Kyle Busch won from the pole at the rain-delayed Bristol race but it wasn’t always a certain win. Weather delayed the race a few times on Sunday before NASCAR pushed the race to Monday. Even on Monday the race start was delayed a little bit by light showers that kept popping up.
But Busch made up for all the delays with a patented bump and run move at the end of the race to get by lap leader Kyle Larson. Larson led a race high 200 laps and looked strong but he was struggling at the end of the run allowing Busch to get to him and pass him. The 18 car was set up for longer runs and once they got that in, he made the most of his car. If you liked old school Bristol racing, this race sure had more of that feel than the last several races since the Bristol reconfiguration.
The race also saw the possible resurgence of Jimmie Johnson who nabbed his best finish of the season in 3rd. Teammate Alex Bowman also saw his best finish of 5th.
Stewart-Hass Racing showed strength again with Kurt Busch qualifying 2nd although he got caught up in some trouble on Sunday and wound up 22nd. But Almirola, Harvick and Bowyer finished 6th, 7th and 8th respectively. That’s not too shabby.
Brad Keselowski looked stout on Monday and led 67 laps but smacked the wall, which really messed up his day. Chase Elliott, Martin Truex, Jr. and Ryan Blaney also suffered contact on Sunday that put leader Blaney out of the race and put the others several laps down. With only 12 cars finishing on the lead lap, there was little hope of getting the Lucky Dog for those guys.
This race win for Busch certainly puts everyone on notice that their days of finishing second are over and puts Ford on notice that Toyota has found their groove. Ford and Toyota dominate the point standings right now, with the lone Chevy of Kyle Larson in 9th place. The next Chevy in the standings is Alex Bowman in 13th. Larson has led 200 laps this year and no other Chevy has led more than a single lap. Ouch. I think everyone expected the new Camaro to take a little while to get dialed in, but 8 races in and they appear to still be struggling as a group. Larson has been the lone bright spot since Daytona.
In off the track news, I am sure you have all seen that Tony Stewart has settled with the Ward family. I am glad that is over with. While the mother of Kevin Ward, Jr. says she felt forced to settle, the attorneys in a case like this usually are in it for a cash settlement. They took the case on contingency so if there was not going to be an outside shot at a decent cash settlement, they probably would not have taken the case. A trial would have cost the Ward family a lot of money that they did not have. Without any video from the cockpit of Stewart’s car, it is impossible for anyone of us to know what he saw that night on the track. The fact that Kevin Ward was under the influence would certainly not have done the family any good in a trial.
I can’t even begin to know what the family has gone through, not what Stewart has felt knowing that he killed another driver even if that driver had acted irresponsibly by approaching another car on track.
I just hope they all can move on and put this tragedy behind them and find some semblance of peace.