BRISTOL, Tenn. – Kyle Larson was well aware something was missing when he took the checkered flag in Friday night’s Food City 300 NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway.
That something was Kyle Busch.
Starting from the pole, Busch led the first 69 laps of the race but slammed the turn three wall on lap 70—the eventual result of a brush with the turn two wall on lap 66—and exited the race with a broken front suspension.
Larson took over after that and rolled home with the win in overtime, with Xfinity Series leader Christopher Bell close behind.
But Larson would rather have beaten Busch at the finish as well.
“I wish he could have been in the field,” Larson said after the race. “He checked out that one run, but I was closing on him there at the beginning.
“I felt like Bell was just as good, if not better than Kyle. It was good to battle Chris and still get the win.”
Larson and Bell are long-time competitors in open-wheel events on dirt, and Larson is looking forward to his rival’s ascension to the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series—perhaps as much as Bell is.
“It’s going to be fun,” Larson said. “I feel like it’s been the Kyle and Kyle show at a lot of these places, but with Chris’s driving style, I feel like it’s going to be the Kyle, Kyle and Chris show at a lot of these places, especially at Bristol.
“I’m excited for him to get his Cup opportunity, whenever that might arise. It’s always fun racing Chris and Kyle.”