After rain delayed the start of the Food City 300 NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Bristol (Ten.) Motor Speedway on Friday night, Kyle Busch dominated, leading 161 laps of the 300-lap race distance. But Busch lost his lead to Ryan Blaney on a restart. Blaney led the final seven laps en route to his second-career Nationwide Series win, his first of the 2014 season.
“I felt like if I could get to the top and be consistent, it would be hard for him (Busch) to pass us,” Blaney said.
According to Busch, he was unable to maintain his lead on the restart because of an excessive push from behind by Chase Elliott.
“I can’t go when my rear tires aren’t on the ground,” Busch said of the final restart.
Busch held on to finish second. Ty Dillon was fourth and Regan Smith rounded out the top-five. After the race, Smith confronted Dillon about how he raced the final laps.
“I squeezed him a couple of times, I guess. I’m racing for points,” Dillon said afterward. “I’m sorry he’s upset, but this is Bristol.”
Even the race winner wasn’t immune to the racing tension. An incident between Blaney and Kyle Larson, who led several laps around the midway point of the race, took Larson out of contention with about 20 laps remaining.
“First of all, I have to apologize to Kyle Larson,” Blaney said upon arriving in victory lane. “I didn’t mean to get into him there.”
Busch started on the pole with Blaney alongside in second. Busch ran up front until a competition caution on lap 60 during which Elliott Sadler and Elliott took only two tires to gain track position and restart up front. After taking four tires and fuel, Busch restarted seventh.
Sadler was able to remain up front until Elliott took the lead on a restart that followed a lap 84 caution. From there, Elliott and Sadler continued to run first and second, until Larson took over the second spot after a caution that came out around lap 110.
Larson took the lead at the halfway point, while Busch moved into second. Busch retook the lead soon after a lap 183 caution, and Larson lost a couple more positions before being caught up in the wreck that also involved Blaney and Dylan Kwasniewski.
When the race restarted with 13 laps to go, Busch was up front with Dillon in second. But soon after the race restarted, Dillon’s car got out of shape and Blaney took over the second spot.
Brendan Gaughan finished sixth, Kevin Harvick seventh, Erik Jones eighth, James Buescher ninth and Chris Buescher rounded out the top-10.