|Busch takes fifth career Bristol Cup win, his fourth in five races.|
BRISTOL, Tenn. -- The question isn't whether Kyle Busch will win at Bristol Motor Speedway -- it's whether anyone else can find a way to keep him out of Victory Lane.
First off pit road after stops under caution on Lap 429, Busch held off pole-sitter Carl Edwards and defending race winner Jimmie Johnson to win his fifth consecutive race in NASCAR's top three national series at the .533-mile short track.
Busch's victory in Sunday's Jeff Byrd 500 was his 20th in the Sprint Cup Series, his first of the season and his second consecutive at Thunder Valley. Busch capped his second weekend sweep in a row at Bristol, having won Saturday's Nationwide Series event.
Last August, Busch became the first driver to win three national series races at the same track on the same weekend when he claimed victories in NASCAR's Camping World Truck, Nationwide and Cup series.
Edwards finished second for the second time in four races this season, and Johnson finished third, also for the second time in 2011. Matt Kenseth was fourth and Paul Menard fifth. Kurt Busch, Kevin Harvick, Greg Biffle, Kasey Kahne and Ryan Newman completed the top 10.
Kyle Busch Breaks Out The Bristol Broom Again
The driver of the No. 18 M&M’s Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) led seven times for 153 laps en route to winning Sunday’s Jeff Byrd 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Bristol. It was the Las Vegas native’s 20th career Sprint Cup victory and first of 2011. Most impressive, however, was that it was his fifth straight Bristol triumph, as he won yesterday’s NASCAR Nationwide Series race, and last August swept the Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series races.
“This M&M’s Camry was awesome,” said Busch, who held off Carl Edwards by .946 of a second to score his fifth Sprint Cup win at Bristol. “Our guys won this race on that last pit stop because they got us out first. I don’t know if I could’ve gotten by Carl. Carl was good. Our car was definitely better on the longer run. Dave Rogers (crew chief) did an awesome job.”
The win came just days after primary sponsor Mars, Incorporated announced a multi-year extension of its sponsorship of Busch and JGR’s No. 18 Toyota team.
“This is a heck of a way to kick that off,” said Busch, who has now won 15 Sprint Cup races with Mars brands as his primary sponsor. “Really have to thank all the partners there, all the associates, all the people worldwide at Mars, M&M’s, Doublemint, Pedigree, Snickers and Combos. It’s an awesome partnership that will now continue for years to come. I couldn’t be happier.”
The victory also solidified Busch as the current king of Bristol. He has 11 wins in NASCAR’s top-three touring divisions (Sprint Cup – 5, Nationwide – 3, Camping World Truck – 3). He has won four of the last five Sprint Cup races at the track in northeast Tennessee, as well as the last two Nationwide Series races and the last two Camping World Truck Series events.
“It’s fun and I love coming to Bristol,” said Busch, who has led 936 of the 1,756 possible laps (53 percent) in his five-race Bristol winning streak. “There’s nothing not fun about this place. I’m sure all these fans know that, too. As soon as I can beat Darrell (Waltrip, 12 Sprint Cup wins at Bristol) for most wins here, they can name it after me. This is his right now. This is pretty cool. It’s an awesome opportunity to come to Bristol and win in front of these fans. I love it. It’s a lot of fun, especially with five in a row.
“It was a grueling day today. I didn’t feel my best, but we put it all together when it mattered most. This M&M’s Toyota Camry team did an awesome job.”
Busch now has 90 victories across NASCAR’s top-three divisions (Sprint Cup – 20; Nationwide – 45; Camping World Truck – 25). He has also won at least one Sprint Cup race a season for seven consecutive years, dating back to his first full season in 2005. Kyle and his older brother, Kurt, have combined to win 10 of the last 19 Sprint Cup races at Bristol. Interestingly, Kurt won all five of his races before Kyle scored his first Bristol victory.
Kyle’s JGR teammates – Joey Logano and Denny Hamlin – finished 23rd and 33rd, respectively, in the Jeff Byrd 500.
Following Kyle Busch and Edwards across the stripe in third was Jimmie Johnson, while Matt Kenseth and Paul Menard rounded out the top-five. Kevin Harvick, Kurt Busch, Greg Biffle, Kasey Kahne and Ryan Newman comprised the remainder of the top-10.
There were 10 caution periods for 57 laps, with seven drivers failing to finish the 500-lap race.
With round four of 36 complete, Kyle Busch now leads the JGR trio in the championship standings. He is sixth with 133 points, 17 markers back of points leader Kurt Busch.
Hamlin is 17th in the standings with 106 points, 44 markers back of the top spot. Logano is tied with Jeff Burton for 29th, as each driver has 74 points, 76 markers behind Kurt Busch.
The next event on the Sprint Cup schedule is the March 27 Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif. The race starts at 3 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by FOX beginning with its pre-race show at 2:30 p.m.
- True Speed Communication for Joe Gibbs Racing/Mars, Inc., Press Release