Kyle Busch crashed in Saturday’s final Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series practice, forcing his Joe Gibbs Racing team to unload a reserve No. 18 Toyota at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
Busch, a two-time Atlanta winner, had just posted the second-fastest lap of the 80-minute session when he spun in Turn 2 at the 1.54-mile track. Busch’s No. 18 made contact with the outside retaining wall, damaging the rear section of his primary car.
“I think it’s toast,” Busch radioed to his crew after skidding to a halt on the backstretch apron, then driving the car back to the garage.
“Just got loose,” Busch said after final practice. “We were trying to run a run and the car was pretty good with fire off there. We ran some really good times and then just kept getting a little bit looser, a little bit looser. I tried to go back to the bottom and run the bottom to see how slow I had to be to go around the bottom and just snapped.”
Busch was scheduled to start sixth in Sunday’s Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500. With the team resorting to the backup No. 18, Busch will drop to the rear of the field before the start.
“I think it’ll be fine,” Busch said. “Obviously, I think the biggest unknown is just the backup car, but I trust in Adam (Stevens, crew chief) and my guys and everybody at Joe Gibbs Racing that we’ll be fine and it’ll just have to be a managed race – a differently managed race than what we expected from yesterday’s qualifying.”
Sunday’s race will mark the 500th career Monster Energy Series start for the 2015 champion. Saturday afternoon he got few extra laps, just not in a Cup car.
“I’ll have more practice than all the rest of these guys as soon as I run 130-something laps in a truck race, so I’ll be just fine.” Busch said.