21 March 2011
Busch is the boss at Bristol
Edwards had expected to have another chance at the lead, but found Busch simply too fast in the end. "I thought we'd be better matched with him," Edwards said. "I thought I'd be able to race with him harder for those last 15 to 20 laps, but he took off, and I was a little loose off, and I just couldn't get back to him to race.
He admitted having fun during the earlier battle for the lead during that final stint: "While we were racing for the first couple of laps after the restart, it was a blast. If I would have known that was the only shot I was going to have, I might have raced a little harder." Did he consider bumping Kyle out of the way like he had in the past? "I don't know that you could really bump a guy and just move him. You might cause a big wreck. You might wreck yourself!"
The old "bump and grind" style of racing seen at Bristol has seemingly been replaced by side-by-side running, just as was seen earlier this season at Daytona. The drivers approved: "The old track lent itself to more contact," Johnson explained later. "There was no outside lane. You would just go in and move the guy off the bottom and take the lane from him ... From a racer's standpoint, we can race finally [on the new track.] This place is fun to race at."
And so the white flag came out for Kyle Busch, and 15s later the win - and the clean sweep - was his. It's Kyle's 20th Sprint Cup career win and his first of the 2011 season; but he didn't claim the extra point for most laps led, as Johnson's 164 laps beat his own 153, but that was unimportant as Busch rebounded up eight places in the Sprint Cup standings following the result at Bristol, after former points leader Tony Stewart could only manage 19th in the race.
Keeping Edwards off the top spot also meant Kyle gave an (unintended, surely) boost to his brother Kurt, who ended up seventh and took over the lead of the Sprint Cup standings by one point over Edwards. Edwards was the first to admit that any annoyance at missing the top spot in either the race or the championship was in fact an embarrassment of riches: "The fact that I'm sitting here frustrated about a second-place run, being one point out of the lead, that's a huge jump from a year ago. When you're running poorly, you'll take anything you can get. I guess we're just so greedy that when you're running well, you want to win every race, you want to lead the most laps, you want to sit on every pole!"
When you have complaints like that, you're having a very good start to the season.
1. #18 Kyle Busch Toyota 2:54:59.000s Running (47/1 pts)
2. #99 Carl Edwards Ford + 0.946s Running (43/1 pts)
3. #48 Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet + 1.389s Running (43/2 pts)
4. #17 Matt Kenseth Ford + 4.193s Running (40/0 pts)
5. #27 Paul Menard Chevrolet + 4.703s Running (40/1 pts)
6. #29 Kevin Harvick Chevrolet + 4.789s Running (39/1 pts)
7. #22 Kurt Busch Dodge + 4.810s Running (37/0 pts)
8. #16 Greg Biffle Ford + 5.902s Running (36/0 pts)
9. #4 Kasey Kahne Toyota + 6.022s Running (35/0 pts)
10. #39 Ryan Newman Chevrolet + 6.611s Running (35/1 pts)
11. #88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Chevrolet + 6.829s Running (33/0 pts)
12. #5 Mark Martin Chevrolet + 7.439s Running (32/0 pts)
13. #47 Bobby Labonte Toyota + 7.451s Running (31/0 pts)
14. #24 Jeff Gordon Chevrolet + 8.003s Running (30/0 pts)
15. #9 Marcos Ambrose Ford + 9.009s Running (29/0 pts)
16. #6 David Ragan Ford + 9.595s Running (28/0 pts)
17. #56 Martin Truex Jr. Toyota + 10.461s Running (28/1 pts)
18. #2 Brad Keselowski Dodge + 10.993s Running (26/0 pts)
19. #14 Tony Stewart Chevrolet + 14.518s Running (25/0 pts)
20. #31 Jeff Burton Chevrolet + 2 laps Running (24/0 pts)
21. #1 Jamie McMurray Chevrolet + 2 laps Running (23/0 pts)
22. #78 Regan Smith Chevrolet + 2 laps Running (22/0 pts)
23. #20 Joey Logano Toyota + 3 laps Running (21/0 pts)
24. #42 Juan Montoya Chevrolet + 3 laps Running (20/0 pts)
25. #36 Dave Blaney Chevrolet + 3 laps Running (19/0 pts)
26. #38 Travis Kvapil Ford + 4 laps Running (0pts)
27. #34 David Gilliland Ford + 5 laps Running (18/1 pts)
28. #37 Tony Raines Ford + 6 laps Running (16/0 pts)
29. #09 Bill Elliott Chevrolet + 7 laps Running (15/0 pts)
30. #00 David Reutimann Toyota + 7 laps Running (14/0 pts)
31. #43 A.J. Allmendinger Ford + 7 laps Running (13/0 pts)
32. #71 Andy Lally * Chevrolet + 9 laps Running (12/0 pts)
33. #11 Denny Hamlin Toyota + 12 laps Running (11/0 pts)
34. #21 Trevor Bayne Ford + 18 laps Running (0pts)
35. #33 Clint Bowyer Chevrolet lap 456 Engine (9/0 pts)
36. #83 Brian Vickers Toyota lap 441 (8/0 pts)
37. #13 Casey Mears Toyota lap 427 (7/0 pts)
38. #192 Dennis Setzer Dodge lap 336 Susp (6/0 pts).
39. #7 Robby Gordon Dodge lap 127 Accident (5/0 pts)
40. #46 J.J. Yeley Chevrolet lap 97 Brakes (4/0 pts)
41. #87 Joe Nemechek Toyota lap 72 Brakes (0pts)
42. #60 Landon Cassill Toyota lap 36 Brakes (0pts)
43. #66 Michael McDowell Toyota lap 35 Brakes (1/0 pts)
* Denotes Rookie
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