Kyle Busch felt Bristol was one of his best shots to win a race this season, and his frustration after a second-place finish turned to taking shots at his fellow competitors.
In the final stage, Busch came upon Joey Logano while leading and trying to fend off Kevin Harvick. Logano raced the top two hard, and Busch ultimately lost the lead and the win to Harvick.
“He’s nobody’s friend for a reason,” said Busch.
Busch did get back to Harvick’s bumper as the laps wound down, but could not mount a significant challenge. He said it never crossed his mind to wreck Harvick when he was close enough, and instead expressed frustration over those in the leader’s way coming to the finish. Both Harvick and Busch had to navigate around Joey Gase in the final set of corners.
“If that lap car wasn’t there, I would have blown it in on the outside or the inside, and maybe we would have banged each other’s doors or whatever and had a greater finish to the checkered flag,” said Busch. “But some of them dip(expletive) kids don’t know what the hell they’re doing or where they’re at, and can’t stay out of the way. Nothing like a Gase and a (Garrett) Smithley.”
Busch criticized Smithley in the playoff opener at Las Vegas last year. After running into the back of him, Busch said there are drivers on the track who have never won a late model race and don’t know where to put themselves.
After having to start in the rear of the field for the Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race, Busch swiftly moved up swiftly. Inside the top 20 at the first caution of the night on Lap 27, Busch moved into the top 10 before Lap 90. By Lap 100, he was running in the top five.
Moving to the high lane, Busch then started to rocket toward the top of the leaderboard. He finished the first stage (Lap 125) just behind Chase Elliott and then took the lead for the first time on Lap 131. With 41 laps to go, Busch retook the lead from Harvick, but his time out front lasted for 10 laps before Harvick was back in command.
Busch won the second stage and led 159 laps. It is the most laps Busch has led in a race this season and his 12th top-five finish.
Although he advanced into the second round of the playoffs, Busch is 10th on the playoff grid. Asked if he feels his team is close with speed and performance, Busch said, “No.”
Asked about going to Las Vegas next weekend, Busch responded, “We’ll be eliminated in the next round, so don’t care.”