Steven B. Wilson

Steven B. Wilson

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Johnny Sauter secured his fifth win of the 2018 season Thursday night at Bristol Motor Speedway to claim the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) Regular Season Championship and the top spot in the NCWTS Playoff field heading into next Sunday’s race at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. The victory is Sauter’s 22nd win in the series, placing him in a tie with two-time NCWTS champion Todd Bodine for fifth on the NCWTS all-time wins list.

The Necedah, Wis., native joined GMS Racing in 2016 and started off the season with a win at Daytona International Speedway. In addition to winning the 2016 NCWTS Championship, Sauter has earned 12 wins, 37 top-five and 51 top-10 finishes in 62 starts with the team.

The title of NCWTS Regular Season Champion is just the latest accomplishment in a long list of milestone moments for Sauter this season. His season-opening win at Daytona, his third win at the track, made him the winningest driver at Daytona in NCWTS history. It was also GMS Racing’s third consecutive Daytona win (2016 J. Sauter, 2017 K. Grala, 2018 J. Sauter), tying Bobbly Hamilton Racing for series-most wins at Daytona.

Sauter became only the second driver in NCWTS history to claim multiple wins at Dover International Speedway in May; it was also the first time Chevrolet claimed back-to-back wins at the track. Sauter picked up his 20th career NCWTS win and 10th win with GMS at Charlotte Motor Speedway and followed that up with another win two weeks later at Texas Motor Speedway. The win at Texas was his fifth win in Fort Worth and made him just the third driver in NCWTS history to earn four or more wins in the first eight races of the season.

The regular season finale at Bristol locked-in the eight-driver Playoff field, which includes Sauter’s GMS Racing teammate Justin Haley. Haley secured his chance to compete for his first NCWTS title with his first NCWTS career win at Gateway Motorsports Park in June. This is the third-consecutive season GMS has had two drivers competing in the Playoffs, and the first time GMS Fabrication will compete with three entries by way of Halmar Friesen Racing driver Stewart Friesen racing his way into the Playoff field in Bristol.

The 2018 NCWTS Playoffs kicks off at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park on Sunday, August 26 with the Chevrolet Silverado 250. The race will air live at 2:30pm ET on FS1 and MRN.

GMS Racing PR

Gus Dean (No. 32 Gree Cooling Products/Baker Distributing Chevrolet) started off celebraing his 24th birthday by winning his second consecutive ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards General Tire Pole Award. He set the fast lap in qualifying for this afternoon's Allen Crowe 100 at the Illinois State Fair at 33.836 seconds/106.396 miles per hour.

Zane Smith (No. 41 LaPaz Margarita Mix/ICON Vehicle Dynamics Toyota) will start alongside on the front row after turning a lap of 33.839/106.386, just 0.003 seconds off Dean's pole winning pace. Chase Purdy (No. 8 Bama Buggies Toyota) was third at 33.891/106.223, Logan Seavey (No. 20 Craftsman Toyota) was fourth at 33.968/105.982, and Sheldon Creed (No. 28 United Rentals Toyota) rounded out the top five at 34.148/105.423.

Joe Graf, Jr. (No. 77 Big Tine Ford), Ryan Unzicker (No. 24 RJR Transportation Toyota), Christian Eckes (No. 15 JBL Audio Toyota), Kelly Kovski, and Riley Herbst (No. 18 NOS Energy Drink/ORCA Coolers Toyota) round out the top ten starters.

Last year's winning crew chief Kelly Kovski (No. 16 Schluckerbier Farm Chevrolet), who is making his return to ARCA competition after suffering severe injuries while spectating at a sprint car race in Florida in February of 2016, will start ninth after a lap of 34.324/104.883. Kovski served as Grant Enfinger's crew chief last year; Enfinger is returning the favor this year and will call the race for Kovski from atop the pit box.

The Allen Crowe 100 is set for a 2:30 pm ET/1:30 pm CT green flag and will be televised live on MAVTV. ARCARacing.com will have live timing, scoring, race updates, and scanner audio for registered users.

ARCA Racing PR

Sheldon Creed (No. 28 United Rentals Toyota) arrived after practice started, but that didn't impede his progress as he led the only practice session of the day for this afternoon's ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards Allen Crowe 100. 
 
Creed's connecting flight in Dallas was canceled last night due to storms, so he hopped in a rental car and made the eleven-hour drive and arrived in Springfield about 15 minutes after practice started. His fast lap of 33.112 seconds/108.722 miles per hour topped Logan Seavey (No. 20 Craftsman Toyota), Chase Purdy (No. 8 Bama Buggies Toyota), Zane Smith (No. 41 LaPaz Margarita Mix/ICON Vehicle Dynamics Toyota) and Riley Herbst (No. 18 NOS/ORCA/Advance Auto Toyota).
 
Gus Dean (No. 32 Gree Cooling Products Chevrolet), Kelly Kovski (No. 16 Schluckerbier Farms Chevrolet), Joe Graf, Jr. (No. 77 Big Tine Ford), Bret Holmes (No. 52 Holmes II Excavating Toyota), and Travis Braden (No. 27 MatrixCare Ford) rounded out the top ten.
 
There were three red flags, two for debris and one for Buck Stevens (No. 06 Wayne Peterson Racing Dodge), who erupted an engine with about 20 minutes remaining.
 
General Tire Pole Qualifying is set for noon ET/11 am CT. ARCARacing.com will have live timing and scoring for registered users. MAVTV will have live coverage of today's Allen Crowe 100 at 2:30 pm ET/1:30 pm CT.
 
ARCA Racing PR

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. was solidly running in the top 15 when a cut right front tire derailed his day. Over the 500 laps, Stenhouse had multiple tire issues forcing him to settle with a 24th-place finish in Saturday night’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS) race at Bristol Motor Speedway.

“This is by far one of the fastest cars we have ever brought to Bristol. We aren’t certain why we had so many issues with the right front tire but we will look at it more at the shop. It’s just a bummer. Our Fastenal Ford was really strong. I just wish we could have gotten up there to contend with those guys.”

The Olive Branch, Miss. native holds the best overall finishing average at the ‘World’s Fastest Half-Mile’. After lining up in the 12th position for the 500-lap race, Stenhouse Jr. gained five positions on the start before the caution flag was displayed on lap two.

By the time the competition yellow was displayed on lap 60 for rain overnight, Stenhouse had maneuvered his Ford up to the third position and was reeling in first and second place. After a speedy pit-stop by the ‘Blue Team” sending the Fastenal Ford first off pit-road, Stenhouse was assessed with a pit-road speeding penalty forcing him to start at the tail end of the field.

After restarting in the 27th position on lap 66, the two-time Xfinity champion bullied his way through the field picking up 13 positions by lap 100. Unfortunately, with three laps remaining in stage one, Stenhouse was forced to pit-road due to a cut right front tire. When the green checkered waved at the end of the stage, the Roush Fenway Racing driver was scored in the 29th position with a two lap deficit.

Crew chief Brian Pattie told Stenhouse to stay out during the stage break and take the wave around allowing him to get one lap back to the leaders. As he was battling for the lucky dog position, once again Stenhouse had another right front tire issue forcing him to pit-road for an unscheduled pit-stop.

Over the course of the 500-lap race, Stenhouse Jr. experienced four tire issues forcing him to settle with a 24th place finish.

Stenhouse and the No. 17 team have a weekend off before heading to Darlington Raceway for the MENCS race on Sunday, September 2. Race coverage begins at 6:00 p.m. ET on NBCSN. Coverage can also be heard on MRN and SIRIUS radio channel 90. 

RFR PR

A fast Ford Fusion and an even faster start in Saturday’s Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway were all for naught for Paul Menard and the No. 21 Menards/Knauf team.

After charging from his fourth starting spot into second place and onto the bumper of the race leader before the race’s first caution on Lap Three, Menard experienced a vibration on the ensuing restart and eventually hit the wall on Lap 28, ending his race and leaving him with a 36th-place finish.
 
The culprit was a problem with the right front wheel.
 
“It broke the center section out of the wheel, which we’ve never seen before,” Menard said. “We had a really fast Ford. We started fourth and felt like if that first caution hadn’t come out we could have been leading the race by Lap Three.
 
“But on the restart I just had a really bad vibration, trying to stay out of everybody’s way up by the fence and finally the wheel broke.”
 
Menard said the team will try to assess what went wrong and figure a way to prevent a future occurrence.
 
“We’ve got to figure out why the wheel broke,” he said. “What came first, the chicken or the egg, hitting the wall or the wheel breaking?
 
“We’re scratching our heads about that one.”
 
The disappointing finish leaves Menard 20th in the Monster Energy Cup Series standings with two races remaining in the 26-race regular season, which resumes in two weeks at Darlington Raceway.

WBR PR

Trevor Bayne drove his No. 6 AdvoCare Rehydrate Ford Fusion to his best finish of the 2018 season on Saturday night under the lights at Bristol Motor Speedway, finishing 11th at his home track.

“Jack asked me in the driver’s meeting how my car was and I told him it was a 10th to 15th-place car and if we could get it to turn we’d be better than that,” Bayne said. “Early in the race it turned and we drove up into the top-10 and were running about eighth. I had the speeding penalty and kind of overcame that and got back up to seventh or eighth and then that last restart it was all about what lane you were going be in.

“We were going be in the top, but Jimmie pitted and I was like, ‘Oh, man.’ So I started on the bottom and cost us a few spots and ended up 11th, but it’s a good finish for our guys. Every weekend when I leave the track I just kind of look and say, ‘Did I do everything I could do to get every position,’ whether that was 23rd or 11th, so I felt like I did a good job tonight. I wish I wouldn’t have sped on pit road. I wish I wouldn’t have let the 4 get by me at the end, but I shouldn’t have tried to cross Jimmie over and just got greedy and it cost me a spot. But, all in all, it was a good day and we’ll keep fighting.”

Bayne rolled off the grid 23rd, but quickly worked his way to the front in the opening laps. A multi-car accident just two laps in allowed the Knoxville, Tennessee, native to get inside the top-20. By the competition yellow at lap 60, Bayne was up to 14th, fighting a tight-handling Fusion.

He would restart 12th and drove himself into the top-10 by the start of stage two where he restarted ninth. He worked his way up to eighth just shy of lap 200, but was caught speeding on pit road following a pit stop. After restarting 17th, he got back up to 14th to begin the final 250-lap segment.

Some 40 laps later, Bayne fell back to 15th, fighting a tight-handling machine. But, the team continued work on the car and gained more spots on pit road, restarting 12th at lap 359. After again falling back with tight conditions, the team again gained spots on pit road, putting him 12th at the restart with 55 to go.

The team would bring the No. 6 to pit road one final time at lap 473 when Bayne rode 10th, tuning the car up one final time. After a late yellow at lap 481 in which he was eighth, Bayne restarted the final 13-lap shootout seventh – on the inside lane – which cost him a few spots at the end.

The No. 6 car returns to the track following the off weekend at Darlington Speedway, Sept. 2, for the Bojangles’ Southern 500. Race coverage begins at 6 p.m. ET on NBCSN, MRN and SiriusXM Channel 90.

RFR PR

Race Winner:  Kurt Busch of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford)

Stage 1 Winner:  Ryan Blaney of Team Penske (Ford)

Stage 2 Winner:  Joey Logano of Team Penske (Ford)

 

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-125):

Bowyer started 16th and finished third, collecting eight bonus points.

● Bowyer was 10th after the first lap when a multicar accident brought out the caution.

● Passed teammate Aric Almirola for seventh on lap 26.

● During competition caution on lap 60, Bowyer pitted for four tires and fuel. Only adjustment was to tire pressures.

● Restarted third on lap 67, but fell to sixth before rallying to fourth by lap 75.

● Passed Erik Jones for third on lap 90.

● At conclusion of stage, Bowyer brought the No. 14 Rush Truck Centers/Cummins Ford to the pits for four tires and fuel.

 

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 126-250):

Bowyer started third and finished sixth, collecting five bonus points.

● Was fifth at lap 150, but by lap 163, Bowyer radioed that his Rush Truck Centers/Cummins Ford was “way too loose.”

● Caution on lap 199 allowed Bowyer to pit for four tires and fuel with a right-rear wedge adjustment.

● Restarted in 10th on lap 204 and climbed to seventh after one lap.

● Passed Jones for sixth on lap 240.

● “Got a little tight toward the end,” said Bowyer at the end of Stage 2.

● Pitted for four tires and fuel at end of the stage, and reversed previous right-rear wedge adjustment.

 

Stage 3 Recap (Laps 251-500):

Bowyer started seventh and finished sixth.

● Bowyer brought his No. 14 Rush Truck Centers/Cummins Ford up to fifth by lap 290.

● Passed Almirola for fourth on lap 311.

● Cracked top-three with pass of Joey Logano on lap 320.

● Passed teammate Kurt Busch for second on lap 344.

● Caution on lap 353 sent everyone to pit road. Bowyer was happy with his car and radioed, “No changes.”

● Pit stop was fast, allowing Bowyer to take the lead on lap 356.

● Bowyer led the next 86 laps, pitting one final time for fuel and tires on lap 442.  He resumed the lead on lap 443.

● Bowyer continued to lead until lap 476, where a caution forced one final restart.

● Busch, who was running in second, took the lead from Bowyer on lap 477 as Bowyer spun his tires, dropping to sixth.

 

Notes:

● Bowyer earned his 13th top-10 in 26 career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series starts at Bristol.

● Bowyer led twice for 120 laps to increase his laps-led total at Bristol to 257.

● Kurt Busch won the Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race to score his 30th career Cup Series victory, his first of the season and his sixth at Bristol. His margin of victory over second-place Kyle Larson was .367 of a second.

● Busch delivered the 100th points-paying victory for Ford’s Fusion in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. It was Ford’s 669th all-time win in the NASCAR Cup Series and its 37th victory at Bristol.

● There were nine caution periods for a total of 70 laps.

● Only 15 of the 40 drivers in the Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race finished on the lead lap.

 

Clint Bowyer, driver of the No. 14 Rush Truck Centers/Cummins Ford Fusion:

“I just clearly didn’t do a good job on the restarts. When I had the lead I thought I got a good jump and about the time I shifted Kurt (Busch) hit me in the door and it just lit the tires up. He didn’t do anything wrong – it’s just a product of it. Then when I was on the bottom, I spun the tires real bad and they all got around me. It’s disappointing. You get a car that good and you get that close you hate to not come home with it, but, all in all, for as terrible as we started the weekend and as bad as our day was yesterday, to lead laps or even be in the top-10, I was pretty surprised to be honest with you. In the grand scheme of things, it was a pretty good run for us, but you hate to give them up like that.” 

 

Next Up:

The next event on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Bojangles’ Southern 500 on Sunday, Sept. 2 at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway. The race starts at 6 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by NBCSN.

 

TSC PR

For Kurt Busch, there’s no better place to snap a long winless streak than Bristol Motor Speedway.


At the track where he earned his first career victory, Busch stormed to the lead on a late restart and held on to win the Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race on Saturday under the lights at The Last Great Colosseum.

Busch got his first win here in 2002, and he has six career wins at the .533-mile high-banked short track.

His last victory in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series came at Daytona last July, a streak of 58 races.

“This track brings out the best in everybody,” Busch said. “Just to come here and feel that Saturday night atmosphere and racing under the lights, it brings you back to your roots. To have Billy Scott (get) his first win – he’s a short-track racer who grew up going to all the different tracks. When you come to the holy grail of short tracks, you want to win it.”

The race marked the 30th career victory for Busch, and he joined brother Kyle as the only two brothers in NASCAR history with that many wins. Thirty, it seems, was an important number for Kurt Busch.

“I always wanted to get to 30,” Busch said. “This is a big win for me. I grew up at Roush Racing with a guy named Mark Martin. He helped me, he was a great mentor and I looked up to him as a racer. He ended up with 40. I said before I won my first race, ‘If I can get to 30, that’s a pretty special career.’ Made it tonight. I’m choked up about it. I really love this win tonight, and to have six Bristol trophies is special.”

Under a lap-471 caution, Busch was one of several drivers to stay on the track while others pitted for tires. He restarted second to Clint Bowyer but got a better restart and took the lead on lap 477.

“It was up to Bowyer to choose the lane,” Busch said. “He chose the outside and we got a perfect start on the inside. I dug it perfect right into Turns 1 and 2, and the spotter (Tony Raines) said, ‘Take it, take it,’ which meant go to the wall on exit. I didn’t even bother to look in the mirror.”

Kyle Larson pitted for tires under the yellow when Busch stayed out and came back to finish second. Chase Elliott was third, with Joey Logano fourth and Erik Jones fifth.

Sixth through 10th were Bowyer, Ryan Blaney, Alex Bowman, Jimmie Johnson and Kevin Harvick. Harvick battled back from losing two laps to post that top-10 finish.

Busch’s younger brother Kyle had an eventful night. The seven-time Bristol winner spun on the third lap and fell two laps down while his team tried to repair the damage. He got back on the lead lap and charged into third place with 86 laps to go.

But while trying to pass Martin Truex Jr. for second on lap 431, he clipped the rear of Truex’s car and send the No. 78 spinning into the inside wall. An angry Truex later kicked the side of his car as it sat on pit road.

Busch was able to continue, but fell back to 11th under that caution because damage to the car caused his team to take longer than usual to fuel it. With 20 laps to go, Busch slowed and spun with a flat left-rear tire, caused my damage while trying to fight back to the front. He finished 20th.

The first stage was marred by a 15-car crash on lap 3, triggered when Kyle Busch got sideways underneath Blaney and spun off Turn 4. That caused a backup when cars tried to dodge the No. 18 Toyota of Busch, but numerous cars piled in or spun to try to avoid the melee.

Busch lost two laps as his Joe Gibbs Racing team made repairs, but he did climb from 33rd to 27th by the end of the first stage.

Larson and Harvick traded the lead before Blaney took command, leading twice for 108 of the first 125 laps. Harvick closed in in the latter stages and dove underneath Blaney on the final lap while the two raced for the lead in traffic.

Blaney took the stage win by .003 seconds as he and Harvick worked around David Ragan at the checkered flag. Bowyer was third, with Elliott fourth and Aric Almirola fifth.

There were two dramatic finishes to end Stage 2. The first was the race for the lead, when Elliott fought underneath Logano off Turn 4, but Logano was able to nip him at the line. The second was the battle for 20th, as the first two cars one lap down fought to get in position to get the free pass. Busch’s damaged race car darted through traffic and beat Harvick to the checkers.

Harvick had lost two laps when he had to pit for a flat tire on lap 184. Under caution on lap 200, Harvick and Busch were two of the cars to take the wave-around to put them both one lap down.

Following Logano and Elliott in Stage 2 were Larson, Almirola and Bowyer.

Kurt Busch’s victory locks him in the playoffs, though he was fourth in the points standing coming into the race.

“It just matters to win,” Busch said. “It’s all about winning. I’m glad we did. We’ve been the most consistent team this year that hasn’t won. I wasn’t worried about not making the playoffs, so we could treat these races coming up as free-for-alls, and we’re just gonna keep going after it.”

 

BMS PR

It was Tanner Carrick's race. The 30-lap Camfield Memorial at Macon Speedway looked wrapped up with a wire-to-wire win for the pole sitter. And then Kevin Thomas, Jr. came flying in a late lap pass to take the checkered flag and win his fourth POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget Series feature. Carrick did lead the halfway point to secure a $100 bonus in the memory of Phil Sargent but not enough to secure the feature win and all that goes along with it. The dirt track was very racey as both top and bottom grooves were featured throughout the evening.

The POWRi Speedway Motors Micro Sprint Series presented by Bailey Chasis saw Jordan Howell take his first POWRi feature in a wire-to-wire 20-lap win. He was hounded the entire race by Austin Schaeffer but ran perfect lap after perfect lap to make sure he would not lose the lead.

Dakota Ewing had a perfect night of racing with the fast time in qualifying, nearly taking the track record of 11.124 as he time read 11.170. He breezed through the heat and made good work in the feature to win all there was to win Saturday night in the Decatur Building Trades Pro Late Model division.

Last lap chaos set up Terry Reed for the Street Stock feature. Trailing Justin Crowell and Wes Biesenthal, Reed was positioned to take third but as the white flag came out, Crowell and Biesenthal got tangled and was sent to the back of the field on a restart. Crowell had to start at the tail because he left the track for a flat tire change and Biesenthal for cutting inside the tires instead of staying on the track.

Adam Webb and Jeremy Reed blasted past both Carson and Carter Dart in the early stages to run away with the Hornet feature race. Both Dart brothers were starting in the front row and Reed went fast to pass the Darts and looked as if he was alone but then Webb, who started eighth, came flying along and made the pass thanks to a lapped car slowing Reed down on the backstretch.

Macon Speedway gets ready for Church Night at the track next week with area pastors coming to participate in the annual Faster Pastor race. Decatur Building Trades Pro Late Models, BillingsleyRewards.com Modifieds, Street Stocks, B-Modifieds, Hornets and the Micro Sprints are scheduled to race.

POWRi Midgets--1. Kevin Thomas, Jr. 2. Tanner Carrick, 3. Jerry Coons, Jr. 4. Tyler Thomas, 5. Jason McDougal, 6. Logan Seavey, 7. Zach Daum, 8. Maria Cofer, 9. Nick Knepper, 10. Daniel Robinson

POWRi Micro Sprints--1. Jordan Howell, 2. Austin Schaeffer, 3. Jacob Tipton, 4. Daniel Robinson, 5. Tyler Day, 6. Riley Goodno, 7. Jackson Frisbie, 8. Kyle Schuett, 9. Harley Hollan, 10. Gunner Ramey

Decatur Building Trades Pro Late Models--1. Dakota Ewing (Warrensburg), 2. Cody Maguire (Carlinville), 3. Guy Taylor (Springfield), 4. Roben Huffman (Midland City), 5. Patrick Younger (Decatur), 6. Donny Koehler (Macon), 7. Braden Johnson (Taylorville), 8. Jarod Shasteen (Macon)

Street Stocks--1. Terry Reed (Decatur), 2. Andy Zahnd (White Heath), 3. Larry Russell, Jr. (Decatur), 4. Kevin Lewis (Decatur), 5. Shawn Ziemer (Boody), 6. Justin Crowell (Lincoln), 7. Wes Biesenthal (Athens), 8. Garrett Lewis (Decatur), 9. Roy Beal (Springfield), 10. Jerit Murphy (Lodge)

Hornets--1. Adam Webb (Decatur), 2. Jeremy Reed (Decatur), 3. Nick Matherly (Decatur), 4. Matt Reed (Decatur), 5. John Lewis (Cerro Gordo), 6. Carson Dart (Springfield), 7. Paul Peters (Pana), 8. Steve Stine (Stonington), 9. Carter Dart (Springfield), 10. Nate Webb (Clinton)

Macon Speedway PR

Race Winner: Kurt Busch of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford)

Stage 1 Winner: Ryan Blaney for Team Penske (Ford)

Stage 2 Winner: Joey Logano of Team Penske (Ford)

 

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-125):

Kurt Busch started ninth, finished seventh, collecting four bonus points.

● The Monster Energy/Haas Automation Ford was involved in a multicar accident on lap three and sustained minor hood damage.

● On lap 11, Busch pitted for hood repair only and restarted 29th on lap 13.

● Busch returned to pit road on lap 63 for four tires, fuel and a wedge adjustment. He came in 15th and went out 15th.

● Was in the top-10 by lap 85.

 

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 126-250):

Busch started fifth, finished ninth, collecting two bonus points.

● The Monster Energy/Haas Automation driver pitted on lap 130 for four tires and fuel.

● Busch pitted under caution for four tires, fuel and a wedge adjustment.

 

Final Stage Recap (Laps 251-500):

Busch started sixth, finished first, collecting five playoff points for scoring the victory.

● The Monster Energy/Haas Automation driver pitted on lap 254 for four tires, fuel and a tire pressure adjustment.

● Busch was in the top-three from lap 255-353 and pitted on lap 354 for four tires, fuel and a tire pressure adjustment.

● Busch lined up beside teammate Clint Bowyer on the lap-477 restart and was able to clear Bowyer as he exited turn two. From there, Busch survived one more restart and outlasted Kyle Larson on newer tires to bring home the win.

 

Notes:

● Busch won the Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race to score his 30th career Cup Series victory, his first of the season and his sixth at Bristol. His margin of victory over second-place Kyle Larson was .367 of a second.

● Busch’s triumph delivered the 100th points-paying victory for Ford’s Fusion in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. It was Ford’s 669th all-time win in the NASCAR Cup Series and its 37th victory at Bristol.

● It was also his 11th top-five and 18th top-10 at the .533-mile oval.

● Busch led once for 24 laps to increase his laps-led total at Bristol to 1,086.

● There were nine caution periods for a total of 70 laps.

● Only 15 of the 40 drivers in the Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race finished on the lead lap.

 

 

Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Monster Energy/Haas Automation Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing:

 

Describe the victory tonight.

“It’s awesome to do it at Bristol. I love this place. We now have won six times here, and I have great teams that have always helped me win. This group of guys, Billy Scott, my crew chief, this is his first win, and to be able to do it with Ford and Monster and Haas Automation is just what it’s all about. It’s executing as a team, and we had good restarts when we had to, and then you’ve got to get clever and start throwing everything at it.”

 

How did you take the lead?

“It was up to (Clint) Bowyer to choose the lane. He chose the outside, and we got a perfect start on the inside. I dug it perfect right into turn one and two, and the spotter said, ‘Take it. Take it.’ – which meant go to the wall on exit, and I didn’t even bother to look in the mirror.  He said, ‘Take it,’ and when you trust your team to give you the right stuff setup-wise, you’ve got to trust the spotter the same way. Tony Raines. He’s a racer. That’s why he’s my spotter, and it worked out perfect.”

 

How big is it to solidify a playoff spot tonight?

“It just matters to win. It’s all about winning. I’m glad we did. We’ve been the most consistent team this year that hasn’t won. I wasn’t worried about not making the Playoffs, so we could kind of treat these races coming up as free-for-alls, and we’re just gonna keep going after it. The Southern 500 is after this week off, and we’ve got Indianapolis, and then my hometown kicks off the Playoffs, so we’re all about these next 12.”

 

Next Up:

The next event on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Bojangles’ Southern 500 on Sunday, Sept. 2 at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway. The race starts at 6 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by NBCSN beginning at 5 p.m.

 

TSC PR