Kyle Busch’s recent results in spring races at Dover International Speedway can be distilled into one visual image—a piece of a broken drive shaft lying on the racing surface more than 100 laps before Sunday’s AAA 400 was scheduled to end.
From the outset, Busch complained of a vibration in his No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota. Nevertheless, the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series leader was able to keep his car in the top five until the driveshaft broke on Lap 272, knocking Busch out of the race in 35th place.
“We started the race with it, unfortunately, and it just kept getting worse and worse as the day was going,” said Busch, who was running third when the failure occurred. “I don’t know why we started the race with it – we hadn’t had anything like that in a long, long time. I know what it was, but not sure why we had the problem to begin with…
“It just got so bad there that last run vibrating it even blew the shifter ball off the shifter, and when it finally broke, I couldn’t even grab the shifter in order to knock it out of gear so I could just push the clutch in, so I had to nurse it back and get out of everybody’s way.”
Busch said the issue came as a complete surprise.
“We’ve never had that problem before,” he said. “We’ll have to go back to the shop and diagnose it, try to figure it out. It’s kind of weird.
“We’ve had issues like that in practices before, and we’ve been able to figure it out early enough to not have the problem in the race, but this weekend we never had that issue at all until the race started, so felt weird about how that went down.”
Busch has now failed to finish four of the last five spring races at Dover. The good news is that he retained the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series lead by 22 points of Joey Logano (13th Sunday) and 40 over race winner Kevin Harvick.
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