Kyle Busch ready for a “real track” after Talladega loss

(Photo: Rusty Jarrett/NKP)

By Aaron Bearden, Motorsports Editor

Kyle Busch hasn’t historically been a fan of Kansas Speedway, a track that until last year he’d proven unable to master. But following another wild-weekend at Talladega Superspeedway – one of two restrictor plate facilities – the 2015 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion will be more than happy to head to the heartland.

In fact, he’d be content with any standard race track.

Busch was a consistent presence at the front of the field in Sunday’s Geico 500, leading 47 laps and holding the advantage when the Cup series race was sent into NASCAR overtime following Ryan Newman’s crash in the final laps.

However, in the end Busch was undone by a lack of support. Running without the assistance of his Toyota teammates, many of which were collected in an 18-car crash – the “Big One” – on lap 169, Busch was left as a sitting duck, doomed to be overtaken late much like early leader State of Honor in Saturday’s Kentucky Derby.

The Las Vegas, Nevada native took the early advantage on the restart and attempted to block, but a fierce challenge from Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. proved too strong to fend off. Busch would ultimately cross the line in third, just .099 seconds behind Stenhouse, who claimed his first MENCS victory.

“When they have too big of a run and you can’t do anything about it,” Busch said. “(Ricky) 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. I just can’t say enough about this Skittles American Mix Camry – it was really fast. The guys at Joe Gibbs Racing did a great job and TRD with everyone on this motor, it was awesome.

“We did all we could here today and it’s all circumstantial on how you win these things. 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.”

In the end, Busch was the lone Toyota to finish inside of the top 10, a setback that added to the difficulty of his late push for the win. Even worse, Sunday’s struggle marked Joe Gibbs Racing’s 10th race without a victory to start the year.

“Everybody was all kind of mixed up – there was a Ford, there was a Chevy – so it was just all over the place,” Busch said. “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 todaywith teammates, but they weren’t there for us at the end.”

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