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AP photo by Wade Payne / Joe Gibbs Racing driver Kyle Busch celebrates after winning Sunday night's NASCAR Cup Series race on the temporary dirt surface at Tennessee's Bristol Motor Speedway.

BRISTOL, Tenn. — Kyle Busch backed into the NASCAR record book by stealing a win at dirt-covered Bristol Motor Speedway.

That's what he'd say if it had been anyone else, right?

Busch got his first victory of the season by sliding past the leaders as Tyler Reddick and Chase Briscoe spun while racing for the win in Sunday night's Cup Series race on the temporary dirt at the half-mile track. Busch tied Richard Petty's series record for at least one victory in consecutive years at 18.

But his tune was far different at Bristol than it was six weeks ago, when Alex Bowman won at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and an irate Busch complained that the Hendrick Motorsports driver was "the same (expletive) guy who backs into every (expletive) win that he ever (expletive) gets."

When it was Busch's turn to inherit a win in the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 18 Toyota, he had no problem collecting the checkered flag.

"We got one, you know?" the two-time Cup Series champion said. "It doesn't matter how you get them, it's all about getting them."

Later, he acknowledged that he did "back into one" but said it felt good. It was the 60th victory of his Cup Series career.

Reddick was chasing the first win of his Cup Series career, led 99 of the 250 laps and controlled the race from the final restart with 24 laps remaining. Lapped traffic gave Briscoe a shot, and the Stewart-Haas Racing driver made his move in the third turn as he tried to slide inside past Richard Childress Racing's Reddick. The move backfired as both cars spun out of control.

Busch, who was running third, simply skirted through for his first Cup Series victory since last June at Pocono Raceway. But after his ninth Cup Series win at Bristol — and first in two dirt races — he was booed by the smattering of fans who waited out two rain delays that pushed the first NASCAR race on Easter Sunday since 1989 to nearly four hours.

"I mean, man, I feel like Dale Earnhardt Sr. right now. This is awesome. I didn't do anything," Busch said of the 1999 race in which Earnhardt was booed for bumping Terry Labonte out of the way for the win.

Reddick finished second in the No. 8 Chevrolet and faulted himself for not holding off Briscoe's No. 8 Ford. Briscoe went from two turns away from the win to 22nd place and immediately found Reddick on pit road to apologize.

"I was going to spin out, I think, either way," Briscoe said. "I'm sorry. I just wanted to let you know. I am sorry. I wish you would have won."

Reddick was understanding and admitted he should have been more defensive.

"I don't think I did everything right. Briscoe was able to run me back down there," Reddick said. "I should have done a little bit better job of just, I don't know, I shouldn't have let him get that close. He ran me back down. Worked really hard to do that.

"I mean, you're racing on dirt, going for the move on the final corner. It's everything that as a driver you hope to battle for in his situation. Made it really exciting for the fans. I should have done a better job and pulled away so he wasn't in range to try to make that move."

Rain had stopped the race for a second time moments before it was supposed to go green with 30 laps remaining. Busch, who was running second as the rain slicked the track, described the conditions as "slimy."

From inside his cockpit, Reddick knew he had his work cut out for him if he was to win.

"One of the best in stock car racing, Kyle Busch, he's definitely going to make me earn it," Reddick said.

But Briscoe got past Busch when the rain finally stopped, and it was Briscoe who wrecked Reddick's trip to victory lane.

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AP photo by Wade Payne / Ross Chastain (1) races ahead of Kyle Busch during Sunday's NASCAR Cup Series race on the temporary dirt at Tennessee's Bristol Motor Speedway.

This was NASCAR's second attempt at running a Cup Series race on dirt, and it turned into a wet and muddy mystery when rain paused the action and most of the drivers seemed clueless about the rules.

Bristol dumped more than 2,300 truckloads of Tennessee red clay onto its beloved concrete 0.533-mile bullring for the second year in a row — the track has a second race later in the schedule with its usual surface — to help add variety to the schedule at a time NASCAR is experimenting with radical changes. Fox Sports then convinced the racing body to take the prime-time television slot on Easter Sunday, the first time since NASCAR's 1949 inception the Cup Series deliberately chose the holiday for a race.

NASCAR had held 10 previous Cup Series races on Easter Sunday in its history, but all because of weather-related rescheduling. This purposeful event was designed to dominate a television audience gathered together as a family the same way the NFL does on Thanksgiving and the NBA does on Christmas.

What the new audience saw was a midrace mass of confusion because few drivers seemed to understand the rules during the first stoppage. Some drivers pitted — presumably because their teams knew scoring was halted under the red flag and wouldn't resume until the race went green.

Busch was among many drivers who did not pit — perhaps because they assumed they'd move up in the running order. So it was Busch who had his car out front when NASCAR halted all activity, but Briscoe, who had pitted, was scored as the leader.

The Cup Series returns to competition next Sunday at Alabama's Talladega Superspeedway.

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