Cruise control: Kyle Busch rolls away to Bristol Nationwide win
MAR 15, 2014 3:55p ET
Kyle Larson, who finished second to Busch in this race last year, passed Kevin Harvick with seven laps to go to take second again in his Turner Scott Motorsports Chevrolet ahead of Harvick's JR Motorsports Chevrolet. Ryan Blaney was fourth in a Team Penske Ford, followed by Kenseth, who faded late.
Busch now has seven Nationwide victories at the 0.533-mile track, including six of the last eight, and 16 victories here in NASCAR's top three series. He also extended his career record of series victories to 65. But he had his hands full with his teammate in Saturday's Drive to Stop Diabetes 300.
"Kenseth, man, he was really fast. He was lightning fast much of the day," said Busch. "I was having a hard time catching him, but was able to just kind of bide my time through traffic a little better than he did, and he got stuck and I passed him kind of the same way he did to me earlier in the race."
In truth, it was an all-JGR show, almost from the drop of the green flag.
Larson started from the pole flanked by Busch and it took Busch just three laps to get to the front. And from Lap 3 on, the two JGR Toyotas never surrendered the point.
Kenseth took the lead on Lap 30, after Busch got hung up in lapped traffic. Kenseth quickly checked out on the field, lapping back to eighth place by Lap 100.
Once out front, Kenseth led all the way until Lap 210, when he got caught in lapped traffic and passed by Busch. A caution four laps later sent the eight lead-lap cars down pit road, with Busch holding the lead over Kenseth and Larson.
Ryan Reed crashed hard heading into Turn 1 to bring out a caution on Lap 261, and set up a late-race showdown between the two JGR Toyotas.
On the restart, Harvick got past Kenseth into second place, only to see another yellow on Lap 288 for a Jeremy Clements wallbanger.
When the final green came out, Larson drove by Harvick, but he had nothing for Busch, who won easily.
"I thought I could chase down Kyle and was trying really hard and got up over the (outside lane) and got some rubber on my tires and lost some ground," said Larson, who finished second for the fifth time in just 37 Nationwide starts. "From there, I just tried to hold off Kevin Harvick, who was pretty strong."
As for Harvick, he said his car was good at the end, but backmarkers were an obstacle on the tight course.
"Lapped traffic was not very much fun," said Harvick. "It was fun to go through but you never knew where they were going to, so it was interesting on that side."
But the big winner was Busch, who once again was the man to beat at Bristol.
"It's always fun to win in Bristol," Busch said. "It doesn't matter if they're cheering or booing. Hopefully, we can sweep the weekend."