Short track racing can be one of two different beasts in NASCAR competition. There could be the lengthy drag out, beating and banging that helps cautions breed cautions. Or there is the opposite, all about speed, handling, and being able to pass on the high banks. Which race would materialize for the Food City 300 at Bristol for the NASCAR Xfinity Series?
If qualifying was any indication, the race would be dictated by the Sprint Cup drivers in the field. Denny Hamlin (#20 Hisense Toyota) scorched to the pole position, leading three Cup drivers at the front of the field. This included Kyle Busch (#54 Monster Energy Toyota) in second, and Kevin Harvick (#88 Hunt Brothers Pizza Chevy) in third.
The race would be dominated by the three Cup drivers at the head of the field, but more specifically by the men of Joe Gibbs Racing. Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch would flip the lead back and forth for the majority of the race, with Kevin Harvick always lurking not too far behind. Meanwhile, the other two Cup drivers in the field charged to the top five, including Kyle Larson (#42 Eneos Chevy) and Ryan Blaney (#22 Discount Tire Ford).
With little change at the front, pit strategy would shuffle the leaders with just over one hundred laps to go. Chris Buescher (#60 Ford), the points leader in the Xfinity Series, would stay out with Landon Cassill (#01 Chevy). They would lead the field back to green after a caution for Cale Conley (#14 IAVA Toyota), and Buescher would hang on to the lead over the Cup regulars.
The fast paced opening to the race, dominating the first two-thirds of the race, would be slowed inside its final one hundred laps with a number of cautions after wrecks. This would help leader Chris Buescher save enough fuel to not have to pit again, and only focus on holding off the hard-charging Kyle Busch and Denny Hamlin.
As the laps closed down, Kyle Busch would ramp up the pressure on Chris Buescher, pushing him for every lap up through five laps to go. Then, the yellow flag waved once more, as Brad Teague (#13 Dodge) ran into problems. Buescher would need to hold off Busch one more time on one final restart if he were to win.
On the final restart, Chris Buescher would build a small lead, but then his car stumbled, and ran out of fuel. Kyle Busch would inherit the lead and race on to the checkered flag. Busch would win the Food City 300 at Bristol.
Another Kyle, Kyle Larson, would finish second at Bristol, and Busch’s teammate Denny Hamlin would roll home third. And quietly in fifth, Daniel Suarez (#18 Juniper Networks Toyota) would claim $100,000 by winning the Dash4Cash. Chris Buescher, meanwhile, would coast to an eleventh place finish. His points lead would also take a hit, now only nineteen points over Ty Dillon (#3 Bass Pro Shops Chevy).
Next up for the NASCAR Xfinity Series will be the final road course of the season at Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. Watch the young guns take on Road America next weekend on NBCSN.