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updated: 1/31/2011 5:40 PM

NASCAR foes may not like Kyle Busch, but they respect what he did

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  • Kyle Busch does a burnout after winning the NASCAR Irwin Tools Night Race on Saturday in Bristol, Tenn. Busch won all three races held at Bristol this week.

      Kyle Busch does a burnout after winning the NASCAR Irwin Tools Night Race on Saturday in Bristol, Tenn. Busch won all three races held at Bristol this week.
    Associated Press

 

BRISTOL, Tenn. - 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.

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In the end, it was Busch who had the last laugh, from Victory Lane at Bristol Motor Speedway, where he made an unprecedented three visits in four days.

"Love him or hate him, but the little turd did pretty good," Clint Bowyer said after Saturday night's Sprint Cup race at Bristol. "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 on Wednesday night, had a controversial victory in the Nationwide race Friday night, then completed the sweep with a drama-free win in Saturday night's premiere Cup Series.

Busch led 514 of 956 laps run at the track since it opened on Wednesday to the Trucks. It gave him the accomplishment he'd been seeking since 2005, when he first started competing in all three national series at the same time.

In 2008, he made an ill-fated attempt at the record by traveling in between Pocono, Texas and Nashville over three days, and he stopped putting such a public focus on the feat.

Still, he almost pulled it off four previous times by winning the first two legs, most recently in May at Charlotte Motor Speedway. After winning Trucks and Nationwide, Busch fell just short of the sweep by finishing third in Cup.

He also could have pulled it off here last year, when he opened Bristol by winning in his truck. But he was wrecked in a fluke accident while leading the Nationwide race, only to bounce back the next night to get the Cup win.

So, on his return this week, he openly discussed his pursuit of the record. Upon completion, he said it was bigger than his 2009 victory at home track Las Vegas, which had previously been the high point of his NASCAR career.

"It's pretty cool because when you come so close and then don't get it, it's pretty frustrating," he said. "This is probably a year delayed. It's cool to be able to put it all together in a complete weekend."

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