Busch Salvages Sixth at Bristol; Late-Race Penalty Costs Z-Line Designs Team Potential Victory Kyle Busch led three times for a race-high 156 laps in the Scotts Turf Builder 300 NASCAR Nationwide Series event Saturday at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor...
Busch Salvages Sixth at Bristol; Late-Race Penalty Costs Z-Line Designs Team Potential Victory
Kyle Busch led three times for a race-high 156 laps in the Scotts Turf Builder 300 NASCAR Nationwide Series event Saturday at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway, but a late-race penalty denied the driver of the No. 18 Z-Line Designs Toyota his 23rd career Nationwide Series win.
Busch was in the lead when he pitted under caution on lap 254 of the 300-lap race, but during the stop, a rear tire rolled outside of his pit box. With his four-tire stop complete, the jack dropped, signaling to Busch that it was "go-time." Unfortunately, the errant tire remained errant as Busch pulled away from his pit stall. The miscue resulted in a penalty, with NASCAR issuing Busch a stop-and-go pit stop on his next trip around the .533-mile oval. As a result of the additional stop, the Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) driver lost several positions and had to restart the race in 15th.
Despite the setback, Busch rallied to a sixth-place finish, which gained him valuable points in his quest of his first Nationwide Series title.
"We had a good car," said Jason Ratcliff, crew chief of the No. 18 Z-Line Designs Toyota. "Kyle drove the wheels off of it. He drove hard. He worked hard today, and when you work hard and you don't get your rewards for it, it's frustrating. It's frustrating for him, it's frustrating for this race team, but we'll move on.
"We'll figure out what we need to do in that same situation next time a tire gets away. We would've been better off if we could've held him there until we got the tire back. It would've lost us a couple spots, but we obviously wouldn't have gone back to 15th. But it happens. We were working on the right front fender and I was paying attention to that and I didn't see the tire get away and by the time I saw it he was gone. It is what it is. We had a good car, though. He drove hard and we'll regroup and go to the next one and try to win it."
Busch, who is running the full 35-race Nationwide Series schedule in 2009, moved up two spots to third in the championship point standings, 124 markers arrears series leader Carl Edwards.
The race featured 10 caution periods for 62 laps, with nine drivers failing to finish the 159.9-mile race.
The Nationwide Series is idle next week before its schedule resumes with the April 4 O'Reilly 300 at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth.