February 6, 2009
Date: Feb. 6, 2009
M&Mís Team Posts
Event: Budweiser Shootout (non-point race)
Series: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
Location: Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway
Start/Finish: 17th/4th (Running, completed 76 of 76 laps in a green-white-checker finish)
Winner: Kevin Harvick of Richard Childress Racing (Chevrolet)
Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 18 M&Mís Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR), battled a tight-handling racecar all night long but still managed to bring home a solid fourth-place finish in Saturday nightís non-points Budweiser Shootout NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway.
"The last lap got a bit hairy, there, in (turn) three, but we made it through," said Busch, who posted his career-best Budweiser Shootout finish. "We didnít quite have the car we were looking for tonight, unfortunately. I have to apologize to our fans. The M&M's Camry just didn't quite have enough in order to be able to turn in the exit of the corners. I couldn't keep the throttle down the way that I wanted. Dave (Rogers, crew chief) and I will go to work and fix it up to get it ready for the (Daytona) 500. This isn't the same car, but we know what we need to do, or at least we have some ideas, anyway. Iím really proud of the way the guys worked. We just have to go back to the drawing board a little bit."
After starting in 17th, Busch battled a racecar that was especially tight on corner exit and sat near the back of the lead draft for the first 25 laps of the 76-lap race, which was extended one lap due to a green-white-checker finish.
Despite the fact the handling was not to his liking, the talented 24-year-old held his ground until crew chief Dave Rogers and the M&Mís team were able to make wholesale changes under a 10-minute break at the 25-lap mark. During the break, Rogers made wedge, air pressure, and shock adjustments in hopes of making the M&Mís Toyota roll better off the exit of the corner.
While his changes helped improve the handling slightly, Busch decided to run the high line as much as possible the remainder of the race, since his car was just too tight to hold the bottom of the track.
Even with the handling issues, the Las Vegas native had moved up to the sixth position when a caution came out with just four laps remaining. The following lap, Rogers decided to bring Busch down pit road for another set of wedge and air pressure adjustments and just two right-side tires.
Busch sat in the fifth position when the race restarted the final time on lap 74 and hoped to have an opportunity to race for the win. But, a multi-car accident that occurred by the time the field entered turn four froze the field and ended any shot he had at walking away with a victory.
Buschís JGR teammates Ė Denny Hamlin and Joey Logano Ė finished fifth and seventh, respectively.
The Budweiser Shootout is an exhibition race featuring the following, with eligibility based on a driver having competed in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series within the last two seasons:
- The 12 drivers who qualified for the 2009 Chase for the Championship
- Past NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champions
- Past Budweiser Shootout winners
- Past Daytona 500 winners
- Past Coke Zero 400 winners
- The reigning Raybestos Rookie of the Year
This yearís field included 24 drivers.
Kevin Harvick won the Budweiser Shootout to score his second consecutive Budweiser Shootout victory. Kasey Kahne finished second, while Jamie McMurray, Busch and Hamlin rounded out the top-five. Jeff Gordon, Logano, Brian Vickers, Tony Stewart and Juan Pablo Montoya comprised the remainder of the top-10.
Next up for the M&Mís team is the Gatorade Duel Ė twin 150-mile heat races that set the majority of the 43-car Daytona 500 field. Those get underway at 2 p.m. EST on Thursday, Feb. 11 with live coverage on SPEED. The green flag waves for the 52nd Daytona 500 at 1 p.m. EST on Sunday, Feb. 14, with live coverage provided by FOX beginning with its pre-race show at noon.