytona Beach) News-Journal. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @bobpockrass. Looking for more NASCAR content? Sign up for the FOX Sports NASCAR newsletter with Bob Pockrass!
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