Kyle Busch wins Xfinity event at Atlanta, takes first step toward a tripleheader sweep


It’s one down, two to go for Kyle Busch this weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

The younger Busch brother is one-third of the way to a weekend sweep, capturing Saturday’s Rinnai 250 NASCAR Xfinity Series race at the 1.54-mile oval in Hampton, Georgia.

Shortly after celebrating in victory lane, Busch was scheduled to climb into a truck and go for a second win in the afternoon’s Active Pest Control 200 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race.

MORE: Results of Xfinity Series race at Atlanta

MORE: Xfinity points standings after Atlanta, Elliott Sadler moves into lead

The 2015 NASCAR Cup champ then hopes to wrap things up with a third weekend win in Sunday’s main event, the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race.

It was Busch’s 87th career victory in the Xfinity Series and his second consecutive win in NASCAR’s junior series at AMS, having earned his first Xfinity win at AMS last year.

“Pretty proud to put ourselves in Victory Lane here once again,” Busch said. “It took me so long to get here to begin with, and now we won two in a row. That feels really good. … What else can I say? We just keep knocking them out of the park here in the Xfinity Series. But we love it, and we wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.”

Brad Keselowski finished second in the Xfinity event, followed by Kyle Larson, Kevin Harvick and Elliott Sadler.

Finishing sixth through 10th were Darrell Wallace Jr., rookie William Byron, Austin Dillon, Daniel Hemric and Cole Custer.

There were six lead changes and five cautions in the scheduled 163-lap event.

STAGE 1 (Laps 1-40) WINNER: Brad Keselowski

STAGE 2 (Laps 41-80) WINNER: Kevin Harvick

WHO ELSE HAD A GOOD RACE: Elliott Sadler was the highest-finishing Xfinity Series regular (fifth place). Other Xfinity regulars with good finishes were Darrell Wallace Jr. (sixth), who overcame early contact with the wall, and rookie William Byron (seventh).

WHO HAD A BAD RACE: Blake Koch’s rough weekend came to an early end in last place after a Lap 2 crash. Kock piled into Ty Dillon, who appeared to lose a left-rear tire in the first turn. … Jordan Anderson also lasted just two laps before his day came to an abrupt end.

NOTABLE: Brendan Gaughan recovered from a late Stage 2 incident to finish 13th. On the other hand, Denny Hamlin was unable to recover much from a Stage 2 spin and finished 20th.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “To get second is (like) kissing your sister, but it is still better than nothing, I guess.” – Second-place finisher Brad Keselowski.

WHAT’S NEXT: March 11, Boyd Gaming 300 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Follow @JerryBonkowski

Erik Jones gets belated Truck Series championship gift

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When Erik Jones won his 2015 Camping World Truck Series championship, he was still two years shy of the legal drinking age.

As a result, there was one piece missing from his championship celebration – the champagne.

Jones turned 21 last May and he can now enjoy all the benefits that go with it.

On Tuesday, the Joe Gibbs Racing driver tweeted that he’d finally received a commemorative bottle of champagne for his title run win Kyle Busch Motorsports.

Good things do come to those who wait.

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NBC Sports to be exclusive home to IndyCar, Indy 500 in 2019

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NBC Sports Group and IndyCar announced a multi-year agreement Wednesday for NBC Sports to be the exclusive home for IndyCar and the Indianapolis 500 beginning in 2019.

The Indianapolis 500 and seven additional Verizon IndyCar Series races will be broadcast annually on NBC. The remaining races will be televised on NBCSN. All races will be live streamed to authenticated subscribers on and the NBC Sports app. With the agreement, NBC Sports also will present all IndyCar qualifying, practices and Indy Lights races across its platforms beginning in 2019. Details of NBC Sports’ 2019 IndyCar schedule will be announced at a later date.

“We’re excited to have NBC Sports serve as the exclusive home of IndyCar, which represents the most competitive open-wheel racing in the world,” said Jon Miller, President, Programming, NBC Sports and NBCSN. “We’re honored to bring the Indianapolis 500, one of the most prestigious events in all of sports, to NBC, further enhancing NBC Sports’ Championship Season. We’ve seen consistent growth for IndyCar on NBCSN in the past decade, and we hope to continue that growth throughout the series by leveraging the television, digital, production and marketing assets that make NBC Sports a powerful media partner.”

(Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

“This arrangement brings all of IndyCar to one home, increases our exposure and includes our first direct-to-consumer offer for our fans,” said Mark Miles, CEO of Hulman & Company, which owns IndyCar and Indianapolis Motor Speedway. “We couldn’t be happier to have start-to-finish coverage of IndyCar season with the NBC Sports Group.”

The 103rd running of the Indianapolis 500, set for Sunday, May 26, 2019, will be the first ever on NBC. The Indy 500 will also be included every year in NBC Sports’ Championship Season marketing campaign, which touts numerous high-profile championship events that are presented across NBC Sports platforms from May to July, including the Triple Crown, The PLAYERS, Premier League Championship Sunday, French Open, Stanley Cup Final, Tour de France, and The Open Championship.

The entire Verizon IndyCar Series will receive unprecedented marketing and promotional support from NBC Sports, which will utilize not only its own assets, but many NBCUniversal assets as well. With the Indy 500 and seven additional races on NBC, IndyCar will have the second-most races on broadcast television in all of motorsports.

NBC Sports Gold – NBC Sports Group’s direct-to-consumer product – will offer a package to IndyCar fans that features all qualifying and practices not televised live, all Indy Lights races, and full-event replays. Additional details, including the cost of the Gold offering, will be announced at a later date.


NASCAR America: Comparing today’s drivers to drivers of yesteryear

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With Kevin Harvick‘s recent run of three consecutive wins, NASCAR America analysts Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jeff Burton and Steve Letarte used the opportunity debate which NASCAR legends they compare Harvick and other current drivers to.

Burton compared Harvick to three-time Cup champion Cale Yarborough.

“I think they remind me a lot of each other because they’re both very aggressive, they both got after it, good at every kind of race track,” Burton said.

Earnhardt sees some of 1983 Cup champion Bobby Allison in Harvick.

“Won a championship, won a lot of races, but wasn’t afraid to put his finger in another driver’s chest,” Earnhardt said.

When it comes to Daytona 500 winner Austin Dillon, Earnhardt compared him and Denny Hamlin to the late Tim Richmond.

“Mainly in style,” Earnhardt said. “They’re the kind of guys that are a little flashy, a lot of flair outside the car. … Tim was that way. He wasn’t scared to flaunt it a little bit and he enjoyed life outside the race car as much as he did inside the race car.”

Watch the above video for more old school driver comparisons.


NASCAR America: Importance of keeping NASCAR connected to grassroots racing

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The importance of grassroots racing to the future of NASCAR is a constant subject these days thanks to the likes of Kevin Harvick and Kyle Larson.

Now NASCAR America’s Dale Earnhardt Jr., Steve Letarte and Jeff Burton get their chance to sound off on the subject.

On Tuesday’s episode, the panel of analysts discussed why keeping NASCAR connected to the short tracks and lower series across the country is vital to the sport’s future.

“We don’t have that national series running old short tracks that draws people to the race track but also draws them to the TV on Saturday and Sunday,” Burton said.

Earnhardt brought up an attempt by Bristol Motor Speedway to purchase the Fairgrounds Speedway in Nashville, Tennessee, last year.  The attempted failed.

“My heart was broken because I thought we had a real opportunity to bring one of the touring series, either the Truck or Xfinity, back to Fairgrounds,” Earnhardt said. “That’s where I think we’re broken or disconnected. The late model guys and the guys that are running on these local tracks don’t have the connection to the Truck Series or Xfinity Series. They need to take those series, Truck or Xfinity, back to the short tracks and bridge that link.”

The three analysts went on to discuss the short tracks and races that were part of their formative racing years.

Watch the above video for more.