Busch was charging through the field after an early wreck and was chasing Truex for second. He took the inside line in the corner and clearly thought Truex was going to maintain the momentum he had on the outside to drive past on the straightaway. Truex did, but not as fast as Busch was anticipating. He clipped Truex’s car and Truex went crashing into the inside wall.
“Totally my fault, man, I feel terrible about that,” Busch said after the race. “Obviously I just misjudged it by a little bit – four inches, six inches, whatever and I got in the gas and was coming up off the corner and was going to slide in behind him and I didn’t think I was next to him yet and I clipped him and sent him for a whale of a ride.”
Truex was diplomatic after the accident. He could have called out Busch for ruining his race and it would have been completely fair.
“It’s just Bristol. Trying to get that first short track win,” Truex said. “This place has been so hard on us. I mean I can’t even explain it to you how good we’ve run here in the past three or four years and crap like this every single time. It’s like just one thing after another. Sucks that it happened, but at the end of the day it’s racing at Bristol.”
Busch’s march from that early-race wreck was a fascinating plot to Saturday night’s race. His car was pretty beat up after this.
And yet he was in second after that Truex wreck, though the early wreck was eventually his undoing. His team had issues fueling the car because of the damage and his final pit stop buried him back in traffic. That led to a flat tire and a spin to cause the final caution of the night. Busch finished 20th.
The fight for the playoffs is getting boring
The battle for the final spot in the playoffs on points is pretty lopsided. Alex Bowman currently occupies the last spot in the playoffs and has a 79-point lead on his closest pursuer, Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
The most points a driver can earn in a race is 60, meaning Bowman has an 18-point cushion on Stenhouse and everyone else behind him at Darlington in two weeks. If that holds, Bowman is in the playoffs assuming a longshot doesn’t win at Indianapolis on Sept. 9. Longshots typically don’t win at Indianapolis. Kasey Kahne’s win last year in a crash-marred Brickyard is not the norm.
Here’s what the battle for the final spot on points looks like right now with Bowman the last driver in the 16-driver playoff field.
Saturday night’s crowd was awful
Remember when the Bristol night race was a sold-out affair? It was definitely not sold out on Saturday night. The crowd for the first race without a Gordon or an Earnhardt in over 30 years was sparse. Insane.
But the race was really good
The people who weren’t at the track were hopefully watching from home. Saturday night’s race was one of the most fun races of the season. The racing was close and authentic. There wasn’t a dominant car and a ton of twists and turns to a narrative that didn’t have a clear path. Isn’t that what we all want from auto racing?
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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.