It was a beautiful day for a race in Bristol, Tennessee. Though the forecast for Sunday looked bleak, Saturday’s didn’t, presenting the perfect setting for some NASCAR Nationwide Series racing.
Kyle Larson won the pole, beating out last year’s winner Kyle Busch. The two battled for the victory that race, and the sting of defeat still felt painful. With Busch starting second, the two brought the field to green, ready to duke it out yet again.
The entire race saw the same three people out front: Busch, Matt Kenseth, and Kevin Harvick. Kenseth assumed the lead when the No. 54 car couldn’t handle lapped traffic. Harvick’s presence was sly yet undeniable.
Laps diminished, and Larson resurged, bringing NNS regular Ryan Blaney with him. The two fought with the big dogs, not going down without a fight. With multiple cautions, causes ranging from debris to spins, it was a challenge weaving through lapped traffic and three-wide situations.
It came down to the wire, but Busch prevailed, winning yet again at Bristol. That brings him to 16 wins at the track, seven of those being in the NNS series.
Point Standings after the Drive To Stop Diabetes 300
1. Regan Smith (–)
2. Trevor Bayne (-1)
3. Ty Dillon (-8)
4. Chase Elliott (-13)
5. Elliott Sadler (-16)
6. Brendan Gaughan (-20)
7. Brian Scott (-28)
8. James Buescher (-34)
9. Dylan Kwasniewski (-35)
10. Landon Cassill (-46)
11. Mike Bliss (-52)
12. Chris Buescher (-59)
FAN REACTION: Nothing upsets certain fans more than seeing Busch win. Ratings were ‘D-,’ ‘F,’ and even ‘Zzzzzzz-,’ which I didn’t even know was an option. When asked, one fan pointed out that it isn’t much fun to watch a race where you “already know who’s going to win.” Most of the time, I would agree, but not now.
It’s Bristol Motor Speedway. ‘Unpredictable’ is its middle name. Whenever I watch short track racing, there’s a pit that forms in my stomach; you never know what’s going to happen. What if a lapped car had cut Busch off earlier in the race and put him in the wall? Would people be happy then? The track is known for its fickle nature, and that is a reason in itself to tune in.
Teams pack up and head to Auto Club Speedway next Saturday, chipping away at Regan Smith’s points lead and itching for a win. The race broadcast begins at 4:30 ET on ESPN.