November 3, 2008
Busch Brings Home Solid Sixth-Place Finish at Texas
Date: Nov. 2, 2008
M&M'S® Team Tallies 20th Top-10 Finish of the Season
Event: Dickies 500 (Round 34 of 36)
Series: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
Location: Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth. (1.5-mile oval)
Start/Finish: 29th/6th (Running, completed 334 of 334 laps)
Winner: Carl Edwards of Roush Fenway Racing (Ford)
Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 18 M&M'S® Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR), scored a solid sixth-place finish in Sunday’s Dickies 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth.
While he ran as high as second on lap 246 of the 334-lap race, late-race pit strategy by his competitors hindered Busch from finishing inside the top-five.
“It was a good race car; the M&M’s Toyota was decent,” said Busch, who brought home his 20th top-10 finish of the season. “We battled all day to get up there and then we got shuffled back. It was the best we could do with the car we had.”
After a disappointing qualifying run on Friday, Busch started 29th but quickly showed he was a contender by moving up 20th positions in the first 64 laps.
Throughout the next 182 laps, the talented 23-year old was able to pick off a few spots on the race track, while his M&M’s team gained him a few more on pit road as crew chief Steve Addington continued to make track bar and wedge adjustments to combat a slight loose condition.
Busch was in second-place behind eventual winner Carl Edwards when the final caution waived on lap 264. The very next lap the leaders headed to pit road and while Busch and Edwards both took four tires, several others elected to take two tires which caused Busch and Edwards to restart sixth and seventh, respectively.
Busch was never able to climb back into the top five in the final 65 circuits and had to stop for fuel on lap 315 in order to ensure that he could complete all 500 miles without running out of fuel. Meanwhile, Edwards and second-place finisher Jeff Gordon both gambled on fuel mileage and managed to sweep the top two spots.
“Clean air was so important here and we had to get upfront,” said Busch. “We never really got there. We got there once but then we kind of got shuffled back a few spots because of the pit stops that came there at the end of the race with the last caution flag pit stop. Those guys took two and just got track position on us.”
Busch’s JGR teammates – Tony Stewart, Denny Hamlin and Joey Logano – finished 16th, 17th and 40th, respectively.
Edwards won the Dickies 500 to score his 15th career Sprint Cup victory, his eighth of the season and his third at Texas. His eight wins now ties Busch for the most Sprint Cup wins this season. Gordon finished 8.310 seconds behind Edwards in the runner-up spot, with Jamie McMurray, Clint Bowyer and Greg Biffle rounding out the top-five. Busch, Kevin Harvick, Martin Truex Jr., Matt Kenseth and David Reutimann comprised the remainder of the top-10.
There were five caution periods for 26 laps, with three drivers failing to finish the 334-lap race.
All three of JGR’s full-time drivers are represented in this year’s Chase for the Sprint Cup. Stewart continues to lead the JGR trio in points, but dropped one spot to ninth, 404 markers arrears series leader Jimmie Johnson. Busch gained two spots by virtue of his sixth-place finish and now sits 10th in the standings, 428 points behind Johnson. Hamlin dropped one spot to 12th and sits 431 points down to Johnson.
With only two races remaining before a champion is crowned following the season-finale Nov. 16 at Homestead-Miami Speedway, the top-12 drivers competing for the title are as follows:1. Jimmie Johnson (6,366 points) +/-0
2. Carl Edwards (6,260 points, -106) +/-0
3. Greg Biffle (6,223 points, -143) +/-0
4. Jeff Burton (6,154 points, -212) +/-0
5. Jeff Gordon (6,111 points, -255) +1
6. Clint Bowyer (6,099 points, -267) +1
7. Kevin Harvick (6,087 points, -279) -2
8. Matt Kenseth (5,973 points, -393) +1
9. Tony Stewart (5,962 points, -404) -1
10. Kyle Busch (5,938 points, -428) +2
11. Dale Earnhardt Jr. (5,937 points, -429) -1
12. Denny Hamlin (5,935 points, -431) -1
The next event on the Sprint Cup schedule is the penultimate race Nov. 9 Checker O’Reilly Auto Parts 500k at Phoenix International Raceway in Avondale, Az. The race begins at 3:45 p.m. EST with live, high-definition coverage provided by ABC beginning with its pre-race show at 3 p.m. The race will also be broadcast live on SIRIUS Satellite Radio Channel 128.