Kyle Busch races from back-to-front for a top-10 finish

HAMPTON, GA - FEBRUARY 24: Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Snickers Creamy Toyota, races Matt DiBenedetto, driver of the #95 Procore Toyota, during the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on February 24, 2019 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)

Before finishing sixth in Sunday’s Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Kyle Busch got a good look at both ends of the field.

The 2015 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion started from the rear in a backup No. 18 Toyota, thanks to an accident in Saturday’s final practice session. Running the high line in a manner that resembled that of another Kyle—Larson—Busch worked his way forward, running as high as second after passing race runner-up Martin Truex Jr. on Lap 193.

During that green-flag run, however, Busch scraped the outside wall between Turns 1 and 2. On Lap 222, his right rear tire went flat, causing the fourth caution of the afternoon. Busch stayed on the lead lap but restarted at the rear and worked his way forward for the second time.

He was running sixth at the finish, having made a race-high 110 green-flag passes, according to NASCAR’s loop data.

“I got in the fence just a little bit in the center of (Turns) 1 and 2,” Busch said. “Just touched it and then kind of smelled some smoke and never saw any and thought we’d be OK. Overall, it just must have rubbed it and cut it down. Fortunately, we got a caution there. Caught us a break and was able to get tires on the thing and pull it back out and go back after them.

“What a hell of a weekend for all of our guys on this Creamy Snickers Camry, it was just evil tight all day long. We just couldn’t get the tight out of it. We were battling and running the wall all day long, and that’s where I needed to be in order to make up any time. Doing that, you run close to the fence, and you run into opportunities to get yourself in trouble. Overall, salvaged a decent day, I guess. We can move on out of here with some positives.”

Greg Engle