Kyle Busch isn’t without controversy both on and off the track. And while his fellow NASCAR drivers might have an unflattering thing or two to say about him, there’s no denying Busch is a force to be reckoned with on the race track. In an unprecedented set of events at Bristol, Tennessee, Busch drove two Toyota Camrys and a Toyota Tundra (no… not at the same time) to sweep the NASCAR weekend, becoming the first driver ever to do so.
The three events Busch swept were the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, NASCAR Nationwide Series, and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. It was definitely a historic achievement for Toyota’s presence in NASCAR, and for Kyle Busch and his team. Now if only he could play nice with the other drivers.
Official press release available after the break.
In Sunday’s Busch won the Sprint Cup race in dominating style, leading four times for 282 of 500 laps. It was Busch’s third win of the 2010 season and 12th top-10 finish, moving him to third in the unofficial NSCS point standings.
“This is awesome,” Busch, said following the race. “I love Bristol and I love winning. And to do it for the first time ever in NASCAR, to sweep the weekend, man, that’s pretty awesome. I don’t know what to think. I’ve been trying to do this since I got to NASCAR. Fortunately, tonight I was able to get it done, be the first one to do it.”
David Reutimann was second, giving Toyota a one-two Camry finish. Reutimann ran in the top five throughout the race and took the lead after the final pit stops with about 100 laps to go. He ran side-by-side with Busch for several laps before giving up the lead.
“He was getting faster and we were getting tighter, so I think we were just prolonging the inevitable, but when you’re leading the race you got to do what you can,” Reutimann said. “I just made a mistake. I got a little loose up off the corner. I got on the gas too quick, got too aggressive and he was there to pounce on it. And the rest is history.”
Reed Sorenson (15th), Martin Truex Jr. (17th), Joey Logano (18th) and Marco Ambrose (20th) also finished in the top-20 for Toyota. Camry drivers Scott Speed (33rd), Denny Hamlin (34th), Kevin Conway (36th), Casey Mears (36th) Robby Gordon (40th), Todd Bodine (41st), Scott Riggs (42nd) and Michael McDowell (43rd) were also in the field.
With the finish, Busch climbed five spots to third in the unofficial NSCS point standings following Bristol. Hamlin (fifth), Reutimann (17th) and Truex (20th) are also in the top-20 in points after 24 of 36 races.
The Sprint Cup Series returns to action at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Sept. 5.
NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS)
In Friday night’s NNS event, Busch tied the series’ single-season wins record with his 10th victory of 2010. The victory kept Busch in third-place in the NNS point standings, despite running only 20 of 24 races so far this season.
It was Toyota’s 50th Nationwide triumph since joining the series in 2007 and the first at Bristol in eight starts.
Busch took the lead for good on lap 219 after tangling with Brad Keselowski and survived a series of late-race restarts and challenges. He started third and led three times for a race-high 116 (of 250) laps.
“It’s pretty awesome to be with this race team,” Busch said of the Joe Gibbs Racing Z-Line Camry crew. “These guys will stick behind me through anything. We had trouble in practice trying to get the car exactly the way I wanted it. We were close, but Jason (Ratcliff, crew chief) worked really hard with the guys to try and make sure that we had a winning car here tonight. We were swinging things at it all day. We came up with a good combination there for the race.”
Busch also registered 10 Nationwide wins in 2008 and shares the record with Sam Ard, who accomplished the feat in 1983. Busch crossed the finish line 0.798 seconds ahead of fellow Camry driver Jason Leffler. It was Leffler’s best finish of the season, and he now has eight top-10 finishes in 24 starts in 2010.
Trevor Bayne (sixth), Reed Sorenson (eighth) and Logano (10th) also posted top-10 finishes for Toyota at Bristol. Camry drivers Michael Annett (15th), Brendan Gaughan (21st), Brian Scott (25th), Steve Wallace (30th) and Kasey Kahne (37th) were also in the field.
Wallace (seventh), Bayne (eighth), Leffler (ninth) and Gaughan (10th) are also in the top-10 in points with 11 races remaining on the schedule.
The Nationwide Series returns to action at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal, Aug. 28.
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS)
In Wednesday’s NCWTS event, Busch won his third-consecutive Bristol truck race, driving from the back of the field to grab the lead on lap 91 (of 206) and never looking back on his way to victory lane.
Busch earned the pole position in the No. 18 Tundra — the 75th for Toyota since the manufacturer joined the series in 2004 — but unapproved changes to the truck after qualifying had forced him to start from the rear of the field.
“It worried me a little bit having to start back there and try to come through traffic,” Bush said. “We were passing guys one at a time, just kind of biding our time getting our way up there.”
It was Busch’s third truck win of the season. Toyota has now won nine of 16 NCWTS races in 2010 and 74 since 2004.
Busch held off a late race challenge from the Tundra of Aric Almirola, who finished second. Mike Skinner (fourth), Justin Lofton (fifth), Bodine (sixth), Timothy Peters (eighth) and Miguel Paludo (ninth) also scored top-10 finishes for Toyota. Paludo was making his first-career NCWTS start. Tundra drivers Max Papis (14th), David Starr (23rd) and Donny Lia (30th) were also in the field.
Bodine leads the NCWTS standings by 211 points over Almirola. Peters (third), Skinner (eighth) and Starr (ninth) are also in the top-10 in points after 16 of 25 races.
The Camping World Truck Series returns to action at Chicagoland Speedway, Aug. 27.