BRISTOL, Tenn. – Kurt Busch was going to do whatever it took on Sunday to try and secure his seventh Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory at Bristol Motor Speedway.
That included wrecking his younger brother Kyle Busch for the win, if it had come down to that.
While the elder Busch brother never ultimately got close enough to his younger sibling’s back bumper to take that shot, he still came home with a season-best second-place finish off a late pit strategy call.
Both Busch brothers stayed out when the race’s final yellow flag waved with 22 to go, after Kyle Larson got into the outside wall in turn three, placing them on the front row for a restart with 14 laps left.
That was as close as Kurt Busch got, as he watched Kyle drive off to his eighth-career Bristol win.
“It was tough battling our No. 1 Chevy, but this Monster Energy team is doing a good job,” said Kurt Busch after the race. “That one was tough, though. I really wanted to beat him. I flat out would have wrecked him (laughter). I wanted to stay close enough so that when we took the white, I was just going to drive straight into (turns) three and four.
“I mean, he’s already won. I figured he could give a little love to his brother, but no,” he added. “I wanted that one bad. I feel like him right now; I’m mad because I didn’t win.”
The weekend started out rough for Kurt Busch, who qualified 27th and had to fight his way forward all day on Sunday. He did that, however, just like in Texas a week ago – when he went from 30th to ninth.
“This car, we’re struggling on qualifying and we struggle on taking off,” the 40-year-old noted. “I just can’t get the right rear to grip until it gets heat in it, and it’s hard to be patient when you’re running for the win on old tires.”
The good for the elder Busch? He’s now finished inside the top 10 in six of the last seven Cup Series races and propelled himself from 24th to eighth in the series standings since the Daytona 500.
That has him believing that a victory is close, and coming soon.
“I’m happy that we were in position to do it, this group of guys. We’re not quite ready to win yet, but that was close,” said Kurt Busch. “I was going to wreck my little brother to win today, but with three laps to go, the car just stepped out in turn one and I wasn’t close enough to him after that.
“For our Monster Chevy, today is a really good run. We’ve got a lot of puzzle pieces, [and] we’re putting them together,” he noted. “This is my favorite track. We almost won, but we know we’re still wanting some good.
“Our No. 1 Monster Chevy is fast. We’ve just got to fine-tune it all.”