Kyle Busch was booed unmercifully by the crowd at every turn, and called a name over the public address system by Brad Keselowski.
Rival drivers were only half-joking when they said they’d avoid him on the race track, for fear of getting caught up in his mess. In the end, it was Busch who had the last laugh, from Victory Lane at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway, where he made an unprecedented three visits in four days.
“Love him or hate him, but the little [pest] did pretty good,’’ Clint Bowyer said after Saturday night’s Sprint Cup race. “Three in a row here is quite a feat.’’
A NASCAR record feat.
Busch became the first driver in the 15 years that NASCAR has been running three national series to win all of them in the same week. He began his run with a win in the Trucks race Wednesday, had a controversial victory in the Nationwide race Friday, then completed the sweep with a drama-free win in Saturday’s premiere Cup Series.
But for all the celebrating of the record-breaking moment — someone from his crew radioed the Joe Gibbs Racing team was “in the presence of greatness’’ as he crossed the finish line in the last race — his escalating feud with Keselowski managed to steal some of the spotlight.
The two tangled in the Nationwide race when, after racing hard for the lead for at least a dozen laps, Keselowski wouldn’t lift when Busch slid in front of his car. They made contact, and Busch scraped the wall and slid down the track to lose position.
He immediately drove to the back of Keselowski’s bumper and intentionally wrecked him.
Keselowski vowed revenge after the race, and an unrepentant Busch fanned the flames with harsh words for his nemesis and taunting actions toward a disapproving crowd.
Keselowski turned it up a notch during driver introductions before Saturday’s race. Walking into the track moments after Busch was announced, Keselowski took the microphone and to a thunderous applause introduced himself before insulting Busch. It heightened the anticipation for another altercation, but it never happened.
Busch’s No. 18 Toyota was so strong the only time the two really raced near each other was late in the race when Busch lapped Keselowski. As expected, Keselowski made it extremely difficult for Busch to pass him, but Busch completed the move cleanly and sailed away to his third win this season and third in his last four Cup races at Bristol.
IndyCar — Will Power won at the track he had to be airlifted from a year ago, padding his series lead with a dominating run at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif.
Power never made it to race day in 2009, his season over with a practice session crash that left him with a broken back. But the Team Penske driver never showed fear in his return to Sonoma. Power set an IndyCar record with his eighth pole of 2010 on Saturday and led 73 of 75 laps over the technically demanding 2.303-mile circuit through the hills of California wine country.
Power pushed his series lead to 59 points over Dario Franchitti, who finished third behind Scott Dixon.