Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports
Kyle Busch became the 18th driver in NASCAR premier series history to win at least 40 career races with his victory at the 2017 Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race on Saturday.
Busch has had an incredible week at Bristol Motor Speedway, sweeping the Camping World Truck Series, Xfinity Series and Monster Energy Series races.
The No. 18 car started from the 18th position, though that didn’t faze it one bit. Busch earned the extra playoff point by winning the first stage, passing pole-sitter Erik Jones and Kyle Larson with two laps remaining:
NASCAR on NBC @NASCARonNBC
The bump and run! Reminder this was just Stage 1! Kyle Busch won it over Kyle Larson and Erik Jones, presented by @Kroger! #ClickList https://t.co/W21owJ0D4W
Matt Kenseth earned a playoff point by winning the second stage and was in the top three with 19 laps to go before his tires started to fade on him.
Here is the top-10 finishers from Saturday’s NASCAR race at Bristol, via NASCAR.com:
1. Kyle Busch
2. Erik Jones
3. Denny Hamlin
4. Matt Kenseth
5. Kurt Busch
6. Ryan Newman
7. Trevor Bayne
8. Kevin Harvick
9. Kyle Larson
10. Ryan Blaney
After Busch took home the checkered flag, NBC’s cameras and audio captured him celebrating the moment with his team:
Listen to that emotion from @KyleBusch after the @BMSupdates sweep! #ItsBristolBaby https://t.co/XhJKcokl9P
There was also an incredible moment on the track when NBC was interviewing Busch and he acted like Hulk Hogan after joining the New World Order:
NBC Sports @NBCSports
.@KyleBusch had a message for his haters, and one for Rowdy Nation after getting the sweep at @BMSUpdates! #NASCARonNBC #ItsBristolBaby https://t.co/TVdHi2X9x7
This turned into a two-man show between Busch and Jones. The duo led for 416 out of 500 laps, with Jones setting the pace with 260 laps led. Busch earned 53 points for the win and moved into second place in the overall point standings, trailing Martin Truex Jr. by 101 points.
Nick Bromberg of Yahoo Sports noted the win also moves Busch within shouting distance of Richard Petty’s career total:
Nick Bromberg @NickBromberg
Kyle Busch is now 20 wins away from Richard Petty’s 200 wins.
What a time to be alive.
The key difference is Busch’s win total of 180 is combined between the Monster Energy Series, Xfinity Series and Truck Series. Petty won all 200 races in his career in the premier circuit.
At 32 years old, Busch certainly has a legitimate chance to surpass the record held by the King. He did have a touchy moment in the middle of the race going into pit road that cost him five spots on the leaderboard, though he didn’t let that hold him down for long.
Busch’s win came at the expense of Jones, who is still seeking his first win on the Monster Energy Series. The rookie is starting to hit his stride at this level of NASCAR with six top-10 finishes in his last eight races.
There was also poetry down the stretch in the race as Jones and Matt Kenseth were fighting for positioning late. Jones is taking Kenseth’s spot with Joe Gibbs Racing after the season, and the two briefly rubbed fenders while trying to keep up with Busch.
Jones got the last laugh by finishing two spots ahead of Kenseth.
Among other drivers to finish in the top 10, Kevin Harvick and Kurt Busch made the biggest moves. Harvick climbed 21 spots after starting from the No. 29 position. Kurt wound up in the top five from the No. 25 starting position.
This night, though, was about Busch and his dominance on the track in Bristol. He was the star of the week coming into Saturday thanks to his two earlier victories, and this win put the cherry on top of an incredible sundae that brings him closer to the top spot in the playoff chase.