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Bristol NASCAR: Kurt Busch ends win drought in dramatic race

Stewart-Haas Racing driver Kurt Busch secured his first win since the 2017 season-opener by snatching victory in during a dramatic NASCAR Cup Series race at Bristol

Having finished seventh and ninth in the first two stages, Busch first took the lead with 24 laps of the 500-tour race remaining by beating team-mate Clint Bowyer - who shared the front row - away at a late restart.

A puncture and spin for Kyle Busch with 16 laps remaining meant that his brother Kurt then had to survive another restart.

Despite restarting in second, Bowyer slipped backwards and Chip Ganassi Racing's Kyle Larson emerged as Busch's closest challenger.

Having pitted on lap 474, Larson's tyres were 32 laps younger than Busch's.

But the SHR driver was able to hang on to end a win drought stretching back to the 2017 Daytona 500, 58 Cup rounds ago, and book his place in the playoffs.

Autosport recently revealed that Busch is set to leave SHR to replace Jamie McMurray at Ganassi at the end of the year.

Despite leading the race early in stage one, polesitter Larson dropped down the order as the race progressed before recovering late on to finish second.

After he took the lead of the race from Chase Elliott mid-way through the final stage, Bowyer's main threats for victory with 100 laps remaining were Martin Truex Jr and Kyle Busch.

Both had been involved in a 12-car pile-up on lap two of the race. Busch tagged Penske's Ryan Blaney, spinning in front of the field and collecting several cars, including Truex.

Truex and Busch battled back to second and third respectively with 70 laps remaining - Busch's recovery in spite of having dropped to two laps down due to the extensive repairs that were required.

But as Busch challenged Truex, he tagged the rear of the #78 Furniture Row Racing Toyota and pitched the champion into the inside wall. Truex was eliminated from contention.

Busch's night was hindered by the damage sustained in the lap two incident, as the rear bodywork damage complicated refuelling.

He dropped from second to 11th on lap 474, making contact with Chris Buescher that led to his eventual puncture.

Elliott, who lost track position as stage three progressed, surged through the field in the final 14 laps after Busch's spin, climbing from ninth to finish third.

Both Elliott and stage two winner Joey Logano passed Joe Gibbs Racing's Erik Jones in the closing laps. Logano ended up fourth and Jones was fifth.

Losing out at the final restart, Bowyer finished in sixth despite having led 120 of the final stage's 250 laps.

Ryan Blaney was seventh. He won the opening stage, narrowly beating Kevin Harvick in a photo finish.

Harvick's challenge was curtailed early in stage two when he suspected a puncture on his SHR Ford.

He pitted during green flag conditions and ended up two laps down in the process, then could only recover to 10th.

Race result

Pos Driver Team Car Laps Gap
1 Kurt Busch Stewart-Haas Racing Ford 500 2h58m35.s
2 Kyle Larson Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet 500 0.367s
3 Chase Elliott Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 500 0.474s
4 Joey Logano Team Penske Ford 500 1.343s
5 Erik Jones Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 500 1.886s
6 Clint Bowyer Stewart-Haas Racing Ford 500 2.582s
7 Ryan Blaney Team Penske Ford 500 2.979s
8 Alex Bowman Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 500 3.282s
9 Jimmie Johnson Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 500 3.809s
10 Kevin Harvick Stewart-Haas Racing Ford 500 4.192s
11 Trevor Bayne Roush Fenway Racing Ford 500 4.720s
12 Ryan Newman Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet 500 5.033s
13 Austin Dillon Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet 500 5.194s
14 Denny Hamlin Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 500 5.421s
15 Kasey Kahne Leavine Family Racing Chevrolet 500 8.464s
16 Brad Keselowski Team Penske Ford 499 1 Lap
17 David Ragan Front Row Motorsports Ford 499 1 Lap
18 Daniel Suarez Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 499 1 Lap
19 Chris Buescher JTG Daugherty Racing Chevrolet 499 1 Lap
20 Kyle Busch Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 497 3 Laps
21 Ty Dillon Germain Racing Chevrolet 496 4 Laps
22 Matt DiBenedetto Go FAS Racing Ford 496 4 Laps
23 William Byron Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 496 4 Laps
24 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Roush Fenway Racing Ford 495 5 Laps
25 Landon Cassill StarCom Racing Chevrolet 493 7 Laps
26 Ross Chastain Premium Motorsports Chevrolet 492 8 Laps
27 Blake Jones BK Racing Toyota 485 15 Laps
28 Timmy Hill MBM Motorsports Toyota 481 19 Laps
29 Jamie McMurray Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet 435 65 Laps
30 Martin Truex Jr. Furniture Row Racing Toyota 431 Accident
31 Aric Almirola Stewart-Haas Racing Ford 428 72 Laps
32 J.J. Yeley Premium Motorsports Chevrolet 423 Accident
33 Reed Sorenson Rick Ware Racing Chevrolet 338 Accident
34 Corey LaJoie TriStar Motorsports Chevrolet 234 Electrical
35 Jesse Little Gaunt Brothers Racing Toyota 59 Accident
36 Paul Menard Wood Brothers Racing Ford 28 Accident
37 Michael McDowell Front Row Motorsports Ford 10 Accident
38 Darrell Wallace Jr. Richard Petty Motorsports Chevrolet 3 Accident
39 A.J. Allmendinger JTG Daugherty Racing Chevrolet 1 Accident
40 Gray Gaulding StarCom Racing Chevrolet 1 Accident

Drivers' standings

Pos Driver Points
1 Kyle Busch 1003
2 Kevin Harvick 960
3 Martin Truex Jr. 849
4 Kurt Busch 796
5 Clint Bowyer 776
6 Joey Logano 768
7 Ryan Blaney 733
8 Brad Keselowski 730
9 Kyle Larson 729
10 Denny Hamlin 707
11 Chase Elliott 697
12 Aric Almirola 658
13 Erik Jones 635
14 Jimmie Johnson 604
15 Alex Bowman 572
16 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 493
17 Ryan Newman 481
18 Daniel Suarez 479
19 Austin Dillon 475
20 Paul Menard 473
21 William Byron 442
22 Jamie McMurray 434
23 Chris Buescher 380
24 A.J. Allmendinger 376
25 David Ragan 349
26 Darrell Wallace Jr. 346
27 Kasey Kahne 345
28 Michael McDowell 344
29 Ty Dillon 310
30 Matt DiBenedetto 266
31 Trevor Bayne 214
32 Landon Cassill 123
33 Gray Gaulding 118
34 Matt Kenseth 117
35 Cole Whitt 90
36 D.J. Kennington 82
37 Corey LaJoie 79
38 Jeffrey Earnhardt 70
39 Reed Sorenson 45
40 Harrison Rhodes 23
41 Blake Jones 21
42 Kyle Weatherman 16
43 Mark Thompson 15
44 Chris Cook 6
45 Tomy Drissi 5
46 Derrike Cope 4
47 Danica Patrick 2
48 Cody Ware 1

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