Busch Rallies for Solid Fifth at Kentucky
Posted June 30, 2013
Doublemint Driver Recovers from Lap 42 Spin; Records Eighth Top-Five of Season
Date: June 30, 2013
Event: Quaker State 400 (Round 17 of 36)
Series: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
Location: Kentucky Speedway in Sparta (1.5-mile oval)
Start/Finish: 4th/5th (Running, completed 267 of 267 laps)
Point Standing: 7th (500 points, 110 out of first; 22 ahead of 11th)
Winner: Matt Kenseth of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Good things come to those who wait. Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 18 Doublemint Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR), waited an extra day at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta because of rain, and then patiently rallied from a lap 42 spin that dropped him as far back as 36th.
The happy ending was a strong fifth-place finish in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quaker State 400 on Sunday.
“We had a decent Doublemint Camry today,” said Busch, who scored his eighth top-five and 10th top-10 result of the season. “We had our work cut out for us today, that's for sure, spinning out early and then coming back through and working hard. The Doublemint Camry was good, and at points in the race it seemed it was really inconsistent for me to drive. I don't think the left-side tire was the right tire choice for coming here, but we all had to deal through it. We did the best we could, and we ended up with a top-five. All things considered, it was a good day for us.”
After starting fourth, Busch held his position within the top-five for the first 30 laps of the 267-lap race. But trouble struck on lap 42 as Busch’s loose racecar snapped around in traffic as the field exited turn 2.
The spin set Busch and the Doublemint team back to 36th on lap 46, but he didn’t stay there for long. By lap 71, he found himself in 20th and had some good fortune come his way as the caution waved on lap 89. Many teams in front of Busch had already pitted under green-flag conditions while leader Jimmie Johnson had not. As a result, several teams in front of Busch were trapped a lap down, which moved him up to ninth before pit stops were made. A spectacular stop by the Doublemint over-the-wall crew then gained Busch five spots, as he restarted fourth on lap 95.
From there, Busch ran consistently between fourth and seventh for the reminder of the 400-mile race, as he battled a loose racecar that would improve when clouds covered the sun as the car was setup for the night race that was postponed until Sunday because of rain.
“The weather today threw me for a huge loop because anytime I got cloud cover, I could pick up three-tenths of a second,” Busch said. “It was crazy the amount of time I could pick up, and then I go down into the next corner and the sun is back, so you know you have to back the corner up. And as soon as you do, then you're just wrecking loose. Really, really edgy to drive out there today and challenging, but yet we persevered and came home fifth for Doublemint and everyone at JGR and Toyota. We can take that effort and go into next week.”
Busch’s JGR teammate Matt Kenseth won the Quaker State 400, scoring his 28th career Sprint Cup victory, his fourth of the season and his first at Kentucky.
Busch’s other JGR teammate, Denny Hamlin, driver of the No. 11 Toyota Camry, finished 35th after a lap 148 accident ended his race early.
Jamie McMurray finished .699 of a second behind Kenseth in the runner-up spot, while Clint Bowyer, Joey Logano and Busch rounded out the top-five. Kurt Busch, Martin Truex Jr., Jeff Gordon, Johnson and Kevin Harvick comprised the remainder of the top-10.
There were 10 caution periods for 42 laps, with 11 drivers failing to finish the 267-lap race.
With round 17 of 36 complete, Kenseth continues to lead the JGR trio in the championship point standings. He maintained fifth in the standings with 528 points, 82 behind series leader Johnson and 50 ahead of 11th-place Kasey Kahne. Busch gained one spot and sits seventh with 500 points, 110 out of first and 22 ahead of Kahne. Hamlin maintained 25th with 329 points, 281 out of first and 150 behind 10th-place Logano.
The next event on the Sprint Cup schedule is the Coke Zero 400 powered by Coca-Cola on Saturday, July 6 at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway. The race starts at 7:30 p.m. EDT, with live coverage provided by TNT beginning with its pre-race show at 6:30 p.m.