Kyle Busch sweeps Bristol again
Sunday, March 20, 2011; 6:05 PM
BRISTOL, Tenn. -- The situation was perfect for Carl Edwards to issue some payback on Kyle Busch.
Instead, Edwards passed on a chance to knock Busch out of the lead over the closing laps at Bristol Motor Speedway.
As Busch pulled away for Sunday's win - his fifth-straight dating back to last August at the Tennessee track - Edwards regretted not racing harder to potentially steal the victory. The two have a history at Bristol, and Edwards is still smarting from contact last month at Phoenix that he believed wrecked a car capable of winning the race.
"I told him after Phoenix that I still owe him one, but I'll save it up," Edwards said. "I thought I'd be able to race with him harder for those last 15 to 20 laps, but he took off and I just couldn't get back to him to race. If I would have known that was the only shot I was going to have, I might have raced a little harder."
That Edwards considered revenge was a surprise to Busch, who seemed mystified that Edwards could be holding any sort of grudge against him.
"I have no idea what I'm owed from, you'd have to ask Carl," Busch said, later adding when asked specifically about Phoenix, "Carl says what Carl says. I don't know. And when and where it comes, I do not know."
It didn't come Sunday after Busch beat Edwards and Jimmie Johnson off pit road following the final pit stops. It gave him the lead and ability to hold them off over the final 60 laps. The racing at the start of each restart was intense, but Busch consistently pulled away from Edwards to prevent any real challenge for the win.
"I was trying to drive away from him so he wouldn't have the opportunity to get to me," Busch said of his strategy with Edwards. "When he got to me that one time, I'm like `Oh, man. That was your shot. Nice try. You didn't get it done.' I just thought, man, if I could get away from him I wouldn't have to worry about it, so concentrate, get going."
He did, pulling away to complete a sweep of the weekend - he also won the second-tier Nationwide Series race on Saturday - and it was Busch's fifth consecutive victory at Bristol dating back to a three-race sweep last August.
He's now won five Cup races at Bristol, which ties him with older-brother Kurt in NASCAR's top series, and has 11 victories spanning the three national series.
Busch, who drives a Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing, dedicated the win to the manufacturer and its employees in Japan still trying to recover from the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.
Edwards settled for second and lamented not pushing Busch harder after the final restart with 37 laps remaining. Busch, Edwards and Johnson pulled away from the field, and Edwards had several opportunities to move Busch's No. 18 Toyota out of the way.