Kyle Busch nudges Kevin Harvick out of the way, holds on to break 36-race winless streak at Pocono

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Kyle Busch has tried everything he could to break his 36-race winless streak, which dated back to last season’s Brickyard 400 triumph.

But when it came down to it, it was a simple, slight nudge by Busch to push Kevin Harvick out of the way with 16 laps remaining to break the winless streak in Sunday’s Overton’s 400 at Pocono Raceway.

“Finally, eh?” Busch said over his team radio shortly after crossing the finish line.

Harvick had moved to the front of the field and passed Denny Hamlin on Lap 144 when, moments later, Busch nudged him aside just before the start-finish line to retake the lead.

Busch started the race from the pole and led 74 of the 160 scheduled laps, finishing with nearly a six-second margin of victory. The win was the 39th of his NASCAR Cup career.

“Never thought this day would happen,” Busch told NBCSN on the frontstretch after taking the checkered flag from the flag stand. “Such an awesome race car. We’ve been fighting all year long and weren’t sure why or what was next. This is something I’ve been waiting for a long, long time.”

MORE: Results, stats for the Cup Series race at Pocono

MORE: With Kyle Busch win, Chase Elliott highest driver in Cup points without win

The outcome marked two significant milestones:

  • It was the 100th NASCAR Cup win for Toyota. And it was the 400th overall NASCAR win for Toyota (100 for Cup, 135 for Xfinity and 165 for Trucks)
  • It also was Busch’s first career NASCAR Cup win at the Tricky Triangle, leaving just one track on the circuit (Charlotte Motor Speedway) that Busch has yet to win a Cup race at.

However, there was one slight negative to Busch’s win: NASCAR officials informed him in victory lane that he had one loose lug nut on his car, which means the team will likely face a $10,000 fine in the next few days. The No. 6 of Trevor Bayne and No. 17 of Ricky Stenhouse Jr. were also found to have loose lug nuts in post-race inspection.

Harvick finished second, followed by Martin Truex Jr., Denny Hamlin and Brad Keselowski.

The race didn’t even reach one completed lap when a major wreck occurred involving entering Turn 3. Matt Kenseth appeared to get loose, with several cars wrecking behind trying to avoid him, including Austin Dillon, Danica Patrick, Paul Menard, Matt DiBenedetto, Chris Buescher, Aric Almirola and Michael McDowell.

Almirola and DiBenedetto saw their day come to a quick end due to irreparable damage to their Ford Fusions.

“It’s frustrating we couldn’t make even one lap,” Almirola told NBCSN.

STAGE WINNERS: Kyle Busch won Stage 1 (his eighth of the season and fourth consecutive stage win over the last 3 races), while Clint Bowyer captured Stage 2, his first stage win of the season.

WHO ELSE HAD A GOOD RACE: Even with being forced out of the way, Kevin Harvick still held on to a strong runner-up finish. … Clint Bowyer finished sixth and earned his first stage win of the season (won Stage 2). Bowyer has now earned four top-seven finishes in his last six starts.

WHO HAD A BAD RACE: Aric Almirola (finished 38th) and Matt DiBenedetto (37th) didn’t even finish one lap before their respective days ended early, being involved in a multi-car wreck entering Turn 3 on the opening lap. … Jimmie Johnson’s day ended after 57 laps when he bounced off teammate Kasey Kahne’s car and backed the No. 48 into the outside wall. … A drivetrain issue left Kyle Larson with a 33rd place finish.

NOTABLE: It’s been so long since Busch won a Cup race that he made a slight faux pas in victory lane. During his NBCSN interview, he said, “This is Toyota’s 100th Sprint Cup, uh, Monster Energy win. This is the first time I’ve been doing this (since Monster took over for Sprint as series entitlement sponsor this season), so I need a break.”

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “It’s been a frustrating year but an awesome day today.” – Race winner Kyle Busch.

WHAT’S NEXT: I Love New York 355 at The Glen; Sunday, August 6, 3 p.m. ET, Watkins Glen International.

Follow @JerryBonkowski

 

Points leader Elliott Sadler clinches Xfinity playoff spot after finishing third at Bristol

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Even though he hasn’t won this year, Elliott Sadler earned himself a spot in the Xfinity Series playoffs Friday night at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Sadler is the fourth driver to qualify for the playoffs. He joins Ryan Reed, William Byron and Justin Allgaier, who clinched spots through race wins.

The JR Motorsports driver and the series points leader finished third in the Food City 300 for his ninth top five of the year.

“Man, we had a great car,” Sadler told NBCSN. “I hit the wall with like 50 to go. Then I threw my water bottle out and it got in the jack man’s way, messed us up. We’re peaking at the right time.”

Sadler has led the Xfinity Series point standings for the last 10 races and following 20 of the 22 races this year.

Following Sadler in the top five is William Byron (-110), Allgaier (-136), Brennan Poole (-186) and Daniel Hemric (-206).

Brendan Gaughan is on the playoff bubble. He is 43 points above the cutoff line. Ross Chastain is 13th on the playoff grid.

Click here for the point standings.

Results, stats for the Xfinity Series race at Bristol

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Kyle Busch won the Food City 300 at Bristol Motor Speedway for his fifth Xfinity Series win of the year.

He led 186 laps and swept all three stages.

Completing the top five were Daniel Suarez, Elliott Sadler, Ty Dillon and Justin Allgaier.

Click here for full results.

Kyle Busch wins Food City 300 at Bristol Motor Speedway

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Kyle Busch once again dominated a NASCAR race at Bristol Motor Speedway, winning Friday night’s Food City 300.

Busch led 186 laps on the way to the win, his fifth Xfinity Series victory of the season.

The Joe Gibbs Racing driver fended off the field in a nine-lap shootout following a late caution.

The top five was completed by Daniel Suarez, Elliott Sadler, Ty Dillon and Justin Allgaier.

Busch moved one step closer to a sweep of the race week. He won Wednesday’s Camping World Truck Series race. If he wins Saturday’s Cup race, it will be the second time he’s swept all three Bristol races after doing it in 2010.

Just like Wednesday, Busch fought through the field after a mid-race speeding penalty to earn the win.

“At least I didn’t have to come through (the field) in the last stage because everybody was pretty fast there tonight in the last stage,” Busch said. “I don’t know if I would have been able to make it all the way back up through there. Suárez gave us a heck of a run there. I was trying to push hard and he was closing in on us a little bit there before that last caution came out. Once that caution came out everything cooled down and my car wasn’t even close to what it was before, so I don’t know how I held on to it. The car was just so sideways.”

The win is Busch’s 91st in the Xfinity Series.

STAGE 1 WINNER: Kyle Busch

STAGE 2 WINNER: Kyle Busch

MORE: Race Results

MORE: Points standings

WHO HAD A GOOD NIGHT: Allgaier led twice for 75 laps and earned his sixth top five of the season … Sadler led once for 15 laps and clinched a spot in the playoffs … Ty Dillon earned his second top five of the season and beset finish in 19 starts … Joey Logano bounced back from a flat tire and going to two laps down to finish ninth.

WHO HAD A BAD NIGHT: Ryan Reed and Aric Almirola wrecked on Lap 25 after they pinched Spencer Gallagher on the backstretch. Almirola finished 38th. … Reed caused the following caution after damage from the previous wreck cut a tire, sending him into the wall. Reed finished 37th … Brendan Gaughan had one unscheduled pit stop for a tire rub. He was then involved in a crash with 15 to go after being tagged by Jeb Burton, who had lost a tire. He finished 30th … William Byron lost a tire with less than 10 to go and had to pit. He finished 22nd.

NOTABLE: With his win, Busch is nine wins away from reaching 100 Xfinity wins. Busch has said he’ll retire from Xfinity competition once he reaches 100 … Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished 13th in his first Xfinity start of the year.

QUOTE OF THE NIGHT: “Two weeks in a row. I know he doesn’t have a lot of race and I like him a lot normally, but right now I’m going to knock the hell out of him. The first time he gave me a flat and the second time he says he blew a tire. If you know you’ve got a tire going then don’t drive underneath somebody. The last couple of weeks I’ve been driven with no respect. We put ourselves back in a decent spot and we’re going to go to Road America and win that sucker.” – Brendan Gaughan after his late wreck with Jeb Burton.

NEXT: Johnsonville 180 at Road America at 3 p.m. ET on Aug. 27 on NBC.

Starting lineup for Cup night race at Bristol

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Erik Jones and Kyle Larson will start on the front row of the Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway (coverage begins at 7:30 p.m. ET Saturday on NBC).

Jones starts from his first Cup pole.

Completing the top five are Kasey Kahne, Chase Elliott and Matt Kenseth.

Click here for the starting lineup.