Kyle Busch looks for another Bristol sweep after NNS win

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Three years after he swept the NASCAR triple-header weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway, Kyle Busch will have a chance to replicate that feat after burying the competition in tonight’s NASCAR Nationwide Series race.

Busch, who also won Wednesday’s night Camping World Truck Series event on the high-banked half-mile, led 228 of 250 laps to win the Food City 250 from the pole position.

But in order to break out the broom once more in Tennessee, he’ll have to charge from the 43rd and final starting position in tomorrow night’s Irwin Tools Night Race for the Sprint Cup Series after spinning out in qualifying earlier on Friday.

Upon claiming his 15th career Bristol win in NASCAR’s “top three” national touring series, he acknowledged the big job ahead of him and his No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing squad in tomorrow’s main event.

“It’s a whole different ballgame tomorrow, that’s for sure,” Busch told ESPN in Victory Lane. “…In qualifying, I just overstepped it. I got too high, I was a little too loose and I screwed up.

“It’s not like I haven’t come from deep in the field before. It’s going to be a tall order. I had pit road speeding penalties, had to go to the back, and came back and finished second in the spring, so we’ll just see what tomorrow has.”

Meanwhile, while “Rowdy” dominated, multiple contenders for the NNS championship were finding trouble at a place where it always seems to be plentiful.

Points leader Sam Hornish Jr. finished two laps down in 12th place thanks to spark plug wire problems, but he got off better than title rivals Regan Smith, who finished four laps down in 21st place, and Brian Vickers, who wrecked and suffered a 34th place result.

As a result, Hornish kept his edge in the championship by a margin of six points over Austin Dillon, who finished third in tonight’s race behind Brad Keselowski. Following Dillon tonight in fourth and fifth respectively were Justin Allgaier and Kyle Larson.

F1 2017 driver review: Carlos Sainz Jr.

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Carlos Sainz Jr.

Teams: Scuderia Toro Rosso (1-16), Renault (17-20)
Car No.: 33
Races: 20
Wins: 0
Podiums: 0
Best Finish: P4 (Singapore)
Pole Positions: 0
Fastest Laps: 0
Points: 54
Championship Position: 9th

Carlos Sainz Jr. has always been compared to Max Verstappen given their relative rise and stint together at Toro Rosso, but the Spaniard began to forge his own impressive path through 2017, securing himself a works drive with Renault in the process.

Alongside the struggling Daniil Kvyat for much of the season, Sainz led Toro Rosso’s charge, scoring 48 of its 53 points with a string of impressive drives. His headline moment came in Singapore when he matched Verstappen’s best result in Toro Rosso colors by finishing fourth, capitalizing on the start-line crash and the wet weather with a strong display.

Sainz’s displays led to a call from Renault, who announced just two days before his star display in Singapore he would be joining up for 2018 on loan from Red Bull. However, the deal was accelerated after a deal was brokered to secure Jolyon Palmer’s departure, allowing Sainz to join up from the United States GP onwards.

Sainz made an immediate impression, completing a perfect race en route to seventh on debut for Renault to secure six points that would prove crucial in the final constructors’ championship standings as the French team beat Toro Rosso to P6 in the standings at the last race of the year.

Red Bull retains an option on Sainz’s future beyond 2018, making him a candidate for a seat with its senior team should Daniel Ricciardo opt to leave. Failing that, Renault could offer Sainz the platform he needs to continue his rapid rise in F1 and establish himself at the front of the pack for many years to come.

Season High: Finishing fourth in Singapore after dodging the start-line drama.

Season Low: Crashing out in his final Toro Rosso appearance on the first lap at Suzuka.