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Sports Kevin Harvick edges Kyle Busch in fierce battle at Bristol; four drivers eliminated from playoffs

10:45  20 september  2020
10:45  20 september  2020 Source:   usatoday.com

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Kevin Harvick held off a hard-charging Kyle Busch Saturday night at Bristol Motor Speedway to earn his ninth win of the season.

In a battle of two of stock car racing’s titans, Kevin Harvick swapped the lead with Kyle Busch and Harvick picked up his ninth victory of the season, his second of the Round of 16 in the Playoffs and Busch is the leader among active drivers with eight wins at Bristol . "To beat Kyle Busch at Bristol

BRISTOL, Tenn. – Kevin Harvick steamrolled his way into the second round of the playoffs by holding off Kyle Busch on Saturday night at Bristol Motor Speedway for his series-best ninth victory of the season.

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Kevin Harvick held off a charging Kyle Busch in the NASCAR Cup Series playoffs race at Bristol Motor Speedway. It was a highly interesting battle between the two drivers who kept chasing and consistently grabbed the lead off one another. Eventually, Harvick won his ninth race of the season

Kyle Busch finished second for the fourth time this season after falling short against eventual winner Kevin Harvick at Bristol Motor Speedway. The lead changed hands twice between Harvick and Busch in the last 100 laps. When asked if he would have been more aggressive while battling

Harvick denied the reigning Cup Series champion his first win of the season when he took the lead a little more than 100 laps from the finish and held off every challenge from Busch the rest of the way. Busch furiously tried to catch him as the two weaved their way through lapped traffic, but Harvick held firm in the No. 4 Ford for Stewart-Haas Racing.

Kevin Harvick celebrates after winning the Bass Pro Shops Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway. © Jared C. Tilton, Getty Images Kevin Harvick celebrates after winning the Bass Pro Shops Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Only six cars finished on the lead lap in a tepid event at the 0.533-mile bullring revered for bumping and banging. Track officials sold all 30,000 tickets allowed – making Bristol one of the largest sporting events since the pandemic – and the spectators crowded the fence as Harvick celebrated his second win of the playoffs.

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Kevin Harvick holds off a hard-charging Kyle Busch in the closing laps at Bristol Motor Speedway as he sets his sights on the 2020 championship. - 09/19/2020.

From his involvement in a Lap 2 wreck to a battle for the free pass with Kevin Harvick to a monster drive up to second and then a late cut tire, see Kyle

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Harvick also won the Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway to open the playoffs.

“Bristol, baby!” Harvick shouted, arms raised to the crowd. “I was so jacked up when we started this race because of you guys. To beat Kyle Busch at Bristol … just kept fighting, we didn’t have anything to lose. Just trying to win a race.”

Busch, who failed inspection twice before the race and drove from the back of the field to lead in his Toyota, was disappointed to finish second.

Just didn’t have enough at the end," Busch said. "The guys did a great job and gave me a really great piece tonight to contend and at least be up there and be close. Unfortunately, just didn’t have enough."

It's been a career year for Harvick, whose nine wins are the most in his 20 full-time seasons. Harvick previous best was eight victories in 2018.

Kevin Harvick nabs 9th win of season to roll into 2nd round

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Kyle Busch talks about his battle with Kevin Harvick and how his No. 18 Toyota didn't have enough to get around Harvick for the win at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Kevin Harvick outduels Kyle Busch at Bristol | Bristol Recap. DiBenedetto misses the cut at Watch Kevin Harvick light up his Goodyear tires at Bristol Motor Speedway after his win over Kyle The NASCAR playoff fields are set for the Gander Trucks and Xfinity Series and Kevin Harvick

"It’s just been a weird a year," Harvick said, "but it’s been an unbelievable year on the racetrack."

The first elimination race of the playoffs knocked William Byron, Cole Custer, Ryan Blaney and Matt DiBenedetto from title contention. All four were below the cutline at the start of the race and failed to produce a finish strong enough to get them into the next round.

DiBenedetto took a big swing with strategy during the first stage when he took just two tires on a pit stop. It cycled him into the lead briefly but 11 drivers on a full set of fresh tires passed him and DiBenedetto ended the stage 12th and ineligible for bonus points. He finished 19th.

“If we didn’t have bad luck, we wouldn’t have any luck at all,” said DiBenedetto, who is hoping the option on his contract is picked up for 2021 by Wood Brothers Racing.

Blaney, who was ranked as high as second in the standings earlier this season, simply had a third consecutive below-average race. He finished 13th.

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Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick fight on pit row at the 2011 Darlington Southern 500. Fan recorded video from frontstreach. NASCAR may retain rights even

Harvick holds off Kyle Busch for Bristol Night Race win; Round of 12 set. In a battle of two of stock-car racing‘s titans, Kevin Harvick swapped the lead with Kyle Busch and held off the “To beat Kyle Busch at Bristol , I kind of got myself in a little bit of a ringer there,” said Harvick , who already

“That stinks,” Blaney said. “Unfortunate end. I’m not done, we can still go try to win races.”

Custer, the only rookie in the field, has been hampered by NASCAR’s protocols during the pandemic and hasn’t been able to practice or qualify the bulk of the season. He was 23rd.

Byron, who began the race three points behind the cutline with a shot at advancing into the second round, was the first driver officially eliminated when he ran into the back of Christopher Bell late in the second stage. Byron was running 10th at the time and alleged Bell had to slow to avoid Joey Gase, who had stopped in the middle of the straightaway.

“I had literally nowhere to go. You can’t stop in the middle of the straightaway,” Byron said. “I’ve got to go back and watch that because that was kind of ridiculous.”

The second round of the playoffs begin next Sunday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, the opener of the most challenging three-race series. The playoffs go from Las Vegas to Talladega Superspeedway and then end at Charlotte Motor Speedway on the combination road course and oval.

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Erik Jones, who is not eligible for the playoffs, finished third for Joe Gibbs Racing and was followed by rookie Tyler Reddick and playoff contenders Aric Almirola and Clint Bowyer. They were the only drivers on the lead lap.

Denny Hamlin, considered the closest challenger to Harvick this year, closed out a sub-par opening round of the playoffs with a 21st-place finish. His Toyota also failed pre-race inspection and Hamlin started at the back, but he’s been unable through three playoff races to crack the top 10.

Bass Pro Shops Night Race Results

Saturday at the 0.533-mile Bristol Motor Speedway (starting position in parentheses):

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1. (4) Kevin Harvick, Ford, 500 laps, 57 points.

2. (9) Kyle Busch, Toyota, 500, 54.

3. (20) Erik Jones, Toyota, 500, 36.

4. (17) Tyler Reddick, Chevrolet, 500, 33.

5. (10) Aric Almirola, Ford, 500, 36.

6. (11) Clint Bowyer, Ford, 500, 34.

7. (6) Chase Elliott, Chevrolet, 499, 48.

8. (23) Chris Buescher, Ford, 499, 29.

9. (22) Ryan Preece, Chevrolet, 499, 28.

10. (26) Michael McDowell, Ford, 498, 27.

11. (2) Joey Logano, Ford, 498, 35.

12. (5) Austin Dillon, Chevrolet, 498, 26.

13. (14) Ryan Blaney, Ford, 498, 24.

14. (19) Matt Kenseth, Chevrolet, 498, 23.

15. (13) Kurt Busch, Chevrolet, 498, 33.

16. (8) Alex Bowman, Chevrolet, 498, 33.

17. (24) Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet, 498, 20.

18. (28) Ty Dillon, Chevrolet, 497, 19.

19. (16) Matt DiBenedetto, Ford, 497, 18.

20. (31) John H. Nemechek, Ford, 497, 17.

21. (7) Denny Hamlin, Toyota, 497, 16.

22. (27) Bubba Wallace, Chevrolet, 497, 16.

23. (12) Cole Custer, Ford, 497, 14.

24. (3) Martin Truex Jr, Toyota, 496, 13.

25. (25) Ryan Newman, Ford, 496, 12.

26. (29) Daniel Suarez, Toyota, 495, 11.

27. (37) Gray Gaulding, Chevrolet, 488, 0.

28. (18) Christopher Bell, Toyota, 487, 15.

29. (33) Quin Houff, Chevrolet, 483, 8.

30. (32) JJ Yeley, Chevrolet, 479, 0.

31. (36) Joey Gase, Ford, 463, 0.

32. (40) Garrett Smithley, Chevrolet, 436, 0.

33. (30) Corey Lajoie, Ford, garage, 419, 4.

34. (1) Brad Keselowski, Ford, 412, 7.

35. (35) James Davison, Ford, accident, 401, 2.

36. (34) Reed Sorenson, Chevrolet, electrical, 317, 1.

37. (38) Timmy Hill, Toyota, garage, 313, 0.

38. (15) William Byron, Chevrolet, accident, 232, 4.

39. (39) Josh Bilicki, Chevrolet, fuelpump, 53, 0.

40. (21) Ricky Stenhouse Jr, Chevrolet, accident, 28, 1.

Race Statistics

Average Speed of Race Winner: 95.905 mph.

Time of Race: 2 hours, 46 minutes, 43 seconds.

Margin of Victory: 0.310 seconds.

Caution Flags: 5 for 50 laps.

Lead Changes: 14 among 8 drivers.

Lap Leaders: B.Keselowski 0-17; K.Harvick 18-34; B.Keselowski 35; M.DiBenedetto 36-42; B.Keselowski 43-106; C.Elliott 107-129; C.Bell 130; Ky.Busch 131-236; D.Hamlin 237; Ky.Busch 238-280; K.Harvick 281-411; A.Almirola 412; K.Harvick 413-458; Ky.Busch 459-468; K.Harvick 469-500

Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Led, Laps Led): K.Harvick, 4 times for 226 laps; Ky.Busch, 3 times for 159 laps; B.Keselowski, 3 times for 82 laps; C.Elliott, 1 time for 23 laps; M.DiBenedetto, 1 time for 7 laps; A.Almirola, 1 time for 1 lap; D.Hamlin, 1 time for 1 lap; C.Bell, 1 time for 1 lap.

Column: Busch family hobby goes full circle at home in Vegas

  Column: Busch family hobby goes full circle at home in Vegas LAS VEGAS — The racing bug hit the Busch family long before the NASCAR champion brothers were born. Their father attended the first Daytona 500 in 1959 with his parents, and later, while working as a mechanic at a Las Vegas car dealership, he decided to try racing at the local short track. Tom Busch built and won in his own cars. When his boys were born, he built cars for them, too. It was just a hobby when it began but it turned out the Busch brothers were a pair of thoroughbreds. Busch developed his sons into a pair of aggressive and motivated young drivers who dominated the Bullring at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, then raced their way to North Carolina hoping to make it in NASCAR.

Wins: K.Harvick, 9; D.Hamlin, 6; B.Keselowski, 4; J.Logano, 2; C.Elliott, 2; A.Dillon, 1; A.Bowman, 1; M.Truex, 1; C.Custer, 1; W.Byron, 1; R.Blaney, 1.

Top 16 in Points: 1. K.Harvick, 2205; 2. J.Logano, 2144; 3. D.Hamlin, 2138; 4. C.Elliott, 2135; 5. Ky.Busch, 2131; 6. A.Dillon, 2120; 7. B.Keselowski, 2119; 8. A.Bowman, 2118; 9. M.Truex, 2109; 10. A.Almirola, 2101; 11. Ku.Busch, 2098; 12. C.Bowyer, 2095; 13. C.Custer, 2067; 14. W.Byron, 2062; 15. R.Blaney, 2058; 16. M.DiBenedetto, 2054.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Kevin Harvick edges Kyle Busch in fierce battle at Bristol; four drivers eliminated from playoffs


Video: Hamlin rear-ends Truex at Bristol (NASCAR)

Column: Busch family hobby goes full circle at home in Vegas .
LAS VEGAS — The racing bug hit the Busch family long before the NASCAR champion brothers were born. Their father attended the first Daytona 500 in 1959 with his parents, and later, while working as a mechanic at a Las Vegas car dealership, he decided to try racing at the local short track. Tom Busch built and won in his own cars. When his boys were born, he built cars for them, too. It was just a hobby when it began but it turned out the Busch brothers were a pair of thoroughbreds. Busch developed his sons into a pair of aggressive and motivated young drivers who dominated the Bullring at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, then raced their way to North Carolina hoping to make it in NASCAR.

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