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NASCAR Cup Series | Results and 3 takeaways from Monday’s race at Bristol

Kyle Busch, already among the best NASCAR Cup Series drivers, is now also the hottest. He celebrates after winning at Bristol Motor Speedway on Monday.
Kyle Busch, already among the best NASCAR Cup Series drivers, is now also the hottest. He celebrates after winning at Bristol Motor Speedway on Monday. AP

Kyle Busch won the rain-delayed Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway on Monday, his second consecutive win this season, but there are other implications from the race as well. Here are the three biggest takeaways from Monday’s completion of a race that started Sunday:

1. Can anyone stop Kyle Busch right now?

The short answer, probably not. He’s driving like a man possessed right now (in the best way possible) and could reasonably win his third straight next weekend at Richmond. Ryan Blaney and Kyle Larson have been good lately too, but as we saw firsthand on Monday, that didn’t go so well for Larson. The only time this season when Busch hasn’t been dominant was at Daytona, which is a free-for-all. Basically, Kyle Busch is already one of the top three or four active drivers in the Cup Series, and now he’s also the hottest. Good luck, everyone else.

2. Young guns showed up this weekend

Blaney led almost all day Sunday, Kyle Larson led 200 laps Monday, and even Bubba Wallace and Daniel Suarez led some laps for good measure. That’s a good showing from a number of younger drivers, even if the final results don’t always do them justice. Alex Bowman and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. both placed in the Top 5, too. So while it wasn’t an all-around dominant performance from the young generation, it was definitely a nice showing under some adverse conditions.

3. Finally a good showing for Jimmie Johnson, which means ...

Maybe he’s turned the corner? Johnson said 2017 was his toughest season as a professional, but he won three races last year. So far, 2018 was easily shaping up to be his worst season. It might sound a bit hyperbolic, but could a third-place finish at Bristol be a sign Johnson is figuring it out? I wouldn’t bet against it. Johnson’s seven championships obviously speak for themselves, but he has been running better in recent weeks. Circumstances out of his control have held the 48 team back, but at Bristol, they definitely had some things figured out. Now to see if that carries over to next weekend.

Food City 500

The full race results, from the Associated Press:

Monday



At Bristol Motor Speedway

Bristol, Tenn.

Lap length: 0.533 miles

Starting position in parentheses

1. (1) Kyle Busch, Toyota, 500 laps.

2. (6) Kyle Larson, Chevrolet, 500.

3. (17) Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet, 500.

4. (4) Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Ford, 500.

5. (8) Alex Bowman, Chevrolet, 500.

6. (19) Aric Almirola, Ford, 500.

7. (39) Kevin Harvick, Ford, 500.

8. (14) Clint Bowyer, Ford, 500.

9. (10) Joey Logano, Ford, 500.

10. (30) Ryan Newman, Chevrolet, 500.

11. (12) Daniel Suarez, Toyota, 500.

12. (23) David Ragan, Ford, 500.

13. (7) Paul Menard, Ford, 499.

14. (25) Denny Hamlin, Toyota, 499.

15. (21) Austin Dillon, Chevrolet, 499.

16. (20) Darrell Wallace Jr., Chevrolet, 499.

17. (18) AJ Allmendinger, Chevrolet, 499.

18. (11) William Byron, Chevrolet, 498.

19. (31) Jamie McMurray, Chevrolet, 498.

20. (29) Landon Cassill, Chevrolet, 498.

21. (24) Matt DiBenedetto, Ford, 497.

22. (2) Kurt Busch, Ford, 496.

23. (3) Brad Keselowski, Ford, 495.

24. (33) Trevor Bayne, Ford, 495.

25. (34) Corey LaJoie, Chevrolet, 494.

26. (13) Erik Jones, Toyota, 494.

27. (35) DJ Kennington, Toyota, 482.

28. (32) Ty Dillon, Chevrolet, 475.

29. (16) Chase Elliott, Chevrolet, 473.

30. (26) Martin Truex Jr., Toyota, accident, 458.

31. (28) Gray Gaulding, Toyota, 448.

32. (36) Reed Sorenson, Chevrolet, accident, 342.

33. (38) Chad Finchum, Toyota, accident, 335.

34. (15) Kasey Kahne, Chevrolet, steering, 236.

35. (5) Ryan Blaney, Ford, accident, 117.

36. (22) Chris Buescher, Chevrolet, accident, 116.

37. (37) Harrison Rhodes, Chevrolet, accident, 115.

38. (9) Michael McDowell, Ford, accident, 9.

39. (27) Ross Chastain, Chevrolet, accident, 3.

Average Speed of Race Winner: 77.465 mph.

Time of Race: 3 hours, 26 minutes, 25 seconds.

Margin of Victory: 0.628 seconds.

Caution Flags: 13 for 114 laps.

Lead Changes: 18 among 8 drivers.

Lap Leaders: Kyle Busch 1-16; R. Blaney 17-55; J. Logano 56; R. Blaney 57-117; B. Keselowski 118-130; K. Larson 131-243; B. Keselowski 244-261; D. Hamlin 262-265; B. Keselowski 266-292; K. Larson 293-324; Kyle Busch 325-360; D. Suarez 361-365; B. Keselowski 366-374; D. Wallace Jr. 375-380; Kyle Busch 381-438; K. Larson 439-472; Kyle Busch 473; K. Larson 474-494; Kyle Busch 495-500.

Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led): K. Larson 4 times for 200 laps; Kyle Busch 5 times for 117 laps; R. Blaney 2 times for 100 laps; B. Keselowski 4 times for 67 laps; D. Wallace Jr. 1 time for 6 laps; D. Suarez 1 time for 5 laps; D. Hamlin 1 time for 4 laps; J. Logano 1 time for 1 lap.

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