Kyle Busch has had some incredible good luck this season despite a bad start to the year. That luck ran out Sunday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Busch began the NASCAR Sprint Season in a hospital in Daytona Beach Florida. He crashed during the season opening NASCAR Xfinity series race at Daytona breaking his right leg and left foot.
Busch would miss the first 11 races of the season but made an amazing, and quick, recovery returning to Sprint Cup racing at Charlotte Motor Speedway in May. NASCAR granted Busch a waiver to make the Chase provided that he win a race and make his way into the top 30 in points after the September 12 race at Richmond International Raceway. Busch would score four wins, including three in a row leading up to Richmond and easily made the Chase. With a ninth place finish in the first race of the Chase at Chicagoland, Busch came to New Hampshire third in the Chase standings and with a great deal of confidence having won the race here in July.
After starting 17th Sunday, Busch was running comfortably inside the top 10, in ninth when disaster struck on lap 159 of the 300. The right front tire on his No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota blew sending the car hard into the wall between turns 3 and 4.
“It’s killed, it’s killed,” Busch said on the radio has he slowly brought his damaged car to the garage
The crew worked furiously on the car and 36 laps later, Busch headed back out in hopes of making up spots. He finished 37th, 38 laps down. In no mood to talk about his day, Busch left the track without comment. His crew chief Adam Stevens said they had no warning there would be a tire issue.
“We just came off almost a green flag run and the tires looked fine,” Stevens said. “The balance was a little off and then had that short run there and the handling went away and just blew a right front. It looks like it just had a slow leak and just overworked the shoulder and finally blew out, but the balance was free, so it’s not like we abused it – especially after we just went a fuel run, you know what I mean? Just one of those things that happens – sometimes you get a pinhole or run something over and we found the fence.”
Stevens was optimistic about the next race at Dover. In May, Busch crashed and finished 36that Dover but finished 10th in the fall last year,
“Dover (International Speedway) is a strong track for us,” Stevens said. “I didn’t see the count at the end of the race, but a bunch of guys ran out of gas there. We were going to run third there in Kyle’s (Busch) second race back and wrecked with a lap car, you know? I’m sure our cars have gotten better and Kyle’s gotten more in shape and knows what he wants a little better, so there’s no reason we can’t go there and have a good day. But you know things like this happen too. They happen to us and they can happen to anybody else, so it’s not a win at all costs situation at all, which is comforting.”
He added that Busch seemed calm after Sunday’s race. Stevens said he didn’t need to calm his driver down.
“No, just try to keep things in perspective for him and he was fine,” Stevens said. “He was fine. He’s bummed – he’s bummed that we weren’t a little bit quicker and he’s bummed we had a problem, but we can control the quicker part. We can’t control the problem or something like that.”