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NASCAR/Racing

Busch holds off Logano at the line

August 27th, 2011 9:46 am by Jeff Birchfield

BRISTOL — Another Bristol race, another run for history by Kyle Busch.

Busch edged teammate Joey Logano at the finish line in Friday night’s Food City 250 at Bristol Motor Speedway to score a 50th Nationwide Series victory, breaking a tie with Mark Martin for the series all-time record.

“It’s awesome. It’s phenomenal to beat able to beat Mark’s record at Bristol, one of my favorite places and the team’s favorite places, ” Busch said. “It’s fun to come out here, to win by racing Joey like that. We love it and love to get to victory lane.”

Battling for the lead over the final five laps, Logano pulled to the inside of Busch, as their two Joe Gibbs Racing Toyotas repeatedly rubbed fenders. On the final lap, Logano’s No. 20 edged ahead coming off turn two, but Busch stayed on the throttle and inched past Logano at the finish line.

“I don’t know where Joey came from,” said Busch, driver of the No. 18 Camry. “He had a rocketship at the end, while I got looser and looser at the end. I thought the top was the best line, but he came inside of me and crowded me up.”

The margin was a mere .019 second, the closest finish in Bristol history. Logano who inched ahead off turn four knew immediately that his teammate got the better of him.

“So close. You’re coming across looking at him like, ‘Am I going to get him?’ ” Logano said. “I just wish I was the one in victory lane right now. I knew I had one shot at him, but I came up just three inches short."

Busch, with fresh tires, made a winning pass on Logano 45 laps earlier. Once the tires equaled out, Logano’s faster race car ran down Busch, but he wasn’t able to get past him.

“I ran him up the race track and bounced him door-to-door,” Logano said. “Turns one and two, I caught him and got inside of him and in front of him. I did all I could on that last lap other than wreck him. You can’t do that when he’s your teammate. I lost by like three inches. It’s frustrating.”

Busch led the race’s first 112 laps until Clint Bowyer passed on the inside. The drivers continued to battle over the next 80 laps, trading the lead three times before Logano moved out front on lap 194 with pit strategy.

Twelve laps later, however, Busch powered by Logano on the outside for what proved to be the winning pass

Bowyer, who had a birds-eye view of the battle from his thirdplace spot, joked about the finish afterwards.

“Joey didn’t do his job out there,” Bowyer said. “I was looking for him to wreck them both so I could win the race.”

Asked about Busch making more history on the Bristol track, Bowyer, driving the No. 33 Chevrolet for Kevin Harvick, threw in a couple of more zingers.

“We all hate him right now,” Bowyer said. “But, he’s really good. He’s one of the best drivers this sport has ever seen, and he’s going to win a lot of races unfortunately.”

Behind that trio, Carl Edwards finished fourth in a Ford and Aric Almirola was fifth in a Chevrolet.

It was an up and down night for Daytona 500 champion Trevor Bayne who started seventh, but fell back to 14th after an early pit stop. The Knoxville native worked his way back to eighth by the second round of pit stops, and continued to march forward, moving up to third on lap 150.

His No. 16 Ford faded, however, over the next 40 laps and he ultimately wound up 13th as his team lost several more spots on pit road.

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