LOUDON, N.H. – Kyle Busch didn’t have a car that could contend for the victory on Sunday at New Hampshire – until crew chief Adam Stevens convinced him to pit for fresh rubber with 35 laps left.
Subsequently, Busch restarted 10th on Lap 269 and quickly powered his no. 18 Toyota into third place. But for two late cautions, the reigning NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion might have had a shot at victory in the second race of the Chase.
But Busch was happy to take his third-place result into the final race of the Round of 16 next Sunday at Dover.
“If it wasn’t for those last couple of cautions, I thought maybe we had an opportunity to chase those guys (Matt Kenseth and Martin Truex Jr.) down under green and pass them for the win,” Busch said. “It wasn’t meant to be. We managed our way through those restarts as best we could with restarting on the bottom, I feel like that’s a little bit of a disadvantage.
“We made the most of it at least at the end and didn’t lose spots, we were able to maintain our position and come out of here with a decent day. Excited about the opportunity to finish third and having a good points cushion. You can’t take any of that for granted, you have to focus on what’s ahead and the big picture and the task at hand, which is to have another good, solid week next week at Dover.”