Leaders Kyle Busch, Martin Truex Jr. crash out of Brickyard 400

Russell LaBounty/NKP

By Aaron Bearden, Motorsports Editor

INDIANAPOLIS — For 110 laps it appeared that Sunday’s Brickyard 400 would come down to two drivers – Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jr.

Then one crash changed everything.

Truex and Busch were battling for the lead on a Lap 111 restart when Truex lost control of his No. 78 Toyota on the inside lane, washing up into Busch’s No. 18 Toyota and sending both drivers spinning into the outside wall.

Both cars made heavy contact with the wall. Busch’s No. 18 spun to a stop in the infield, while Truex’s No. 78 came to a flaming end against the outside at the exit of Turn 2, forcing the New Jersey native to climb out of his machine.

Both drivers climbed out unhurt, but their days were done.

Truex immediately took blame for the incident.

“I just got loose and wrecked him (Kyle Busch) I guess, totally my fault,” Truex said. “Didn’t really know what to expect in that position and didn’t really realize that he was going to drive in that deep and suck me around. I will take the blame for that and obviously it was my fault.

“I hate it for Kyle (Busch), he had a great car and we did as well, but that’s racing. Glad I was able to get out, fire was bad. I had no brakes and I had to run into the wall a second time just to get it to stop so I could get out. Fortunately I’m okay and we’ll live to race another day.”

For Busch the run came as the latest chapter in a season of close calls and increasing frustration. The 2015 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion is still searching for his first victory of 2017.

That’s the way it goes, just chalk it up to another one that we figure out how to lose these things by. It’s very frustrating and I hate it for my guys, they build such fast Toyota Camrys and the Skittles Camry was really good again today. Had wanted to go out there and put ourselves in the record books for three in a row, but not happening.”

 Truex and Busch had previously combined to dominate the afternoon’s race, running in the top two positions and combining to lead 95 of the opening 110 laps. Busch led a race-high 85 laps as he searched for his third-consecutive Indianapolis win.

“I guess we could have continued to play the teammate game and try to settle it on a green flag pit stop, but he could be that much faster than me and yard me by three seconds on a run with the clean air,” Busch said. “Then I would never be able to get the opportunity to pass him back even if we had to settle it on a pit stop,”

“We worked well together and that’s the hard part about this stuff is when it’s time to go,” Truex said. “I feel awful and just made a mistake. Definitely should have picked the outside and it would have been fine I guess. Just the way it goes.”

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