Kyle Busch wins Food City 500

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Kyle Busch won the Food City 500 after giving Kyle Larson a bump and passing him out of Turn 4 coming to five laps to go at Bristol Motor Speedway.

It is Busch’s second consecutive win of the year and his seventh victory at Bristol. He also won last August’s race at the track.

Busch beat Larson, Jimmie Johnson, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Alex Bowman.

Busch led 117 of 500 laps from the pole while Larson led a race-high 200.

His win comes more than 24 hours after the race started and was delayed multiple times for rain, including overnight. The race finally went back to green at 1:43 p.m. ET Monday afternoon.

“Tell you what, you just got to stay focused for the entirety of it and try to keep going,” Busch to Fox. “We knew it (the car) was going to be good in the long runs. We weren’t quite as good as the 42 (Larson) on that long run before that last caution came out. I actually thought I had a tire going down. We were able to get some tires on it and go give it everything we had.”

The final run to the finish was set up by a caution with 31 laps to go when Brad Keselowski lost a left-front tire and got into the wall while running two laps down. The green flag waved with 22 laps to go.

“As soon as we restarted there I was extremely loose,” Larson told Fox. “The 17 (Stenhouse) got to my side and I just didn’t have any grip. I thought it would tighten up for me and I could get going, but it never really did. … Hate that I didn’t win. Another one at Bristol. Feel like every time I race here I almost get a win. It’s a fun race.”

Larson finished second after spinning from the lead on Lap 324. He spun from contact with the lapped car of Ryan Newman.

MORE: Points standings

MORE: Race results

STAGE 1 WINNER: Brad Keselowski

STAGE 2 WINNER: Brad Keselowski

WHO HAD GOOD DAY: Jimmie Johnson managed to earn his first top five in 14 starts … Ricky Stenhouse Jr. spun on Lap 61 and had an uncontrolled tire penalty on Lap 130 and managed to earn his first top five and top 10 of the season … Alex Bowman earned the first top five of his Cup career … Aric Almirola placed sixth for his best finish of the year.

WHO HAD A BAD DAY: Nine cars were involved in a wreck to bring out the caution on Lap 5, including Chase Elliott, William Byron, Martin Truex Jr, Daniel Suarez, AJ Allmendinger, Ross Chastain and Michael McDowell. McDowell and Chastain were eliminated from the race … Allmendinger brought out the caution on Lap 18 for a single-car spin. He finished 17th … Ryan Blaney was leading when he was eliminated in a five-car wreck eight laps from the end of Stage 1. He finished 35th … Trevor Bayne brought out the caution on Lap 155 when he spun into the wall. He finished 24th … After his late-race caution, Brad Keselowski finished 23rd.

NOTABLE: Darrell Wallace Jr. led six laps, marking the first laps led of his Cup career. He finished 16th … Kyle Busch earned Joe Gibbs Racing its 150th Cup win … Kyle Busch hasn’t finished worse than third in the last six races … Ricky Stenhouse Jr. has one unsecured lug nut.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “We’ve been beat by Kyle (Busch) about every time we race here. That gets frustrating after a while.” – Kyle Larson to Fox after finishing second.

WHAT’S NEXT: Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond Raceway at 6:30 p.m. ET on April 21 on Fox.

Cup starting lineup at New Hampshire has Brad Keselowski, Kyle Busch on front row

Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images
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Rivals Brad Keselowski and Kyle Busch will share the front row for Sunday’s Cup race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway (4 p.m. ET on NBCSN).

Keselowski won his 15th career pole – and first since August 2017 – on Friday. He will have Busch start next to him.

MORE: Cup starting lineup

The rivals have had numerous run-ins throughout the their career.

Kurt Busch, who won last weekend at Kentucky, qualified third and is followed by Erik Jones and Ryan Blaney.

Three drivers will start at the rear: Denny Hamlin (backup), Alex Bowman (backup) and Ryan Newman (backup).

Brad Keselowski wins Cup pole at New Hampshire

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Brad Keselowski scored his first Cup pole since 2017, taking the top spot Friday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

Keselowski topped the field with a lap of 136.384 mph. This is Keselowski’s 15th career Cup pole and first since Michigan in August 2017, a span of 68 races.

Keselowski’s run denied Toyota its first pole of the season. Keselowski will be joined on the front row by Kyle Busch (136.311 mph).

MORE: Cup qualifying results

Kurt Busch, who won last weekend at Kentucky, will start third after a lap of 136.238 mph. Erik Jones qualified fourth with a lap of 136.189 mph.

Jones’ performance is part of a promising week for him. He stated Friday that he is “close” to signing an extension with Joe Gibbs Racing. Jones’ contract expires after this season.

Ryan Blaney completed the top five with a lap of 136.116 mph. Martin Truex Jr. qualified sixth at 136.082 mph, and Matt DiBenedetto qualified a career-best seventh at 135.990 mph. DiBenedetto’s previous best Cup start was ninth in this year’s Daytona 500.

Alex Bowman had a driveshaft failure on his qualifying run and did not complete a lap. He will start at the rear of the field.

“Just a big boom going down the front straightaway and smoke and oil everywhere,” Bowman told NBCSN.

Bowman will go to a backup car.

Denny Hamlin and Ryan Newman also will start at the rear of the field because they both went to backup cars after separate incidents late in Friday’s only Cup practice session.

Andy Seuss (qualified 35th) and Austin Theriault (36th) both will be making their Cup debut Sunday.

Daniel Hemric qualified 19th. HIs car failed inspection twice before qualifying and a crew member was ejected.

 

Erik Jones ‘close’ to re-signing after meeting with Joe Gibbs this week

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LOUDON, N.H. – After meeting with team owner Joe Gibbs this week, Erik Jones believes he finally is “close” to signing an extension with the team after a few months of negotiations.

“We’ve had some good meetings, positive meetings, so we’re moving in the right direction,” Jones said during Friday afternoon’s qualifying session at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. “I’d love to get it done here soon. We’ve had good meetings between my guys and JGR. I’ve had good meetings with Coach talking about it and moving forward. I know I keep saying it, but I feel like we’re pretty close to getting it done.”

The uncertainty for the 2020 season seemingly has been no distraction in 2019 for Jones, who believes he is close to ending a yearlong winless streak. He has notched six top 10s in the past nine races to move into the 16th and final provisional spot for the playoffs with seven races remaining in the regular season.

The Byron, Michigan, native said he told Gibbs “I want to get (the extension) done. We both want to get it done and move forward and stop worrying about it and stop focusing on it, but we’re close. Hopefully here soon.”

An extension for Jones would mean JGR has a full lineup of four drivers signed for 2020 and shift the focus to what is next for Xfinity driver Christopher Bell, who is under contract to JGR next season.

“I think you know as much as I do,” Bell said Friday morning when asked about what series he will race next year. “Actually, you probably know a little bit more than I do. Ultimately, it’s not up to me. I can’t make the decisions, so I’m just along for the ride.”

Bell indicated his desire to move to Cup last season, and a Leavine Family Racing Toyota could be an option if JGR wants to farm him out for 2020 in NASCAR’s premier series.

“I learned early on in my career that a race car driver is only as good as the equipment,” Bell said. “I definitely want to make sure that I’m in equipment that can win.”

Jeffrey Earnhardt releases his remaining races for 2019

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Jeffrey Earnhardt announced his schedule for the rest of the season Friday.

He is scheduled to run six Xfinity races and one Cup race the rest of this season.

His Xfinity races will be Mid-Ohio (Aug. 10), Bristol (Aug. 16), Road America (Aug. 24), Darlington (Aug. 31), ISM Raceway (Nov. 9) and Miami (Nov. 16). He’ll drive the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Xfinity car at Mid-Ohio, Road America, ISM Raceway and Miami. He’ll drive the No. 81 Xtreme Concepts Racing car at Bristol and Darlington.

He’ll also drive the No. 81 Xtreme Concepts Racing Cup car at Talladega on Oct. 13.