Busch Scores Solid Third-Place Finish at Texas Interstate Batteries Driver Scores First Top-Five of 2010 Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 18 Interstate Batteries Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR), finished a solid third in ...
Busch Scores Solid Third-Place Finish at Texas
Interstate Batteries Driver Scores First Top-Five of 2010
Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 18 Interstate Batteries Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR), finished a solid third in Monday's rain-postponed Samsung Mobile 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth. It was Busch's first top-five finish of 2010 and his fifth top-10 in 11 career Sprint Cup starts at Texas.
"It's just been our year so far -- just trying to get finishes," said Busch. "We've were running 10th, 12th, 13th here today. We snuck out a third on them. Last week (at Phoenix) we probably should have won the race and we got an eighth. It's give and take here and there. This Interstate Batteries Camry was just a little bit off today and the guys did an awesome job working on it all day long. We were plugging through our pit stops and kept going. This was a good third-place finish for us."
Busch fought a loose handling condition for nearly all of the 334 laps around the 1.5-mile oval, but benefitted from a great pit call from crew chief Dave Rogers and a little bit of good luck late in the race.
When a caution came out on lap 312, Busch was outside of the top-10 and appeared to have little chance of working his way up to a good finish as just 22 laps remained.
However, as every car on the lead lap headed to pit road, Rogers called for the Interstate Batteries crew to change two right-side tires, and when the green No. 18 machine entered turn one after the completion of the stop, Busch found himself in sixth-place.
The race resumed on lap 317 and just after the leaders completed the first circuit under green, nine cars, including several Busch was battling with for position, were involved in an accident on the frontstretch, which caused a 21-minute red flag.
Busch restarted fourth on lap 323 and quickly moved to second behind JGR teammate and eventual winner Denny Hamlin. He could not run down Hamlin, however, and with less than two laps remaining, four-time and reigning Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson got by the Interstate Batteries Toyota, relegating Busch to a very respectable third-place finish.
"It was definitely the right call (to take two tires)," Busch said. "We probably had a 10th- to 13th-place car today, unfortunately. Dave and the guys never gave up. The pit crew on pit road was awesome today. They were just flawless. They did a great job for us. We needed to work on our Interstate Batteries Camry a little bit longer and could never get it. I think I know what it was and Dave knows what it was too, so hopefully we can come back here in the fall with something a little different. What we had worked with the wing, but it doesn't like the spoiler that much, so we have some work to do on that. I can't thank the guys enough. Third is a good day for us here today. I'm glad to see our teammate win."
Interstate Batteries has never won at Texas Motor Speedway, the home track for the Dallas-based company. Busch's third-place effort equaled the highest result for Interstate as a sponsor in the Lone Star State -- something accomplished four previous times. Former JGR driver Bobby Labonte finished third in April 1997, March 1999 and April 2000, while Busch occupied the position in April 2008.
Hamlin's win in the Samsung Mobile 500 was his 10th career Sprint Cup victory, his second of the season and his first at Texas. Joey Logano, the third member of the JGR contingent, finished 28th after being involved in the multi-car accident late in the event.
Johnson finished .153 of a second behind Hamlin, while Kyle Busch, Kurt Busch and Kasey Kahne rounded out the top-five. Mark Martin, Kevin Harvick, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Martin Truex Jr., and Greg Biffle comprised the remainder of the top-10.
There were seven caution periods for 32 laps, with 14 drivers failing to finish the 501-mile race.
With eight of 36 races in the books, Busch leads the JGR trio in the championship point standings. He jumped six spots to sixth with 1,020 points, 228 markers back of leader Johnson. Hamlin is 11th with 973 points, 275 markers arrears Johnson. Logano is tied for 12th with Tony Stewart with 941 points, 307 markers down to Johnson.
The next event on the Sprint Cup schedule is the April 25 Aaron's 499 at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway.