Kyle Busch celebrated his 300th NASCAR Sprint Cup Series tonight with a dominating victory in the NRA 500 at Texas Motor Speedway.
Busch completed the weekend sweep in Texas after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series the night before.
Meanwhile Brian Vickers brought home a solid eighth-place finish filling in for the injury Denny Hamlin, while Matt Kenseth raced most of the day in the top five, but was caught in a late restart and finished 12th. Read more
What was it like to have Denny next to you during practices rather than in the car?
“It’s entertaining — he (Hamlin) said that he learned more in the one hour of watching practice than he typically learns in three or four months of practice himself. Just being able to watch other drivers and scan radios and those things. He says he learned a lot more about what he can pick up and help us on feedback. I hope it’s going to be a positive move for us in the long run.”
How will the learning curve of the new car be impacted with Denny in the car at test events?
“I think it gives us a little more broad perspective on everything we’re doing and the importance of every little detail. With Denny (Hamlin) being out of the car and sitting back and watching some of those things and we will go to Texas and we have the test day there — it’s nice for him to see what we do to prep every week and what we’re doing now. He’s more active in that so it makes him appreciate more of what we do and the time we spend on it. We get even closer feedback on his opinions and stuff — he realizes how important it is now because all we can see is what we can physically see on the track with the car going around. We can’t tell a lot about the handling usually with that. We see general trends, but that’s it. The detail feedback and scans of other drivers and listening to the way Mark (Martin) and Brian (Vickers) are describing cars is going to be a big eye-opening thing for him.”
Martinsville Speedway was missing one of its favorites this afternoon with Denny Hamlin forced to sit out today’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP Gas Booster 500 while recovering from a back injury suffered two weeks ago at Auto Club Speedway.
NASCAR veteran driver Mark Martin would fill in for Hamlin and was able to help the FedEx team to a 10th-place finish, while both Kyle Busch and Matt Kenseth took their turns at the front of the field over the course of the race and before bringing home fifth and 14th-place finishes respectively.
Busch qualified the No. 18 M&Ms Toyota 11th and patiently worked his way to the front of the field. A great pit stop under caution by the M&Ms crew allowed Busch to restart in the second position on lap 91 and he would pass Jimmie Johnson to take his first lead of the day. He would hold the lead for 12 laps. Busch would remain in the top three over the next 150 laps before passing his teammate in the 20 car to regain the lead just past the halfway mark. Busch would lead twice for a total of 56 laps on the day. He would restart third on lap 368 and would hold onto fifth over the next green flag run as he battled handling conditions on his M&Ms Camry that shifted from earlier in the race. A caution with just over 50 laps to go would allow final adjustments to the car and Busch would restart fourth with 42 laps to go. Busch would restart from the fourth position once again with eight laps remaining and he managed to hold off a challenge from the 2 car to come home fifth. Read more