This article is part of our NASCAR Barometer series.
Kurt Busch returned to Victory Lane after a late-race battle with teammate Clint Bowyer. The annual night race saw all top three championship contenders suffer trouble, opening the door for a first-time winner to bust through. Busch took that opportunity and cruised to finish with a comfortable margin over Kyle Larson. Saturday night's race was a typical Bristol Motor Speedway race with contact, frustration and surprises. Busch was already confident of a playoff berth but he guaranteed himself a place in the elimination rounds with Saturday's win, his sixth at the circuit.
The series enters a brief week off before returning to action at Darlington Raceway. Two unique tracks await the final rounds of the regular season, and they are two of the biggest prizes on the annual calendar. Darlington's Labor Day classic and the Brickyard 400 are two races any Monster Energy NASCAR Cup series driver would like to add to their resume, and the added bonus of a spot in the playoffs will make every team even hungrier.
Kurt Busch – Busch came forward strongly in the closing stages of Saturday night's Bristol race to win his first race since the 2017 Daytona 500. He looked like the Busch of old, but fantasy players will realize that Busch is leaving Stewart-Haas Racing at the end of the season to start yet another chapter in his long and successful career. He has been improving as this season advances and could be getting to his best at the perfect