TALLADEGA, Al.— Although he had a strong third place run going, Kyle Busch was critical of his teammates and their help during the GEICO 500.
When it comes to restrictor plate racing at Daytona and Talladega, Joe Gibbs Racing and Furniture Row Racing form a pact to draft together in an effort to work their way to the front for a potential victory at Talladega.
Busch was able to show the strength of Joe Gibbs Racing, but his teammates were nowhere to be found to help him score the potential victory after leading the race when the white flag fell.
“Everybody was all kind of mixed up – there was a Ford, there was a Chevy – so it was just all over the place. Certainly myself and the 78 (Martin Truex Jr.) and the 11 (Denny Hamlin), we all worked really well together today and it was fun to have comradery today with teammates, but they weren’t there for us at the end,” Busch explained post-race.
Busch led a race high go 48 laps. Had the final caution not fell, sending the race into overtime, due to an accident involving Clint Bowyer, Ryan Newman, and Chris Buescher on the backstretch, Busch would have been the victor in the GEICO 500. But due to the drafting help Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. received from Jamie McMurray, Busch lost the lead to finish in the third position.
“When they have too big of a run and you can’t do anything about it,” Busch explained. “Stenhouse got a really good run and a good push and got by us there and then it was just about retaliation to get back on him and I just never had enough help from behind and just never got together.”
Busch was able to get the jump on restarts in the closing stages of the race, and explained how he was able to get the advantage.
“Maybe it was everybody sleeping,” he answered. “ I don't know. But it certainly was working, and that was sort of my strategy was to get it where I was single file and I could choose a lane and see which one had the momentum behind me. If I was stuck side by side with the bottom line, I never had that opportunity in order to protect both lanes. I seem to be able to do a good job at that, I just don't know how it all fell apart there in the last lap or two for us that we couldn't get to where we needed to be.”
Busch settled for third, but remains confident heading into Kansas.
“We did all we could here today and it’s all circumstantial on how you win these things,” he said. “Unfortunately our circumstances didn’t quite go our way, but we go to a real race track next week and we’ll try to win there.”