This time, Kyle Larson said, he was not going to be as nice.
Unfortunately for him, it didn’t matter.
Just as they did one year ago, Kyle Busch and Kyle Larson found themselves running first and second, respectively, as the spring NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway drew to a close.
The result remained the same, as Busch held on to win Saturday’s Drive to Stop Diabetes 300 – his seventh series victory at the track and 16th overall in NASCAR’s three national series.
Asked if he thought of trying something different this time, Larson said, “Yeah, I was thinking I was not going to be as nice as I was last year.”
Larson, however, had difficulty holding off Kevin Harvick for second place, which allowed Busch to build up a sizable advantage over the final three laps.
“A couple of those guys got close – (Matt) Kenseth, he was really fast. He was lightning fast there much of the day and I was having a hard time catching him,” said Busch.
“I was just able to bide my time through traffic a little bit 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. Hopefully, we can sweep the weekend.”
Busch now has five wins in Cup and four in Trucks at Bristol, in addition to his seven Nationwide wins. His 16 wins at one track is more than any other driver at any track in NASCAR history.
“I just tried to run hard and I know (Larson) was running the top (groove) – he loves the top. I knew he was going to be up there,” Busch said.
“I tried to perfect that a little bit earlier in the race, but it seemed like anybody who was behind me on the restart would be able to jump the two guys that were on the bottom.”
Ryan Blaney finished fourth and Matt Kenseth was fifth. JR Motorsports driver Regan Smith continues to lead the series standings, holding a one-point advantage over Trevor Bayne.
Kenseth actually had the most dominant car, leading 178 of the 300 laps. Busch passed him for the lead with 91 laps remaining.
“We had a good car, really the whole race. We just got caught up in lapped traffic and I did the best I could without wrecking. Kyle got by me in the lapped traffic, which was really the difference,” Kenseth said.
“I just got never get it back. My team gave me a car that could win today but I just couldn’t get it done.”