Kyle Larson’s first chance to get a big win in NASCAR ended with him claiming a controversial win last month.
With a shot at grabbing his first Nationwide Series win Saturday in Bristol, Tenn., he wasn’t going to make that mistake again.
Especially not against Kyle Busch.
Larson stalked Busch over the closing laps around Bristol Motor Speedway waiting to make a move. It came as they closed in on the finish line, and Larson made a last-gasp push on the high side that fell just short as Busch held on for his second win of the season.
But in chasing the win the right way, the 20-year-old Larson cleaned up some of the criticism that had followed him from Daytona last month after spinning C.E. Falk III on the final lap of the “Battle at the Beach” late model race.
“You certainly want to try to win races the right way,” Busch said. “He played it smart today. That was good on his end. I think a lot of people have been looking at him to try to see if he’s going to be a wrecker or a checker.”
It was Busch’s fifth career Nationwide victory at Bristol, tying him with Kevin Harvick for the most in the series.
Brian Vickers was third and was followed by Nationwide Series points leader Sam Hornish Jr. and Harvick.
KALITTA LEADS TOP FUEL
Doug Kalitta qualified first in the NHRA Gatornationals in Gainesville, Fla., with a run of 3.779 seconds at a top speed of 326.32 mph.
Cruz Pedregon topped the Funny Car field, Mike Edwards led the Pro Stock competition, and Matt Smith was the fastest in the Pro Stock Motorcycle season opener.
GEN-6 CAR HITS BRISTOL
Today’s Sprint Cup race at Tennessee’s Bristol Motor Speedway will be the fourth for the new Gen-6 car, and the first this season on a short track. It could be the spark NASCAR needs at a time officials seem to be holding their breath.
“You get the collective sense in this sport that everyone is feeling a lot of pressure, and if we don’t have a perfect week every week, everybody just kind of shakes down in their boots,” defending champion Brad Keselowski said.
Nobody knows what to expect at a track once beloved for its action-packed racing and drama.
Busch will start from the pole today. Enumclaw’s Kasey Kahne will start second, and Vancouver, Wash., native Greg Biffle will start 24th.
RAIN DOWN UNDER
Qualifying for the Formula One season opener in Melbourne, Australia, will be completed today after a series of rain delays and darkness prevented the running of second and third sessions Saturday.