Bidding to complete a second career triple-header sweep at Bristol Motor Speedway, Kyle Busch ran as high as second during Saturday’s Irwin Tools Night Race but ultimately faded back to an 11th place finish.
Busch won the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at BMS on Wednesday and followed that with another win in the NASCAR Nationwide Series race on Friday. He was forced, however, to start from dead last on the grid for Saturday’s Sprint Cup event after spinning out in qualifying.
While trying to claw his way through the pack, he had a run-in with Joey Logano on Lap 107 that damaged the left-rear corner of his No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota.
With track position proving to be the most important factor of all, the No. 18 team tried to get their man out in front by having him stay out under a caution at Lap 256.
That propelled Busch to second behind then-leader Paul Menard, but handling issues would soon make him fade back. He was still able to run in the Top 10 for much of the race’s second half, but a combination of used tires and a tough final restart proved enough to send him out of that bracket.
Busch was aiming to become the first driver in the history of the Sprint Cup Series to win from the 43rd starting position in a race that featured a 43-car field.
Much would need to be worked out, starting with how much garage and grandstand access would be afforded for a 2021 season opener that likely would occur during a still ongoing novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
He was a spectator (with racing legend Mario Andretti) at four-time champion Jeff Gordon’s final Cup race as a full-time in the 2015 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. In 2011, Hamilton swapped cars with three-time champion Tony Stewart at Watkins Glen International.
Having rubbed shoulders with other racing greats so often, it only would be fitting if Hamilton — who is one victory from tying Michael Schumacher’s career record and also could tie the F1 record with a seventh championship this season — spent some time with the greatest basketball player of all time.