Danica Patrick (7) gestures to fellow racecar driver Ryan Truex (not pictured) after she hit the wall in turn one during the NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tenn., today. Also pictured driving by Patrick is Steve Wallace (66). Wade Payne, Associated Press

BRISTOL, Tenn. -- Southern New Jersey driver Ryan Truex tangled with Danica Patrick during the NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway on Saturday.

Kyle Busch won the race on the notoriously tricky .533-mile racetrack, but as he pulled away from the field, the real drama was back in traffic and even in the garage.

Patrick waited for Truex, a just-turned 19-year-old rookie, to pass by after the accident, her arms in the air as if to say, "Why did you wreck me?"

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Truex wasn't sure what he'd done wrong, and received affirmation from an unidentified team member over his in-car radio.

"She's never been wrong about anything a day in her life," Truex was told. "I wouldn't worry about it."

Patrick, who was coming off a career-best finish of fourth at Las Vegas, was running inside the top 20 at the time of the accident. She finished 33rd in her final Nationwide race before she resumes her full-time IndyCar schedule.

Truex, the younger brother of NASCAR Sprint Cup driver Martin Truex Jr., finished 20th.

ESPN televised the race, and its announcers said that Patrick was running in 17th place, two laps down, at the time of the incident. One announcer said that it did not appear as if Truex did anything wrong.

But Truex accepted the blame for the accident.

"My car was really loose for about half the race. I just came off the corner dead sideways. I was either backing into the wall or going down the hill and hoping to save it," Truex said in a story on Foxsports.com. "I came off and came up - the right rear just almost hit the wall and came down to save it. (Patrick) was there and came down on her and pretty much ended her day. I feel bad about that. It wasn't on purpose and I'm sorry.

"I guess it's a racing deal - it's Bristol, its tight and things like that happen. I definitely feel bad about it."

Patrick is not scheduled to run another Nationwide event until June at Chicago.

Truex, who is from Mayetta in Stafford Township, competed in his third race of the season. His previous finishes were 14th and 16th. He is scheduled to run in seven more, through the May 14 race in Dover, Del., but his team, Michael Waltrip Racing, is trying to find additional sponsorship to keep him running all season.

"He just runs hard, he's run hard every time I've been around him and it just feels like overkill," Patrick said of the incident with Truex. "I felt like this was actually a pretty decent run at Bristol for the first time. It's disappointing to leave for a couple of months, to leave with this kind of thing, but that's Bristol, it gets the best of you."

Meanwhile, Busch continued his march through NASCAR's record books with yet another victory at Bristol.

His dominating win was the 46th of his career in the second-tier Nationwide Series, which puts him three back from tying Mark Martin's record. But in leading 266 of the 300 laps, he became the first driver in series history to lead more than 10,000 laps.

Busch has led a total of 10,035 laps in the Nationwide Series.

And at Bristol? His win Saturday was his 10th spanning all three of NASCAR's national series, and he's led a whopping 2,349 laps on the Tennessee bullring.

"Nobody gets around this place better than he does," crew chief Jason Ratcliffe said.

Busch has won the last four races at Bristol, dating back to August when he had a three-race weekend sweep. He's got four career Bristol wins in the elite Sprint Cup Series, three in Nationwide and three in the Truck Series.

The Nationwide win moved him closer in his pursuit of Martin's all-time mark. Martin grabbed a win two weeks ago in Las Vegas but conceded that Busch would break the mark by this summer. Busch said Martin probably texted him immediately after the race in what's become good-natured ribbing between the two.

"Mark and I have a little fun egging it on," he said. "He told me after Las Vegas time is on my side, not his side."

Kasey Kahne finished second and was followed by Dale Earnhardt Jr., Elliott Sadler and Joey Logano. Kevin Harvick was sixth, Carl Edwards seventh and Jason Leffler, Brad Keselowski and Aric Almirola rounded out the top 10.

Jennifer Jo Cobb had pre-race drama when she refused to race because team owner Rick Russell told her he wanted to start then park the car. She said Russell told her 10 minutes before the start of the race, after she'd already bought tires for the event.

"I have made a commitment to my sponsors, my fans and NASCAR that I'm not a start-and-park driver," she said. "I'm really serious about this. I have to work hard to prove to people that I'm serious about this. It was a blow both to my principles and my finances."

Cobb also said she had a five-race deal with Russell, but he told her to save the car for next week's race at California and she'd be replaced in that race.

"In that moment, I just made a decision that I don't think I will ever regret," she said. "This isn't a case of me being a brat and just wanting to walk off the job and leave someone high and dry. There were several promises made and broken and he really tried to back me into a corner.

"I weighed all the risks and consequences and decided that integrity and principle meant more."

Charles Lewandowski said he was approached right before the race and asked to drive the car, but didn't have his safety equipment with him. Chris Lawson then started the race and ran four laps before parking the car.

Russell disputed Cobb's version, saying the entire team was informed Friday of his desire to park the car. He also said Cobb has been in breach of her contract because she failed to provide engines at Las Vegas and Bristol.



Lap length: .533 miles

(Start position in parentheses)

1. (5) Kyle Busch, Toyota, 300 laps, 150 rating, 0 points, $44,725.

2. (9) Kasey Kahne, Chevrolet, 300, 114.2, 0, $31,900.

3. (11) Dale Earnhardt Jr., Chevrolet, 300, 118.4, 0, $29,550.

4. (6) Elliott Sadler, Chevrolet, 300, 100.1, 40, $24,975.

5. (10) Joey Logano, Toyota, 300, 102.9, 0, $22,675.

6. (8) Kevin Harvick, Chevrolet, 300, 100.5, 0, $20,400.

7. (7) Carl Edwards, Ford, 300, 106.3, 0, $21,060.

8. (2) Jason Leffler, Chevrolet, 300, 95, 36, $28,388.

9. (12) Brad Keselowski, Dodge, 300, 109.1, 0, $21,225.

10. (15) Aric Almirola, Chevrolet, 300, 99.9, 34, $26,793.

11. (14) Steve Wallace, Toyota, 300, 87.6, 33, $26,018.

12. (13) Brian Scott, Toyota, 299, 86.1, 32, $25,543.

13. (16) James Buescher, Chevrolet, 298, 79, 0, $19,425.

14. (1) Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Ford, 298, 116.1, 31, $29,093.

15. (3) Justin Allgaier, Chevrolet, 298, 90.8, 29, $26,443.

16. (23) Jeremy Clements, Chevrolet, 298, 69.1, 28, $20,500.

17. (20) Kenny Wallace, Toyota, 298, 66.5, 27, $25,218.

18. (24) Josh Wise, Ford, 297, 63.4, 26, $28,318.

19. (4) Trevor Bayne, Ford, 297, 76.1, 25, $25,093.

20. (21) Ryan Truex, Toyota, 296, 72.6, 24, $26,543.

21. (31) Joe Nemechek, Chevrolet, 296, 60.7, 23, $25,193.

22. (19) Scott Wimmer, Chevrolet, 296, 69.4, 22, $24,918.

23. (32) Derrike Cope, Chevrolet, 296, 52.6, 21, $25,268.

24. (18) Michael Annett, Toyota, 295, 74.2, 20, $24,818.

25. (37) Eric McClure, Chevrolet, 295, 53.5, 19, $25,393.

26. (26) Mike Bliss, Chevrolet, 295, 62, 18, $24,693.

27. (30) Shelby Howard, Chevrolet, 294, 59.3, 17, $25,043.

28. (22) Carl Long, Ford, 294, 44.2, 16, $18,100.

29. (25) Timmy Hill, Ford, 293, 41.2, 15, $24,518.

30. (42) Blake Koch, Dodge, 293, 45, 14, $24,268.

31. (39) Morgan Shepherd, Chevrolet, 284, 37.7, 13, $23,763.

32. (27) Mike Wallace, Chevrolet, engine, 276, 50.9, 12, $23,628.

33. (29) Danica Patrick, Chevrolet, accident, 245, 60.4, 11, $23,518.

34. (17) Reed Sorenson, Chevrolet, engine, 210, 71.4, 10, $23,483.

35. (34) Willie Allen, Chevrolet, accident, 204, 40.4, 9, $23,453.

36. (28) Tim Schendel, Chevrolet, overheating, 146, 34.5, 8, $16,950.

37. (38) Robert Richardson Jr., Dodge, accident, 63, 36.7, 7, $23,383.

38. (35) Jeff Green, Chevrolet, vibration, 27, 38.1, 6, $16,855.

39. (36) J.J. Yeley, Ford, vibration, 7, 36, 0, $16,830.

40. (40) Brett Rowe, Chevrolet, brakes, 5, 32, 4, $16,805.

41. (41) Chris Lawson, Ford, parked, 4, 26.3, 3, $16,775.

42. (43) Brad Teague, Chevrolet, vibration, 3, 31.4, 2, $16,725.

43. (33) Kelly Bires, Ford, handling, 2, 30.4, 1, $16,668.

Average Speed of Race Winner: 85.166 mph.

Time of race: 1 hour, 52 minutes, 39 seconds.

Margin of victory: 0.524 seconds.

Caution flags: 8 for 46 laps.

Lead changes: 4 among 4 drivers.

Lap leaders: R.Stenhouse Jr. 1-28; D.Earnhardt Jr. 29-31; K.Busch 32-183; K.Kahne 184; K.Busch 185-300.

Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Led, Laps Led): K.Busch, 2 times for 268 laps; R.Stenhouse Jr., 1 time for 28 laps; D.Earnhardt Jr., 1 time for 3 laps; K.Kahne, 1 time for 1 lap.

Top 10 in Points: 1. J.Leffler, 142; 2. R.Stenhouse Jr., 140; 3. J.Allgaier, 124; 4. R.Sorenson, 121; 5. A.Almirola, 119; 6. T.Bayne, 112; 7. K.Wallace, 111; 8. E.Sadler, 110; 9. D.Patrick, 109; 10. B.Scott, 107.



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