Clinton, South Carolina, Tuesday, April 17, 2018, 10:01 a.m.
Kyle Busch wins a lot, particularly at Bristol Motor Speedway. Monday’s rain-postponed conclusion of the Food City 500 gave a unique flavor to his seventh BMS triumph. Neither Kyle nor his brother Kurt, who has won five times in the hills of the family’s own private Las Vegas, is warmly regarded in a locale that really shares little with their hometown.
The self-proclaimed Last Colosseum’s latest toga party was sparsely attended. Kyle enjoys bowing grandly when he departs his chariot, letting the masses know they might as well settle down because there’s nothng they can do to stop him.
A liberal estimate of those who trudged into the vast grandstands to sit through rain and finally get the goldarned race done was 8,000.
“Hopefully, when we come back here in the fall time, August, we have a better opportunity to hear more boos after the race,” Busch said, most likely with some mischief in his vocal folds.
The Busch contingent, the Rowdy Nation, was reportedly little but loud. Sound gets amplified in the reverberations across vacant grandstands.
In the area where Tennessee, Virginia and North Carolina meet, with Kentucky lingering nearby, a heap of people must have been out of sick days at work. It was a shame. TV ratings will reveal that millions of others missed a slobberknocker of a race.
Busch did his part. So did Kyle Larson, who seems to finish second every time they race there. Jimmie Johnson was third, six positions better than the seven-time champion’s best in the first seven races. Fords took five of the top 10, but none was better than fourth, and fourth was Ricky Stenhouse, another who wowed the smattering.
Notably unfortunate were Ryan Blaney, who dominated the Sunday activity before driving into a wreck he couldn’t possiby have avoided; Brad Keselowski, who won the two stages; and Darrell Wallace, who faded at the end to 16th but likely inspired many a fan who faced no traffic on the way home to proclaim, “One day, that’s kid’s gonna win here.”
Back home, I sort of wanted to cry. Such an extraordinary race. Such a small number to watch it.
Fans said they wanted a Bristol race like the old days. They got it. Harry Hogge could have been the crew chief of every car on the track.
He didn’t wreck you, Cole. He rubbed you. And rubbin’ is racin’.
Thirteen caution flags. Eighteen lead changes. The only Toyota that finished in the top 10 was the one that took the checkered flag.
What sets Kyle Busch apart – and once distinguished his older brother – is what seems to be a natural ability to keep a car clean until the time when it needs to get dented.
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