The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series traveled to Thunder Valley for a Saturday night showdown and there was nowhere to hide. No one was safe from any of the hardcore short track racing that took place and in the end, even the race winner had tape on his car.
Victor Kurt Busch was involved in the lap two accident after running into the rear end of Denny Hamlin. Much like the rest of the field, Kurt Busch’s night was just beginning, but the biggest headline went to the other Busch brother. The Busch brother who was the start of the crash on lap two.
During the entire week, the media was stating that Bristol would be the neutralizing point of the Big Three and it was just that. In fact, they finished 10th, 20th and 30th.
How did an ole’ night of chaos treat our power rankings? Well, needless to say, it too has tape on it after Saturday’s race.
While the other two drivers of the Big Three were struggling, Kevin Harvick had the chance to have a clean night and run away with the best finish of the night among the trio. For a driver who has two victories at Bristol, it was just an off night for the No. 4 team.
But, let’s be honest, after seven race wins this season, he can afford it.
After a strong run in stage 1, @KevinHarvick had tire issues in the second stage that put him back in the pack. He worked his way up through the field for his 20th top-10 finish of the 2018 season.
— Stewart-Haas Racing (@StewartHaasRcng) August 19, 2018
2. Kyle Busch
Kyle Busch had to hit everything but the snack bar Saturday night. After triggering the Bristol Big One on lap two, Busch pushed the limits of his car and made it back up front, even competing for the victory. After working his way back up through the field, the driver of the No. 18 came out on the losing end of a Bristol sandwich, ending his night after losing a tire and spinning out.
His on-track night may have ended there, but the frustrations of the evening were far from over. The hostility shown against Busch lasted all night long, including a fan who attempted to fight Busch following the race. Then, there were those keyboard warriors who would’ve liked to have fought Busch after the race also.
Busted. Fun police 🚔 showed up. ✌🏻😴 https://t.co/xzLZX1Xn84
— Kyle Busch (@KyleBusch) August 20, 2018
Martin Truex Jr. doesn’t get mad very often. In fact, Truex is normally a pretty calm person, but after his incident with Kyle Busch and JJ Yeley, things went south real quick. Had his car not been on pit road, something might’ve been thrown at the No. 18 following the crash.
Take another look at the crash, which didn't take much to start. pic.twitter.com/gO6W7bW0um
— NASCAR on NBC (@NASCARonNBC) August 19, 2018
Chase Elliott has been pretty good at Bristol in his short career in the Cup Series and that didn’t change on Saturday night. Elliott simply survived and showed the same speed he’s had since his victory at Watkins Glen. The driver of the No. 9 can surely begin making the argument that he’s the fourth person of the Big Four.
Damn that was a fun race, wish we could have capitalized…. we finally got it back rolling there at the end just couldn’t get there. Looking forward to the next real short track!
— Chase Elliott (@chaseelliott) August 19, 2018
5. Erik Jones
Erik Jones did everything he needed to do on Saturday and was up front to compete for the victory. Despite not earning that elusive Bristol victory, Jones still put in his argument for that fourth driver of the Big Four which is what a majority of these drivers are going for.
P5 for our @SportClips #Camry. It has some scars on it, but it was fun. That’s Bristol. It’s a short track and that’s what it’s supposed to do at the end of the day. We worked hard all night trying to get ourselves a shot. It wasn’t quite enough, but happy to run in the top 5. pic.twitter.com/yw3HoG7GOL
— Erik Jones (@Erik_Jones) August 19, 2018
6. Kurt Busch
2006 was the last time Kurt Busch won at Bristol.
Drivers who competed in that race and no longer race in NASCAR:
- Carl Edwards
- Bobby Labonte
- Mark Martin
- Greg Biffle
- Dale Earnhardt Jr.
- Tony Stewart
- Jeremy Mayfield
- Sterling Marlin
- Kyle Petty
- Scott Wimmer
- Dale Jarrett
- Jeff Gordon
- Dave Blaney
- Ken Schrader
- Casey Mears
- Robby Gordon
- Terry Labonte
- Kevin Lepage
- Michael Waltrip
- Jeff Burton
- David Stremme
- Brian Vickers
- Scott Riggs
- Brent Sherman
Only 12 of the 43 drivers in that field still compete in NASCAR today.
— Kurt Busch (@KurtBusch) August 19, 2018
7. Clint Bowyer (+1)
It was both a good and frustrating night for Clint Bowyer. Bowyer had an opportunity to take home his third victory of 2018, but a terrible final restart caused the win to fall out of his grasp. The move of Richmond from the final race of the season to the playoffs, though, could help Bowyer in the long run.
"As bad as our day was yesterday, to lead laps or even be in the top-10, I was pretty surprised to be honest with you. It was a pretty good run for us, but you hate to give them up like that.”@ClintBowyer finishes sixth at @BMSUpdates.https://t.co/B7ecbPXfXN pic.twitter.com/Dk4z3ft7Y9
— Stewart-Haas Racing (@StewartHaasRcng) August 19, 2018
8. Ryan Blaney (+1)
Ryan Blaney was incredibly fast in the spring and showed some speed on Saturday. The key for Blaney was that he actually knew the issue they faced and the team will now go to work in trying to resolve it.
Super fast car to start off the race, lost some speed as the track rubbered in. Need to figure that out. Enjoy your Sunday. 👍🏻
— Ryan Blaney (@Blaney) August 19, 2018
9. Daniel Suarez (-1)
Daniel Suarez was just lacking speed Saturday night after the crash involving Kyle Busch in the beginning. An 18th-place finish basically puts Suarez in a must-win situation as teams face the final two races of the season.
Heading to México to have some fun time with family, friends and old cars!
hope everyone enjoy the off week, it’s time to speak Spanish! 😜🇲🇽 pic.twitter.com/XL7j2MjQf0
— Daniel Suárez (@Daniel_SuarezG) August 20, 2018
10. Alex Bowman (NR)
Let’s face it, that Valvoline paint scheme deserves to be very high on the list of best paint schemes of the year, but it was even better to see that car running inside the top 10 again this weekend.
Bowman is sitting in an OK position in the points standings and an eighth-place finish helps make things a little bit better with two races remaining.
Solid recovery from two laps down because of a loose wheel back to 8th. Proud of my team! pic.twitter.com/IaQCgyW7ok
— Alex Bowman (@Alex_Bowman) August 19, 2018