Dropped cylinder keeps Busch from challenging for the win.
Camry driver Kurt Busch (second) was the highest-finishing Toyota driver in Friday evening's NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) race at Kentucky Speedway.
Kurt Busch's top-10 performance on the 1.5-mile track was his ninth top-10 result of the season in just 10 NNS starts, including seven consecutive top-10 finishes.
By virtue of Busch's top-five, Camry drivers have claimed at least one top-five finish in each of the last five NNS races at Kentucky Speedway.
Other Toyota drivers in the field included Kenny Wallace (11th), Mike Bliss (17th), Joe Nemechek (18th), Jason Bowles (22nd), Tayler Malsam (23rd), Eric McClure (26th), Tanner Berryhill (28th), Brian Scott (30th), Denny Hamlin (33rd) and Jeff Green (42nd).
KURT BUSCH, No. 54 Monster Energy Toyota Camry, Kyle Busch Motorsports Finishing Position: 2nd How was your race tonight? "I thought it was a good battle for us tonight. We started off very loose with the Monster Energy car. Mike Beam (crew chief) -- his leadership and his experience brought it back underneath us and we were able to challenge for the lead at the end. But, Austin Dillon, he was in his own zip code. Richard Childress -- those guys -- it's neat to see that kid develop and it reminds me of this team right at KBM, Kyle Busch Motorsports. Developing, getting closer and battling -- we've got a bunch of top-10s straight in a row here and we want to start turning those into top-fives. A great podium finish tonight to be second. Just got to thank Monster and their support -- all of those associates that help us. And to bring the car home that was wounded again into a top-three finish. Like last week the track bar was falling out and this week we dropped a cylinder with a few laps to go. It's just good to be able to battle through some adversity and post a good finish."
Was Austin Dillon unbeatable tonight? "Austin Dillon was very fast tonight. Congratulations to him. That kid is really coming along well and that whole program - (Richard) Childress is taking care of him just right. But, tonight for us, with the Monster Energy car -- we were nice and solid at the end. We just struggled at the beginning, so Mike Beam (crew chief) really dialed me back in. We were loose all night. My first run here at Kentucky in a Nationwide (car) -- so we were pretty happy with that."
Could you catch Austin Dillon? "I thought we could battle with him. I expected to lose some ground to him early in the run. I expected he would be quicker than us for 20 laps. I thought that we would level out after 10 more. Then I thought we could reel him in with 20 to go and put on a good show for the fans here in Kentucky and he just was too strong tonight."
How much did the track change tonight? "It was definitely a hot afternoon for qualifying and we were on the loose side. We expected the track to go looser once conditions cooled off and we just didn't stay in front of it. It just seemed like we were a little bit behind. At the end, we got the car as good as we could get it. Any time that we've seen tracks start right at dusk and go into night fall and then cool off -- they get looser."
Did you have any problems towards the end of the race? "We dropped a cylinder with six (laps) to go. It's kind of one of those bummer deals. Just got to thank all of our supporters, which is Monster and Toyota. It's just neat to develop this team. Mike Beam (crew chief) is a great leader. Our team here with the Monster Energy Toyota is getting better each and every week."
What did your brother Kyle say to you after the race? "He's just real proud of the way that we don't have a scratch on the car and we're getting closer each and every week."
KYLE BUSCH, owner, No. 54 Monster Energy Toyota Camry, Kyle Busch Motorsports What did you tell your brother Kurt after the race? "Just that he (Kurt Busch) did a great job. We're proud of him that he was able to bring home a really strong run tonight and finish second. For where we started at the beginning of the night, we weren't sure that we were going to have a car capable of doing that, but he hung in there with us and (Mike) Beam (crew chief) did some good calls for adjustments, and we got the thing going better."
KYLE BUSCH, owner, No. 54 Monster Energy Toyota Camry, Kyle Busch Motorsports (continued) Has Kyle Busch Motorsports established itself in the Nationwide Series? "I think Kurt (Busch) has been a huge asset to that. He's really helped us a lot being able to put things together and give good feedback that we've been able to keep moving forward with. He's been in the car doing the brunt of the work here lately, but now it's my turn to jump back in for a couple weeks and get going and hopefully continue to carry the strong tradition of top-10 runs so far this summer. We'll see how it goes and try to get ourselves to where we're not necessarily just running top-five, but contending for wins."
Does the team's performance put a smile on your face? "Yeah, so far so good. We've come a long way in a very short period of time and we've got great support from the Toyota guys and the Monster Energy folks and everybody that's been able to help us thus far. We can only hope that we can continue to do the right things and the smart things and go in the right direction to continue to lead us to good finishes."
KENNY WALLACE, No. 99 American Ethanol/Family Farmers Toyota Camry, RAB Racing w/Brack Maggard Finishing Position: 11th
MIKE BLISS, No. 44 Toyota Camry, TriStar Motorsports Finishing Position: 17th
JOE NEMECHEK, No. 87 AM/FM Energy Wood Toyota Camry, NEMCO Motorsports Finishing Position: 18th
JASON BOWLES, No. 81 American Majority Toyota Camry, MacDonald Motorsports Finishing Position: 22nd
TAYLER MALSAM, No. 19 G-Oil/Ryobi Toyota Camry, TriStar Motorsports Finishing Position: 23rd
ERIC McCLURE, No. 14 Hefty/Reynolds Wrap Toyota Camry, TriStar Motorsports Finishing Position: 26th
TANNER BERRYHILL, No. 17 New Gulf Resources/Excel Therapy Toyota Camry, TriStar Motorsports Finishing Position: 28th
BRIAN SCOTT, No. 11 Dollar General Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Finishing Position: 30th What happened to your Camry? "We lost a cylinder. It just happened all the sudden. It's unfortunate. We weren't very good. We didn't have the car anywhere near where we wanted it. Through strategy and the way that caution rolled out, we were going to end with a top-10 and have a decent day out of a very bad circumstance and now unfortunately we've blown our third engine of the year."
DENNY HAMLIN, No. 18 Dollar General Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Finishing Position: 33rd What happened with your engine? "I don't know. Our car was really bad anyway. Just we got in the middle of the pack and that's just where we stayed -- you just can't pass at all. Surface is rough, the tires are hard and you just can't make any moves at all, especially with this Nationwide car with no power. It just was a miserable day anyway and then just looked like we lost something in the engine."
Did you have any indication prior to the race-ending issue? "No. It went down on seven cylinders early in the race and then finally blew going into turn one there right before it quit, but no it just -- even if it gives us an indication, there's nothing we can do about it."
JEFF GREEN, No. 10 Toyota Camry, TriStar Motorsports Finishing Position: 42nd
Source: Toyota Motorsports