Kyle Busch Comes Up Short in Thrilling Darlington Bout

AP Photo/Brynn Anderson

By: Zach Catanzareti, Staff Writer

For the second straight day, Kyle Busch came home second at Darlington Raceway.

In a pair of mid-week races to cap off the trio of races at the South Carolina complex, Busch competed in all three. The last of them coming on Thursday afternoon for the Toyota 200 in the NASCAR Xfinity Series.

Leading an early 45 laps, Busch’s No. 54 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota was among the quickest of the day, winning the race’s second stage.

However, when a win was certainly in his hands in the final stage, the series’ all-time winner sped on pit road under caution, forfeiting his lead.

“If I didn’t have the speeding penalty, I probably wouldn’t have been in that situation anyways,” Busch said of the ensuing battle for the win. “We would have probably been leading on the restart and would have been in Chase’s (Briscoe) position.”

Indeed, Chase Briscoe found himself in a strong position to take career win No. 4 Thursday, beating and banging with Justin Allgaier for the top spot before forcing himself into the lead on the race’s final restart with nine laps to go.

With Allgaier disposed of, Busch next attacked Briscoe, making contact with the No. 98 Ford on the final lap before sliding in Turn 2. One last effort in Turn 4 came up short, giving Briscoe the victory.

Despite a loss, Busch had fun.

“You always like to come out on the better end of it of course,” he said. “Had a good showing and put on a little bit of an exciting show there at the end.

“I knew being on the inside going into Turn 1 wasn’t good, but he (Briscoe) got such a bad run off of Turn 4 that I had no choice. We touched each other just a little bit, I guess he touched the fence and we got through there luckily. I thought I was going to have the lead and everything was going to be cool or we were going to be crashed. Fortunately, we weren’t crashed and I didn’t have the lead and we had another shot at it in Turns 3 and 4. Just didn’t have enough.”

With a second straight top-three finish in two Xfinity starts in 2020, Busch may be eying another series record.

“We’ll take second I guess, have no other choice, right,” he said. “Topped the list or maybe I already did that for the most second-place finishes. I might have beat Mark Martin for second-place finishes so that’s something I guess.”

The victory was especially meaningful for Briscoe, whose wife suffered a miscarriage of their soon-to-be-born daughter. With a similar experience with his wife Samantha in the past, Busch will make sure to reach out to the Briscoes after the hard battle.

“It wasn’t more difficult to get in the seat, it was more difficult with the world still going on around you and we weren’t quite as open about it at that particular time,” Busch said of his experience. “Nobody really knew what was going on or what we were going through, but [they] had all their own opinions about what was happening and what was going on. That was pretty disrespectful.

“We’re respecting Chase’s (Briscoe) privacy and everything. My wife, Samantha, actually asked me to reach out and find his phone number so we could reach out to them. We have their contact information and I’m just not sure if Samantha has reached out to her yet in order to talk to her about anything.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *