Kyle Busch Sweeps Second Weekend In A Row Following Win In Texas

Kyle Busch Sweeps Second Weekend In A Row Following Win In Texas

by April 10, 2016 0 comments

FORT WORTH, Tex. – Sweeping both NASCAR national series events for the second weekend in a row, Joe Gibbs Racing’s Kyle Busch took home his second victory of the 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season in Saturday night’s Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway.

After sweeping Martinsville last weekend, Busch continued his dominate streak by winning the NASCAR XFINITY Series O’Reilly Auto Parts 300 on Friday night at Texas Motor Speedway and then the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Duck Commander 500 on Saturday night. The win is Busch’s 36th victory in 397 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races. Busch has now won twice at the speedway over the course of his career.

“This Interstate Batteries Camry was fast,” Busch said. “It had really good speed in entry and the center of the corner, but we really had to work on the exit of the corner. The guys did a great job. Adam (Stevens, crew chief) made some great adjustments all night long. I think the race track kept coming to us as the night progressed, too. I can’t say enough about Norm Miller, Scott Miller and the whole Interstate Batteries – they’re great partners with us. What better way than to celebrate 25 years of a partnership than right here in victory lane with them in their hometown here in Texas. That’s pretty special.

After an afternoon rain shower delayed the start, Saturday night’s race was underway two hours after the scheduled start time. The checkered flag did not fall until after midnight in the Central Time Zone, with all 500 miles completed. There were no further delays following the initial pre-race delay for drying the 1.5-mile oval.

Kyle Busch started the race from the 15th position and raced into the top-10 early in the race. On lap 302, he made the winning pass for the lead over Martin Truex, Jr. In one of Busch’s least-dominating wins of the season, tire strategy made his push to the lead possible as the leaders fell back late in the final run.

The majority of the race saw Martin Truex Jr., driver of the No 78 Bass Pro Shops Toyota, and Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 19 Stanley Toyota, swapping the lead back and forth. Truex, Jr. led 141 laps and Edwards led 124 laps, while race-winner Kyle Busch only led 34. Edwards finished seventh, and Martin Truex Jr. finished sixth. The race proved to be the most competitive showings for both teams so far in the 2016 season.

“We were struggling in the beginning, we weren’t very good,” Busch said. “Our other teammates, they were really fast. The 19 (Carl Edwards), 78 (Martin Truex Jr.) and I don’t know what happened to the 19 (at the end). I know the 78, we just out tired him there at the end. Just overall a great night for JGR (Joe Gibbs Racing) and Toyota.”

Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the No. 88 Nationwide Insurance Chevrolet, maintained a top-10 running position for much of the race and was able to capitalize on speed in the final laps to finish in the runner-up position. Earnhardt, Jr. has now earned four top-10 finishes during the 2016 season.

“We finished up there where we should have,” Earnhardt Jr. said. “We need a win. We’d love a win; I know our fans want a win really bad. Trust me man, we’re all working really hard and running great every week. Hopefully that’s fun for everyone to watch. I had a blast inside the car – a lot of sliding around sideways and good, hard racing. We’ll go to the next one I guess and try again.”

Taking the third finishing position was Joey Logano, who battled late for position with Earnhardt Jr. This was his sixth top-10 finish in 16 races at Texas Motor Speedway.

“I’m proud of what my race team did,” Logano said.”This Shell/Pennzoil team executed perfectly today. We may not have had the fastest car, we obviously didn’t have the fastest car, but we executed into a top-three finish, and I’m very proud of my team for that. We had great pit stops and great calls, so everything worked out well. Everyone did their job. That’s kind of been our weak point this year is that we haven’t had the speed, but we haven’t been executing perfectly. Now it seemed like we executed right and we’ve got to work on our speed now.”

Jimmie Johnson appeared to have one of the faster cars during the beginning of the race, but he sustained damage to the nose of his car after he ran into the back of Kyle Busch while on pit road. Johnson was able to battle back for a fourth place finish.

“We overcame a lot today,” Johnson said. “On that first pit stop, everyone was checking up and I hammered the back of the 18. We had to fix damage on the nose, and it wasn’t pretty. There’s a big hole up front and that couldn’t have been helping us at all. There’s a lot of fight in this Lowe’s team today. I’m thankful for the great equipment and the fight that these guys have because with all the damage and adversity we went through tonight, to come home fourth is really good for this Lowe’s Chevrolet.”

Chase Elliott was the highest finishing rookie in Saturday night’s race. He captured a career-high, fifth place finish.

“Yeah, it was a step in the right direction,” Elliott said. “We’re definitely not satisfied running fifth. I feel like we have a group of guys that are capable of doing that. We’ll keep digging at it. We have a long way to go with a lot of racing to go in the season. We’ll keep working to get where we can roll with those guys.”

The race had seven cautions for 41 of the total 334 laps raced. The most notable caution happened on lap 295 when 13 cars received damage after Austin Dillon make contact with the wall, then darted back across the track and triggered contact amongst other cars.

“We were on older tires and I was trying to get all I could there,” Dillon said. “It’s part of trying to win a race. We put ourselves in a position to be out front, thinking that two laps wouldn’t mean much, but it did. That’s part of it. The good Lord kept me safe tonight and gave me a good race car. You have to be gracious in defeat. We’ll come back next week with another fast car and hopefully we can do the same thing we did today, and that’s run up front.”

With seven races completed, Kyle Busch now leads the point standings by six points over Jimmie Johnson, who finished fourth on Saturday night.

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series returns to competition on Sunday, April 17, 2016 at Bristol Motor Speedway. Coverage of the Food City 500 will be found live on FOX and the Performance Racing Network (PRN) at 1 p.m. ET.

Photo Credit: Sarah Crabill/Getty Images for Texas Motor Speedway

Camille Jones

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