• 55°

Kyle Busch completes Bristol sweep

By Jenna Fryer

AP Auto Racing Writer

BRISTOL, Tenn. (AP) — Erik Jones really needed to win at Bristol, and Kyle Busch would have loved to celebrate the first Cup win for the kid he discovered.

But this is Bristol Motor Speedway, and Busch practically owns the place.

Busch swept the weekend for the second time in his career by winning the Monster Energy Cup Series race Saturday night. He also won in the Truck Series on Wednesday night and the Xfintiy Series on Friday night . He’s the only driver to pull of the sweep, and he also did it in 2010.

Busch toyed with the crowd, which had equal cheers and boos, by cupping his ear to the fans who disapproved of the win.

“So proud of Rowdy Nation. This one’s for you!” he shouted.

And the haters?

“I don’t care. All noise is good noise,” he said.

He then collected a broom from an onlooker to commemorate the sweep.

Busch admitted this win was the most difficult of the week because of the race he had with rookie Erik Jones, his protege, future teammate and fellow Toyota driver. Jones led the most laps and the rookie believes he needs a victory to lock up his spot in the playoffs.

“Erik Jones put up a whale of a fight,” said Busch. “I was running with my tongue hanging out, my arms were Jell-O and my throat hurts.”

Busch won for the 40th time in the Cup Series, sixth time at Bristol in Cup, and second time this season. All told, he’s won 20 times across NASCAR’s national series at the Tennessee bullring.

Jones settled for second, one spot short of his first career victory. He led a race-high 260 laps and felt it had been his best chance to date to win a Cup race.

He was admittedly bummed to fall a spot short, but conceded how difficult it is to beat Busch anywhere, particularly at Bristol. Busch is also Jones’ former boss, and Jones was admired at Busch’s ability to win three national NASCAR races in four nights.

Jones said he’s done a triple duty weekend before, and “it was something I honestly never want to do again, so I respect him for that.

“He’s a hardcore racer, he really commits himself to that and he does a really good job that he doesn’t let it affect his Cup racing, at all,” Jones said.

Denny Hamlin and Matt Kenseth were third and fourth as Joe Gibbs Racing took the win and two other spots inside the top four, while all four drivers were in Toyotas.

Busch passed Jones for the lead with 55 laps remaining as the track changed and the top lane became the preferable spot. Jones’ car didn’t handle as well in that area, and he had Busch and Kenseth all over his bumper. It was Busch who moved from third to first, but Jones didn’t relent.

He chased Kenseth after Kenseth moved into second, and he ultimately gouged Kenseth out of his way. It put Jones in the middle of a weird JGR sandwich. In front of him, Busch, the driver who launched Jones’ career and future teammate, and Kenseth, the guy Jones is replacing next season who is looking for 2018 employment.

Hamlin eventually took position from Kenseth, but it was so obviously a night for Toyota.

Martin Truex Jr. finished 21st and did not clinch the regular-season title.

UP NEXT: NASCAR’s top series is off next weekend for the final break of the season. The Cup Series resumes at Darlington Raceway for the Sept. 3 race that celebrates throwback eras of NASCAR.

___

More AP Auto Racing: http://racing.ap.org

Comments

News

Catawba College hosts three in-person commencement ceremonies

Local

With high case loads causing numerous staff departures, Child Protective Services seeks more positions

Education

Livingstone College graduates celebrate ‘crossing the finish line’ during commencement celebration

Coronavirus

Rowan sees 4 new COVID-19 deaths as mask mandate lifted, vaccines administered continue decline

Local

Spencer is latest town updating its development ordinance

Local

Salisbury native Kristy Woodson Harvey makes NY Times bestseller list

Local

Board of Commissioners will convene for third time in May

Business

Biz Roundup: Salisbury, Kannapolis among recipients of Region of Excellence Awards

Local

Cheerleading team competes at Disney

Education

Salisbury High to celebrate football, swimming champions with parade

High School

High school girls soccer: Isley, Webb lead all-county team

Local

Spencer awarded $10,000 to develop trails at Stanback Forest

Books

‘Tails and Tales’ coming to library this summer

Local

Public Records: March Deeds

Entertainment

Salisbury Symphony’s ‘Return to the Concert Hall’ available May 24-31

Coronavirus

Salisbury teen becomes one of first in age group to receive COVID-19 vaccine

Business

Down Goat: Local farm and creamery poised to add goat yoga, artisan goat cheese to offerings

Local

Pandemic’s impact, uncertainty of transit funding prompt request to eliminate Rowan Express service

Lifestyle

New Waterworks’ exhibit opens June 1

High School

High school football: Walsh accepts the South football challenge

Lifestyle

Price of Freedom Museum gets donated landscape project

Lifestyle

Rowan Museum will have Upscale Yard Sale Saturday

Business

Seventh dragon boat festival set for July 24; deadline for sponsorships is May 28

Nation/World

‘Shocking and horrifying’: Israel destroys AP office in Gaza