Late Incident Costs Busch Top-Five Finish at New Hampshire Interstate Batteries Driver Finishes Disappointing 11th After Leading 46 Laps Kyle Busch saw a potential top-five effort go up in a cloud of smoke with less than 15 laps remaining in ...
Late Incident Costs Busch Top-Five Finish at New Hampshire
Interstate Batteries Driver Finishes Disappointing 11th After Leading 46 Laps
Kyle Busch saw a potential top-five effort go up in a cloud of smoke with less than 15 laps remaining in Sunday's Lenox Industrial Tools 301 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon.
Busch, who led twice for 46 laps around the 1.058-mile oval, had to settle for an 11th-place finish after a battle with Jeff Burton for third sent both drivers spinning out of control.
As the duo entered turn three on lap 289 of the 301-lap race, Burton's Chevrolet slid up the racetrack and made contact with the right-rear of Busch's No. 18 Interstate Batteries Toyota Camry, sending the green machine into a 360-degree spin. Both cars recovered with very minimal damage and finished the race, albeit outside the top-10.
Just prior to the accident during a caution from laps 283-287, all those on the lead lap, except for Burton, pitted, which kept him in the lead of the race. Busch pitted for two tires and restarted third behind Burton and second-place Jimmie Johnson.
Burton had older tires, so Johnson managed to take the lead on the restart, while Kurt Busch -- Kyle's older brother -- managed to move from fifth to second, thus leaving Kyle Busch and Burton to battle for third and ultimately tangle in turn three.
"We all saw it -- I got wrecked," said Busch, who ran in the top-five for much of the race. "A product of good, hard racing there at the end of the race. A guy on no tires trying to make it all with what he's got and we screwed up. We didn't have the right front underneath the car there at the end and I washed up the track. In the previous corner, Kurt got by me. Went down into turn three and Burton got loose underneath me and we wrecked. That's all there is to it."
Busch started 22nd and by the race's first caution on lap 36 had moved to 18th. Crew chief Dave Rogers called for a two-tire pit stop and the strategy worked as Busch restarted sixth on lap 40. From there, with help from his lightning-quick Interstate Batteries crew, Busch methodically worked his way to the front during an extraordinarily long green-flag run which lasted from lap 40 though lap 239.
He took the lead on lap 153 and held the point for the next 24 circuits until pitting on lap 177. After the pit cycle concluded, Busch again held the point from laps 179-200 until Burton got by him and led the next 87 laps. Two laps later, Busch and Burton came together in turn three.
Busch's Joe Gibbs Racing teammates -- Joey Logano and Denny Hamlin -- finished ninth and 14th, respectively.
Jimmie Johnson won the Lenox Industrial Tools 301 to score his 52nd career Sprint Cup victory, his fifth of the season and his third at New Hampshire.
Tony Stewart finished .753 of a second behind race winner Johnson, while Kurt Busch, Jeff Gordon and Kevin Harvick rounded out the top-five. Ryan Newman, Clint Bowyer, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Logano and A.J. Allmendinger comprised the remainder of the top-10.
There were four caution periods for 19 laps, with nine drivers failing to finish.
With 17 of 36 races in the books, Busch continues to lead the JGR trio in the championship standings. He remained in third-place and now has 2,328 points and is 161 markers back of series leader Harvick. Hamlin remained fourth in points. He has 2,304 points and is 185 points arrears Harvick. Logano moved up one spot to 16th in the standings. He has 1,921 points and is 568 markers down to Harvick and 99 points back of 12th-place Carl Edwards, who holds the final spot in the 12-driver Chase for the Championship with nine races remaining before the Chase begins.
The next event on the Sprint Cup schedule is the July 3 Coke Zero 400 powered by Coca-Cola at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway.