Kyle Busch Surprises With Bristol Dirt Race Win

Kyle Busch was not supposed to win this one. This was shaping up to be a battle between Tyler Reddick and Chase Briscoe, or one of several other drivers under the age of 30. If a veteran was going to win, it was going to be Joey Logano at the ripe old age of 31.

After all, Kyle Larson won Stage 1 with several young guns in tow. Chase Briscoe took Stage 2 with a Top 10 filled with young drivers – but with Kyle Busch and Joey Logano hanging around well inside the Top 10 again. Daniel Suarez took the lead near the end of Stage 2 when rain started and the race was slowed. Had the race been on asphalt, maybe the race would have been called. But the dirt was well worn at this point of the night and drivers were able to get back on track and Briscoe and Christopher Bell were able to get past Suarez to take the Stage 1-2.

With the scoring on dirt being different than a typical race, there was some confusion on who was in the lead once the race was halted for rain, but NASCAR got it quickly sorted out and the race took off again. Tyler Reddick and Chase Briscoe quickly went to the front sliding through the corners with ease, leaving the rest of the field in their mirrors. On the final lap, Briscoe got to Reddick’s bumper, tried to slide under and past him and ended up spinning them both out. Although Reddick was able to get pointed back in the right direction it was Kyle Busch in the catbird seat – a few seconds back. But that was all it took for him to swing past and steal a most unexpected win.

With all that said, you either loved this race or hated it. If you are a Kevin Harvick supporter, you probably feel like he does. After getting caught up in a late wreck that ended his night, Harvick was quite vocal about how terrible this racing on dirt idea is. NASCAR had to throw an early caution to let teams pull the mud off the front grills as some cars were overheating. Once they got that out of the way, the race settled down with visibility being the main casualty.

The big, heavy Cup cars were obviously not meant to be sliding around on dirt. Passing was at a premium even with drivers that felt like they had good cars. A few drivers felt out of place on the dirt but were having “fun” trying to figure it out.

For me, the race was far better than the inaugural Dust Bowl but still left a lot to be desired. The stands were obviously nowhere near packed so fans either felt the same way or were staying away due to the weather forecast, but rain hasn’t stopped fans from filling Bristol in the past. Maybe NASCAR can tweak this dirt racing package a little more to see if they can improve the racing product but if not, this race may eventually end up on the dust bin of NASCAR history.

Good on ya, mate

  • Kyle Busch (P1) for hanging around all night and being right where he needed to be at the end.
  • Tyler Reddick (P2) led 99 laps and was so so close to getting his first Cup win.
  • Joey Logano (P3) was the original Bristol dirt winner and led no laps this year.
  • Kyle Larson (P4) led only 27 laps and never gained his position back after Stage 1.
  • Ryan Blaney (P5) didn’t lead any laps but stayed in the hunt.
  • Alex Bowman (P6) spun out twice and somehow managed a Top 10.
  • Christopher Bell (P7) sure looked like he had a better car but made a lot of mistakes on the bottom.
  • Chase Elliott (P8) was stuck on the bottom a lot and wasn’t thrilled with the track.
  • Michael McDowell (P9) got a much deserved Top 10.
  • Ty Dillon (P10) won his heat and could have finished better.
  • Brad Keselowski (P11) was running much better earlier in the evening.
  • Daniel Suarez (P12) used a great race strategy to get to the front and lead 64 laps, nearly netting a win.

So you had a bad day

  • Denny Hamlin (P35) had an engine expire and now has 4 DNFs.
  • Kevin Harvick (P34) may get called to the yellow trailer.
  • Ross Chastain (P33) was a favorite to win but had an engine quit.
  • Kurt Busch (P32) was actually running in the Top 10 for much of the race.
  • Austin Dillon (P32) was a threat for a Top 5.
  • Cody Ware (P26) will have some ‘splainin’ to do after taking out his frustration on Chase Elliott.
  • Chase Briscoe (P22) led 59 laps and went from hero to zero in a split second.

Next up: Talladega

From one of the smallest tracks to the one of the largest and fastest, you couldn’t ask for a disparity in fan experiences. In addition to the infamous infield and the threat of The Big One, fans can look forward to seeing Dale Jr. in the broadcast booth. This will be the first time the Next Gen car hits the high banks of Dega with Daytona being the only other superspeedway the new car has been on. Bubba Wallace is the defending race champion and finished second to Austin Cindric in the Daytona 500.

I expect Denny Hamlin to be tough as well as William Byron, Ryan Blaney and Joey Logano. As you well know, just about anyone can win this race if they keep their fenders on and are within striking distance of the lead. Expect the cars to be going slower than 200 mph but in truth, wrecking at 185 isn’t all that different than wrecking at 200.

It will be interesting to see how the cars draft with no practice scheduled.

Drive fast, turn left and keep the shiny side up.

More Chuck can be found here.

(Photo by Jim Fluharty/HHP for Chevy Racing)

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2 Thoughts to “Kyle Busch Surprises With Bristol Dirt Race Win

  1. John Dawg Chapman

    There’s a reason that Cup drivers are called “the best stock drivers in the world.” Even with the change in cars, or maybe in part, because of it I can see a distinct improvement from last year. I expect that to continue. Track prep still has a long way to go, but it was better also. I’d still rather see a dirt race on an established dirt facility where prep wasn’t ongoing OJT. But it looks like we’re stuck with Bristol.
    Dirt Late Models don’t have engines conking out due to ingesting dirt, not so Cup cars. If air filters are not able to be modified by the teams Then NASCAR needs to do some homework because someone needs to figure this out. And it can’t be that difficult.
    My point is, things will get better, & I like the change of pace.

    1. Chuck

      It is a change of pace, I’ll give you that. And it is nice to see smoother drivers lead these races — it would have been even nicer had they won. Track prep does have a long way to go and NASCAR needs to do something to modify these cars for a better show. Once they figured that out, this might be an event worth the hype. Either that, or go to a real dirt track, as you say, and let them run in modifieds. Thanks for taking the time to read and drop a line!

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