In fact, Busch looked like the man to beat, at least in the early stages of the race. Things began to look dismal for Busch, however, when a pit lane speeding penalty moved him to the back of the lead-lap pack, seemingly taking him out of contention for a win.
As you’d expect in Bristol, there were plenty of yellow flags. The first was brought out by Tony Stewart, who hit the wall hard after a cut left rear tire finally let go. Carl Edwards and Jeff Burton took some damage in an early crash, taking both out of contention for the victory.
Denny Hamlin and Joey Logano spent some time banging fenders (and later trading words), and a cut tire on Jeff Gordon’s car collected Matt Kenseth when the pair were running in first and second, respectively.
If surviving at Bristol is the key to victory, Sunday’s top survivor was Kasey Kahne, who took a second place position on the starting grid to a win. Following Kahne across the finish line were Kyle Busch, Brad Keselowski, Kurt Busch (in his best finish yet for Furniture Row Racing) and Clint Bowyer.
Kahne’s victory marks the second win for a Hendrick Motorsports driver this year, following Jimmie Johnson’s victory in the Daytona 500. The team has a total of five podium finishes in the 2013 season, and only Jeff Gordon (who’s seen his share of bad luck this year) has yet to contribute to that number.
With his third place finish on Sunday, Penske’s Brad Keselowski climbs to the top of the points lead (with 166), followed by Dale Earnhardt Jr. (157), Jimmie Johnson (151), Clint Bowyer (128 and Greg Biffle (126).