M&M's Team Runs Strong Before Scrape with Wall Slows Progress to Front Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 18 M&M's Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR), overcame a mid-race scrape with the wall and rallied for a 12th-place finish in Sunday's Price...
M&M's Team Runs Strong Before Scrape with Wall Slows Progress to Front
Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 18 M&M's Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR), overcame a mid-race scrape with the wall and rallied for a 12th-place finish in Sunday's Price Chopper 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City.
"We didn't qualify well, but our M&M's Camry was strong enough to get up to the top-10 at one point," said Busch, who notched his second top-15 finish in six starts at Kansas. "We had a good car with our balance, but it didn't have the speed that we needed. We still hung up there toward the front, even though we got into the fence, there. We didn't have a winning car, but it was probably good enough for a seventh- or eighth-place finish if we didn't have the damage."
While he started in the 34th spot, Busch made an impressive charge in his M&M's Toyota and was up to 17th by lap 67.
Throughout the course of the day's first few pit stops, crew chief Steve Addington ordered track-bar and air-pressure changes in hopes of aiding the M&M's Toyota that was tight in the center but loose off the corner. With the help of strong pit stops by the M&M's over-the-wall crew, Busch slowly gained track position and moved all the way up to seventh by lap 137 of the 267-lap race.
But soon after a restart just past the halfway point, the Las Vegas native ran into trouble as he was following three cars in front of him for position. He got in their dirty air and his No. 18 M&M's Toyota Camry brushed the SAFER barrier on the outside retaining wall of turn two on lap 164, damaging the right side of his car. While the scrape with the wall was not enough to force Busch to pit, it was enough to drop him from 10th to 17th as he held on for the next chance to pit, which finally came under green-flag conditions on lap 207.
Busch was in 15th place shortly after the aforementioned lap 207 stop, but caught a break as the caution flew on lap 236, sending him to pit road for four tires, an air pressure adjustment, and another strong stop from the M&M's team. From there, Busch rallied furiously, eventually settling for the 12th-place finish and getting the most out of his racecar after the mid-race scrape with the wall.
"On one of those restarts, I got into some dirty air from the three cars racing in front of me and just misjudged it and got my right side into the fence," said Busch of the lap 164 scrape with the wall. "We just had to tread water and wait until the next pit stop, but I'm really proud of the M&M's guys for hanging in there, battling back, and getting a decent finish after getting into the wall like that."
Busch's JGR teammates -- Denny Hamlin and rookie Joey Logano -- finished fifth and 28th, respectively.
With only seven races remaining in the Sprint Cup season, Hamlin leads the JGR trio in the championship point standings, as he is JGR's lone representative in the 12-driver Chase for the Championship. Hamlin held his sixth position in the standings, 99 markers behind Chase leader Mark Martin. Busch gained one spot to move up to 13th in the standings while Logano maintained his 20th position in the standings.
Tony Stewart beat Jeff Gordon by .894 of a second to win the Price Chopper 400 and score his 37th career Sprint Cup victory, his fourth of the season and his second at Kansas, as he also won at the 1.5-mile oval in 2006.
Greg Biffle finished third, while Juan Pablo Montoya and Hamlin rounded out the top-five. Kasey Kahne, Martin, David Reutimann, Jimmie Johnson and Carl Edwards comprised the remainder of the top-10.
There were six caution periods for 23 laps, with eight drivers failing to finish the 267-lap race.
The next event on the Sprint Cup schedule is the Oct. 11 Pepsi 500 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif. The race begins at 3:15 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by ABC beginning with its pre-race show at 2:30 p.m.