- Unavoidable accident takes Busch out of race
- Busch fails to lead a lap, first time in eight races
Mid-Race Accident Ends Busch’s Bid for Victory
Z-Line Designs Driver Finishes Disappointing 34th at Texas Motor Speedway
All good things must come to an end, and for Kyle Busch and the No. 18 Z-Line Designs-sponsored team of Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR), their incredible run of success in NASCAR Nationwide Series competition at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth came to an end with a severely damaged racecar being loaded into their transporter just past the halfway point of Friday night’s O’Reilly Auto Parts 300.
Busch finished a disappointing 34th after being involved in an accident in turn two on lap 88. It marked just the second time in 13 Nationwide Series starts at Texas that Busch finished outside the top-seven. He won five consecutive races at the 1.5-mile oval between April 2008 and April 2010 and bookended that streak with runner-up finishes in November 2007 and November 2010. Busch failed to lead at lap at Texas Friday night after leading at least one lap in eight straight events and leading at least half of the laps in seven of those races.
“We had a good car,” said Busch, who has won three Nationwide Series races thus far in 2011 to boost his career win tally to 46. “The guys did a great job from when we unloaded. We were a little off this weekend, and we made so many changes that we got lost at one point, but we got a lot better. Real happy with the way the guys worked together this weekend and we got the car going a lot better. This Z-Line Designs Camry was fast. We were running Carl (Edwards) down. Almost got alongside of him there one time and waited for the backstretch, but we crashed down into turn one and two.”
Edwards was leading, but Busch was closing in fast as the duo worked their way through turns one and two. They encountered the much slower, lapped car of Tim Schendel, who happened to cut a tire as Edwards and Busch were fast approaching. Edwards was just able to squeeze by the wounded car as he entered turn two, but as Busch drove into the second turn, Schendel’s car drifted up into his path, leaving Busch nowhere to go. His No. 18 Z-Line Designs Toyota Camry slammed into the back of Schendel’s No. 52 Chevrolet.
The damage was severe, and Busch knew it. He radioed crew chief Jason Ratcliff and the rest of the Z-Line Designs team to inform them that the car couldn’t be repaired and that their night was finished.
“I kind of saw it coming and tried to turn left, but it was too late.
“I kind of saw it coming and tried to turn left, but it was too late,” Busch said. “It didn’t happen that fast, but there was no time to react. You can’t just stomp on the brakes and turn left. You’re already maxed out with your tires. It’s real unfortunate. I don’t know how long his tire was going down, but if it was going down for the whole front straightaway, he should’ve gotten to the slowest speed and ran the apron.
“I felt like there was an opportunity for us to win. I’m not going to say we were the winning car, Carl (Edwards) was definitely the winning car. We were making ground on him to where we could get there and at least run with him. We probably could’ve put on a really good show for the fans out here in Texas.”
Busch’s JGR teammates – Joey Logano, driver of the No. 20 Toyota Camry, and Brian Scott, driver of the No. 11 Toyota Camry – finished fourth and 10th, respectively.
Edwards went on to victory, leading four times for a race-high 169 laps and finishing with .482 of a second advantage over second-place Brad Keselowski. It was Edwards 30th career Nationwide Series victory, his first of the season and his second at Texas.
Paul Menard was third, while Logano and Elliott Sadler took spots four and five. Justin Allgaier, Reed Sorenson, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., David Reutimann and Scott comprised the remainder of the top-10.
There were three caution periods for 15 laps, with 13 drivers failing to finish 300-mile race.