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NASCAR results, 3 takeaways: Kurt Busch’s win at Bristol answers a lingering question

Kurt Busch had been the most consistent NASCAR Cup Series driver yet to win. Above, Busch’s wife, Ashley Van Metre (left), celebrates with her husband and his team after Saturday’s win at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tenn.
Kurt Busch had been the most consistent NASCAR Cup Series driver yet to win. Above, Busch’s wife, Ashley Van Metre (left), celebrates with her husband and his team after Saturday’s win at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tenn. AP

Kurt Busch won the Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race on Saturday, his first win of the season, but there are other implications from the race as well. Here are the three biggest takeaways from Saturday’s race at Bristol Motor Speedway:

1. Kurt Busch in the driver’s seat for a championship berth

With how dominant Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick and Martin Truex Jr. have been to date this season – they’ve collected 17 of this season’s first 24 Cup Series wins – there’s no doubting those three as championship favorites. But the lingering question has been: Who could join them? And while Kyle Larson or Clint Bowyer or even Chase Elliott have flashed at times, Kurt Busch’s victory on Saturday feels like an answer to that unknown. He’s been the most consistent driver yet to win, and now that he has that? He’s fourth in the playoff standings, right behind the Big 3... and the new favorite to join them in Homestead as one of the Championship 4.

BuschCar
An uninspiring end result for the Big 3 at Bristol included Kyle Busch crashing out of the race. Wade Payne AP

2. An underwhelming night for the Big 3 doesn’t change anything

Kyle Busch had an ... eventful, evening, part of which included wrecking Truex midway through the third stage. Then with about 18 laps to go, karma got back at Busch as he also crashed out of the race. Meanwhile, Harvick got caught in traffic and dealt with some problems himself, middling in the pack most of the night before ultimately finishing 10th. Overall, it was an uninspiring end result for the Big 3. It also doesn’t really matter. In the grand scheme of things, the Big 3 are so far ahead of everyone else that they can afford minor hiccups such as Bristol. And unlike in other sports where momentum can carry, the Big 3 will still be favorites at every track the rest of this year.

BuschBrosFILE-AP
After Saturday night’s win, Kyle (left) and Kurt Busch are now the first brothers in NASCAR history with 30 wins apiece. Paul Sancya AP File Photo

3. The lasting legacy for the Busch family name?

After Saturday night’s win, Kurt and Kyle Busch are now the first brothers in NASCAR history with 30 wins apiece. That’s no small feat. Now, whenever people think of the Pettys or the Allisons in terms of legendary racing brothers, the Busch brothers have to be included. They’ve also both won Cup Series championships, so this isn’t exactly a new revelation. Rather, Saturday night was a fine reminder that Kyle Busch isn’t the only brother worth mentioning still – one day, both will find their way to the Hall of Fame, too.

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NASCAR driver and current points leader Kyle Busch stopped by the Broadway Grand Prix in Myrtle Beach on Aug. 7 to discuss Darlington Raceway and race with fans. Busch was in Myrtle Beach for the Grand Opening of the PALM Charter School in Conway.

Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race

The full race results, from the Associated Press:

Saturday at Bristol Motor Speedway, Bristol, Tenn.

Lap length: 0.533 miles

(Start position in parentheses)

1. (9) Kurt Busch, Ford, 500 laps, 46 points.

2. (1) Kyle Larson, Chevrolet, 5048.

3. (2) Chase Elliott, Chevrolet, 500, 50.

4. (19) Joey Logano, Ford, 500, 45.

5. (14) Erik Jones, Toyota, 500, 39.

6. (16) Clint Bowyer, Ford, 500, 44.

7. (10) Ryan Blaney, Ford, 500, 46.

8. (22) Alex Bowman, Chevrolet, 500, 30.

9. (13) Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet, 500, 32.

10. (6) Kevin Harvick, Ford, 500, 36.

11. (23) Trevor Bayne, Ford, 500, 26.

12. (24) Ryan Newman, Chevrolet, 500, 25.

13. (18) Austin Dillon, Chevrolet, 500, 24.

14. (7) Denny Hamlin, Toyota, 500, 23.

15. (26) Kasey Kahne, Chevrolet, 500, 22.

16. (11) Brad Keselowski, Ford, 499, 21.

17. (15) David Ragan, Ford, 499, 20.

18. (21) Daniel Suarez, Toyota, 499, 19.

19. (28) Chris Buescher, Chevrolet, 499, 18.

20. (3) Kyle Busch, Toyota, 497, 17.

21. (32) Ty Dillon, Chevrolet, 496, 16.

22. (29) Matt DiBenedetto, Ford, 496, 15.

23. (5) William Byron, Chevrolet, 496, 14.

24. (12) Ricky Stenhouse Jr, Ford, 495, 13.

25. (39) Landon Cassill, Chevrolet, 493, 12.

26. (35) Ross Chastain, Chevrolet, 492, 0.

27. (40) Blake Jones, Toyota, 485, 10.

28. (37) Timmy Hill, Ford, 481, 0.

29. (20) Jamie McMurray, Chevrolet, 435, 8.

30. (17) Martin Truex Jr, Toyota, accident, 431, 7.

31. (8) Aric Almirola, Ford, 428, 19.

32. (34) JJ Yeley, Toyota, accident, 423, 0.

33. (36) Reed Sorenson, Chevrolet, accident, 338, 4.

34. (30) Corey Lajoie, Chevrolet, electrical, 234, 3.

35. (33) Jesse Little, Toyota, accident, 59, 0.

36. (4) Paul Menard, Ford, accident, 28, 1.

37. (31) Michael McDowell, Ford, accident, 10, 1.

38. (27) Bubba Wallace, Chevrolet, accident, 3, 1.

39. (25) AJ Allmendinger, Chevrolet, accident, 1, 1.

40. (38) Gray Gaulding, Chevrolet, accident, 1, 1.

Race Statistics

Average Speed of Race Winner: 89.543 mph.

Time of Race: 2 hours, 58 minutes, 35 seconds.

Margin of Victory: 0.367 seconds.

Caution Flags: 9 for 70 laps.

Lead Changes: 19 among 9 drivers.

Lap Leaders: K.Larson 1-13; K.Harvick 14-15; K.Larson 16; R.Blaney 17-62; K.Larson 63; R.Blaney 64-130; A.Almirola 131; K.Harvick 132-137; C.Elliott 138-191; R.Blaney 192-199; A.Almirola 200; J.Logano 201-254; K.Larson 255; J.Logano 256-296; C.Elliott 297-354; K.Larson 355; C.Bowyer 356-441; R.Newman 442; C.Bowyer 443-476; Ku.Busch 477-500

Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Led, Laps Led): R.Blaney, 3 times for 118 laps; C.Bowyer, 2 times for 118 laps; C.Elliott, 2 times for 110 laps; J.Logano, 2 times for 93 laps; Ku.Busch, 1 time for 23 laps; K.Larson, 5 times for 12 laps; K.Harvick, 2 times for 6 laps; A.Almirola, 2 times for 0 laps; R.Newman, 1 time for 0 laps.

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