Kyle Busch Strengthens Chase Bid With Win At Kentucky Speedway

Kyle Busch Strengthens Chase Bid With Win At Kentucky Speedway

by July 12, 2015 0 comments

Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images

SPARTA, Ky. – By winning the Quaker State 400 at Kentucky Speedway on Saturday night,  Joe Gibbs Racing’s Kyle Busch made a statement that he and his team are serious contenders to making the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, despite missing the first 11 races of the 2015 season.

When Busch won at Sonoma Raceway back in June, the win nearly assured him a spot in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup if he could manage to enter the top-30 in points. That is, if the season hasn’t seen 16 different winners following the race at Richmond International Raceway in September. On Saturday night, Busch’s second win this season now places him 35th in the standings, only 87 points away from the 30th position. With only eight races remaining before the Chase cutoff, the No. 18 M&M’s Crispy Toyota team is starting to make more than just noise for their Chase bid.

“That right there is what we have to do,” Busch said. “Just to score as many points as we possibly can and score those wins, that’s what’s going to get us where we need to be. We led the most laps and we won the race so that’s all you can score. We’ll just continue to push on and drive and try to strive through our deficit and get ourselves in position to be in the top-30.”

Busch and Joey Logano swapped the lead multiple times in the closing laps, thanks to the debut of the new aero package this weekend at Kentucky Speedway. However, in the end, not only did Busch lead 163 laps, more than any other driver, but he also was able to lead the final 20 laps to capture his 31st career victory.

“I have to tell you, for everybody out there, I have such great respect for what he’s (Kyle Busch) done,” said team owner, Joe Gibbs. “This is a great sports story – to be hurt that bad at Daytona and come back in four months, win on a road race – you know how hard that is – and then come back here and win again. Just really proud of him and the whole M&M’s team, everybody has done a great job there – Adam (Stevens, crew chief) and everybody. We’re so excited for the whole group.”

With momentum at its peak for the team, there’s no better track the series can visit next, than New Hampshire Motor Speedway where Busch has finished second in three of the last four races. Whether Busch makes the Chase or not, the effort is certainly impressive. Since the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway in May, Busch has captured three top-10 finishes in only seven starts.

“I’m not thinking about it exactly,” said Busch in reference to the points situation. “Obviously it’s on our mind, but I’m not thinking about the points gained when we win. When we win, I know we did all we can do. That’s awesome. And it is what it is. They lie wherever they lie. It’s more of the 17th place finish at Daytona and you know that those other guys can have decent finishes at those places as well, too, so because it’s just such an unknown that you kind of look at the points and you’re like okay how many did I gain I think I only gained six or seven or something last week on 30.”

The New Hampshire 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway will air live on NBCSN and the Performance Racing Network (PRN), Sunday, July 19 at 1:30 p.m. ET.

Quaker State 400 Presented By Advance Auto Parts Results:

1.) #18 Kyle Busch

2.) #22 Joey Logano

3.) #11 Denny Hamlin

4.) #19 Carl Edwards

5.) #20 Matt Kenseth

6.) #2 Brad Keselowski

7.) #24 Jeff Gordon

8.) #4 Kevin Harvick

9.) #48 Jimmie Johnson

10.) #41 Kurt Busch

11.) #17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

12.) #43 Aric Almirola

13.) #6 Trevor Bayne

14.) #1 Jamie McMurray

15.) #27 Paul Menard

16.) #16 Greg Biffle

17.) #78 Martin Truex Jr.

18.) #55 David Ragan

19.) #15 Clint Bowyer

20.) #31 Ryan Newman

21.) #88 Dale Earnhardt Jr.

22.) #9 Sam Hornish Jr.

23.) #13 Casey Mears

24.) #51 Justin Allgaier

25.) #3 Austin Dillon

26.) #47 AJ Allmendinger

27.) #5 Kasey Mears

28.) #40 Landon Cassill

29.) #38 David Gilliland

30.) #46 Michael Annett

31.) #7 Alex Bowman

32.) #34 Brett Moffitt

33.) #14 Tony Stewart

34.) #10 Danica Patrick

35.) #42 Kyle Larson

36.) #62 Reed Sorenson

37.) #35 Cole Whitt

38.) #32 Will Kimmel III

39.) #23 JJ Yeley

40.) #33 Alex Kennedy

41.) #26 Jeb Burton

42.) #83 Matt DiBenedetto

43.) #98 Josh Wise


NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Top-16 Point Standings:

1.) #4 Kevin Harvick

2.) #48 Jimmie Johnson -68

3.) #22 Joey Logano -68

4.) #88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. -76

5.) #78 Martin Truex Jr. -96

6.) #2 Brad Keselowski -133

7.) #1 Jamie McMurray -136

8.) #41 Kurt Busch -150

9.) #20 Matt Kenseth -152

10.) #24 Jeff Gordon – 155

11.) #11 Denny Hamlin -170

12.) #5 Kasey Kahne -179

13.) #27 Paul Menard -183

14.) #31 Ryan Newman -195

15.) #15 Clint Bowyer -202

16.) #43 Aric Almirola -219

Hunter Thomas
Hunter Thomas is a journalist who grew up in Darlington, S.C. His first motorsports-based endeavor was working as the Public Relations Director at Dillon Motor Speedway in Dillon, S.C., and his journalism start came while he was freelancing at his hometown newspaper, the News & Press while in college.

Hunter has been working within the NASCAR industry since 2010, and throughout the years, he has done everything from PR/Marketing for drivers and teams in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, NASCAR XFINITY Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, to working at Rockingham Speedway. As a journalist, Hunter has covered everything from regional short tracks to NASCAR, ARCA Racing Series, World of Outlaws, Red Bull Global Rallycross, NHRA and much more.

Follow Hunter Thomas on Twitter by following, @HunterThomas08

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