TWO TANGLES MAKE FOR TOUGH TALLADEGA FOR BUSCH Z-Line Designs Driver Battles Overheating Issues, Finishes 34th in Rain-Postponed Aaron's 312 Kyle Busch battled overheating problems and was involved in two accidents which caused him to finish a...
TWO TANGLES MAKE FOR TOUGH TALLADEGA FOR BUSCH
Z-Line Designs Driver Battles Overheating Issues, Finishes 34th in Rain-Postponed Aaron's 312
Kyle Busch battled overheating problems and was involved in two accidents which caused him to finish a disappointing 34th in Sunday's rain-postponed Aaron's 312 NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway.
The driver of the No. 18 Z-Line Designs Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) led four times for 16 laps and was going for his third consecutive Nationwide Series victory in 2010, but managed to complete only 111 of the 120 laps.
Early in the race, Busch radioed to crew chief Jason Ratcliff that the temperature of his engine was fine as long as the Z-Line Designs Toyota was out front in clean air. However, if Busch was in traffic and surrounded by other cars, his engine temperature spiked.
Despite that, Busch was still very much in contention as he was set to make his final pit stop under green on lap 93. However, as he began to move toward pit road after exiting the banking in turn four, the No. 09 car of Patrick Sheltra slammed into the back of Busch's No. 18 Z-Line Designs Toyota, causing significant damage to the rear of the car.
After pitting for four tires and fuel, Busch returned to the racetrack but soon discovered that his right-rear quarterpanel was rubbing against his right-rear tire, meaning the tire could be cut down and deflate at any moment.
Busch was forced to pit road so the Z-Line Designs crew could fix the damage, but since the repairs were made under green, the No. 18 car lost a lap to the leaders, putting Busch out of contention for the win.
Adding to an already frustrating day, with just four laps to go, Busch was caught up in a multi-car accident at the end of the frontstretch. His car suffered enough damage that he was unable to continue and complete the full race distance.
"We just got behind," Busch said. "We started overheating and we were fine when we were leading, but anytime we got in traffic, we had to back up and get out of everyone's way and not overheat. We got back there and we had to come back for our final stop there and I got run over coming to pit road. That put the right-rear quarterpanel on the right-rear tire and it started rubbing, so we had to come in and move it away, otherwise we were going to cut the tire.
"During the last wreck, I missed everything and was down at the bottom and there was grass coming up and two other cars spinning and wrecking on the bottom in front of me, so I turned up to go back up toward the racetrack and someone just came out of nowhere and broadsided me in the door. I guess you'll have that."
The tough ending capped off 827.26 miles of racing for Busch as he also competed in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Aaron's 499 (a race that went 532 miles) earlier in the day and finished ninth in the No. 18 Pedigree Toyota Camry for JGR.
Brad Keselowski won the Aaron's 312 to score his seventh career Nationwide Series victory, his first of the season and his first at Talladega.
Busch's JGR teammate, Joey Logano, finished behind Keselowski under caution, while Kevin Harvick, Jason Keller and John Borneman III rounded out the top-five. Clint Bowyer, Tony Raines, Paul Menard, Brian Vickers and rookie Brian Scott comprised the remainder of the top-10.
There were five caution periods for 16 laps, with 19 drivers failing to finish the 120-lap race, which was extended three laps past its scheduled distance due to a green-white-checkered finish.
While Busch is not running the full Nationwide Series schedule, JGR's No. 18 Toyota is competing for the owner's title. After taking the point lead via Busch's win last week at Texas, the No. 18 car fell three spots to fourth-place with 1,220 points, 104 markers behind the No. 22 car of Penske Racing. JGR has won the past two Nationwide Series owner's championships.
The next event on the Nationwide Series schedule is the April 30 Bubba Burger 250 at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway.