BRISTOL, Tenn. – Chris Buescher tried to stretch his fuel to the end. When it didn’t make it, Kyle Busch pounced and ran off with the victory in the Food City 300 on Friday at Bristol Motor Speedway.
The XFINITY Series race went two laps beyond its 300-lap scheduled distance because of a late caution.
Busch took the lead on the green-white-checkered flag finish in the No. 54 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota after Buescher’s car sputtered and slowed coming out of Turn 2. He beat Kyle Larson to the finish line by 0.426 of a second for his eighth career XFINITY Series victory at the high-banked half-mile track.
“Tonight was one of those nights. You’re never really sure how it’s going to play out or how it’s going to work out, but you stay in the game until the end and somehow, sometimes it’s your night,” said Busch, who now owns 73 career XFINITY Series victories.
Pole sitter Denny Hamlin led 106 laps and finished third while Ty Dillon finished fourth. Daniel Suarez finished fifth and collected the $100,000 Dash 4 Cash bonus.
Buescher, the XFINITY Series points leader, led 106 laps but wound up finishing 11th. The Roush Fenway Racing driver took the lead on Lap 195 by staying out while the lead cars made pit stops under caution, and he remained in the lead until the final restart.
“We were faster than a lot of guys we were racing around all day and once we got track position we showed we could run away from these guys,” Buescher said. “We had the speed, but it wasn’t meant to be. I’m glad we took the chance. I wouldn’t change it if we could do it over again, but unfortunately it knocked us right out of a top 10 and out of win.”
Busch, who led a total of 89 laps, complimented the effort by Buescher and his team.
“He ran a great race. I mean, he was fast and did a really good job,” Busch said. “I’m still shocked how fast he was on those old tires. I could see sometimes when I’d get close enough to him that I could pressure him through the corner he could make mistakes. I was just hoping that one of those was going to be big enough and I was going to have a run on him and I could get by him. It never transpired until that restart when he ran out (of fuel).”
The finish cut into Buescher’s points lead over Dillon. Nineteen points now separate the drivers after 22 races. Chase Elliott and Regan Smith are third and fourth in the standings.
Elliott Sadler sits 82 points behind Buescher in fifth place in the standings. He finished 31st after making contact with Brendan Gaughan and the wall on Lap 250. At the time, Sadler was running 13th.