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: Nico Hulkenberg

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Nico Hulkenberg

Team: Renault
Car No.: 27
Races: 20
Wins: 0
Podiums: 0
Best Finish: P6 (Spain, Great Britain, Belgium, Abu Dhabi)
Pole Positions: 0
Fastest Laps: 0
Points: 43
Championship Position: 10th

Expectations were hard to peg for Renault heading into its second full season back in F1 with a factory team, but Nico Hulkenberg was surely expected to be the man spearheading its charge.

With teammate Jolyon Palmer severely underperforming, Hulkenberg did exactly that, bringing home all but 14 of the team’s points in the final standings. However, consistency was never something he truly found.

Many of Renault’s issues were down to reliability issues, sidelining Hulkenberg for six races – four coming in a five-race stint from Singapore to Mexico – yet he only scored points in consecutive races on three occasions.

When Hulkenberg and Renault were on form, they proved to be a potent combination, often topping the midfield fight and even looking faster than Force India come the end of the season. His run to sixth at the final race in Abu Dhabi was crucial for the constructors’ championship as Renault jumped Toro Rosso, securing an extra slice of prize money in the process.

But for a driver who was so often tipped as being a future star in F1, Hulkenberg still has a lot to prove. Renault is set to offer a good platform for the German moving forward with factory support, yet if he cannot beat new teammate Carlos Sainz Jr. through 2018, concerns will surely be raised.

Season High: Charging to sixth in Abu Dhabi despite a penalty.

Season Low: A tough run to 16th in Malaysia.