Monday, February 19, 2018
Sports

Busch takes Nationwide, edging rookie

BRISTOL, Tenn. — Kyle Busch caught a glimpse of the future in his mirrors coming to the final turn of Saturday's NASCAR Nationwide race at Bristol Motor Speedway.

"I'm 27 and I'm getting old," said Busch, after holding off 20-year-old Kyle Larson in a finish that no doubt aged him slightly.

Larson, in his fourth series start, trailed Busch in the Jeff Foxworthy's Grit Chips 300 by five car lengths with 10 laps left but went high around lap traffic and traded paint with Busch as the two crossed the finish line 0.023 seconds apart, the second-closest finish ever at Bristol.

Coming to the finish and with slower traffic ahead, Busch ducked low and got behind what he figured would be the faster of the two cars in front of him and Larson. He was right but still had to battle to hold off the rookie.

Larson, a NASCAR Drive for Diversity graduate who is part Japanese, was happy to see Busch go low: "I tried a couple of moves on Kyle around the bottom and (my car) was just a little too tight off (the corner) to get back to the throttle. … I just missed it by a couple of feet, but it was a lot of fun."

Busch, who extended his record with his 53rd Nationwide victory, said though Larson didn't win the race, he won a measure of respect.

"You certainly want to win races the right way," he said. "Coming up, running races in the Nationwide series, Cup series, I didn't win a lot, but the ones that I did — there's a way of going about things. There's the way I did it and the way (Brad) Keselowski did it — ruffling a lot of feathers."

Formula One: Three-time defending world champion Sebastian Vettel claimed the pole position for the season-opening Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne, in a unusual qualifying session completed on race day. Vettel ran a lap of 1 minute, 27.407 seconds, and he was joined in an all-Red Bull Racing front row by teammate Mark Webber, who was 0.4 seconds back. The session was delayed Saturday after a series of rain delays, then ended by darkness. The race was held overnight.

Motorcycles: Cameron Beaubier led 50 of 57 laps at Daytona International Speedway to win the Daytona 200 AMA SportBike race on a Yamaha. Beaubier, the pole-sitter, won by 22.254 seconds.

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