Interstate Batteries Racing
Interstate Batteries Food City 500

Food City 500
Bristol Motor Speedway | Bristol, TN
March 17, 2013

Team Interstate's Kyle Busch captured the pole position with a new track record at Bristol. Copyright 2013 Autostock Images.

On Friday, Busch captured the pole for Sunday’s Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway by turning a record lap time of 14.813 seconds at 129.535 mph. His trip around the “World’s Fastest Half-Mile” broke the previous track qualifying record of 14.908 seconds at 128.709 mph set by Ryan Newman in 2003. It was Busch’s 11th career Sprint Cup pole, his first of the season and his first at Bristol.

From the pole position, Busch began Sunday’s race in top form, leading the first 55 laps of the 500-mile race. But as he came in for his first pit stop of the day on lap 56, Busch was penalized by NASCAR for entering pit road too quickly and was forced to restart in 35th place, at the tail end of the longest line.

But just like last week at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Busch didn’t panic. He climbed to 30th by lap 71, 20th by lap 82 and as high as 13th when the next caution waved on lap 152. A two-tire pit stop vaulted Busch to second, and he remained in the top 12.

After a couple more strategic stops and fast work by the M&M’s/Interstate Batteries® pit crew, Busch climbed to third when the final caution of the day waved on lap 456. Busch took advantage of a slow restart by leader Brad Keselowski and held off Keselowski over the course of the last 40 laps to finish second — his second straight top-five finish.

“We probably had a sixth- or seventh-place car today, and we ended up second with it,” Busch said. “We’ll take something out of that, for sure. It will move us up in the points and get us back heading in the right direction from the hole we dug ourselves the first two races. There are plenty of positives heading to Fontana next week.”

Busch’s Team Interstate companions ran up front all day before separate issues resulted in disappointing finishes. Denny Hamlin, driver of the No. 11 FedEx Toyota Camry, finished 23rd after suffering a flat tire in the race’s closing laps. Matt Kenseth, driver of the No. 20 Husky Tools Toyota Camry, finished 35th after an accident involving then-race leader Jeff Gordon on lap 390.