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Sprint Cup: Kyle Busch wins again at Bristol

BRISTOL, Tenn. — The situation was perfect for Carl Edwards to issue some payback on Kyle Busch.

Instead, Edwards passed on a chance to knock Busch out of the lead over the closing laps at Bristol Motor Speedway.

As Busch pulled away for Sunday's win — his fifth straight dating to August in major NASCAR races at the Tennessee track — Edwards regretted not racing harder to potentially steal the victory. The two have a history at Bristol, and Edwards is still smarting from contact between the two last month at Phoenix that he believed wrecked a car capable of winning.

"I told him after Phoenix that I still owe him one, but I'll save it up," Edwards said. "I thought I'd be able to race with him harder for those last 15 to 20 laps, but he took off and I just couldn't get back (near) to him to race."

That Edwards considered revenge was a surprise to Busch, who seemed mystified that Edwards could be holding any sort of grudge against him.

"I have no idea what I'm owed from, you'd have to ask Carl," Busch said, later adding when asked specifically about Phoenix, "Carl says what Carl says. I don't know. And when and where it comes, I do not know."

It didn't come Sunday after Busch beat Edwards and Jimmie Johnson off pit road following the final pit stops on Lap 430 of 500. That gave him the lead over all but one of the final 70 laps in the Jeff Byrd 500. The racing at the beginning of each restart was intense, but Busch consistently pulled away.

Edwards briefly grabbed the lead on Lap 474 after side-by-side racing, but Busch took it back for good the next lap.

"I was trying to drive away from him so he wouldn't have the opportunity to get to me," Busch said of his strategy with Edwards. "When he got to me that one time, I'm like 'Oh, man. That was your shot. Nice try. You didn't get it done.' "

Busch did, pulling away to complete a sweep of the weekend — he also won Saturday's second-tier Nationwide series race. Busch has five Cup wins at Bristol, which ties him with older brother Kurt in NASCAR's top series, and has 11 victories spanning the three national series at the 0.533-mile bullring.

Kurt Busch, who came in tied for the Sprint Cup points lead, took sole possession of first, one point ahead of Edwards.

Kyle Busch, who drives a Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing, dedicated the win to the manufacturer and employees in Japan trying to recover from the recent earthquake and tsunami.

Johnson, the defending race winner, finished third and said he waited for a dustup between Busch and Edwards that could have given him the win.

"We were all running really hard, and there were a couple moments where I thought I might be given a big gift," Johnson said. " … There was nowhere for me to go if I got up in there and raced with those guys."

Kenseth, Edwards' teammate with Roush Fenway Racing, was fourth followed by Richard Childress Racing teammates Paul Menard and Kevin Harvick.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. was flagged for speeding on pit road, which might have cost him a top-10 finish. He was 11th, coming back from one lap down.

There were no tire issues despite concern when Goodyear's product struggled through Friday. The supplier called for almost 1,300 new right-side tires to be shipped from North Carolina, and they were distributed before Saturday's practices. NASCAR called a competition caution at Lap 50 to check the tires, and there were no noticeable issues.

EAST BAY RACEWAY: Bryan Bern­hardt won the Late Model feature late Saturday in Gibsonton.

Sprint Cup: Kyle Busch wins again at Bristol 03/20/11 [Last modified: Sunday, March 27, 2011 6:32pm]

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