Kyle Busch returned to Dover (Del.) International Speedway Saturday making his 17th start as the owner-driver of his first-year No. 54 NASCAR Nationwide Series team. From a seventh-place starting spot, the Monster Energy crew and driver battled a rain worn race surface, cool track conditions and the car’s loose handling, to register a fifth-place finish. The result was the team’s 11th top-five grab of the season and Busch’s seventh top-five finish of his career in the Nationwide Series at Dover.
Early in the race, Busch improved his position three spots, reaching fourth place early when the team took its first opportunity to visit pit road. The KBM team reached pit road during two of the three event caution periods, once at lap 46 and again at lap 117, of the 200-circuit race. On the first pit-road visit, the crew changed tires, gave the No. 54 Sunoco fuel and made both track-bar and air pressure adjustments. This came in an attempt to tighten up the loose-handing Camry. Subsequent laps showed Busch running faster lap times than the leaders, but when asked how the car was handling, Busch described, “I’m a two loose,” a feeling that continued over the next quarter of the race.
At Busch’s request, a spring rubber was inserted into the left rear of the car during the second and final pit stop. “I didn’t like that spring rubber like I thought I would,” Busch described over the radio, from the fifth position. Reaching fourth place by lap 165, crew chief Beam called out lap times over the radio, once again confirming the No. 54 had speed competitive with the leaders.
A third and final event caution waved on lap 171, however, the lead-lap cars did not pit. Upon the green flag restart, things got exciting for Busch, in fifth place, who was in line behind the No. 38 car that didn’t ‘go’ on the start, bunching up the pack and forcing three-wide competition, including that of the Monster Energy machine. Busch navigated the tenuous position and maintained his top-five position over the final event laps, finishing fifth.
“Overall, the Monster Energy Camry was really good. I felt like track position was a huge deal here today. If we could have gotten out front, I think we would have had a decent car,” Busch commented post race. He continued, “We just kind of fought a little too loose all day.”
Joey Logano recorded his 16th career NASCAR Nationwide Series win, his seventh series victory of the season. Paul Menard finished in the second spot, while Michael Annett, Elliott Sadler and Busch completed the top-five finishers. There were three caution periods for 15 laps of the race along with four lead changes across three drivers. The No. 54 Monster Energy team remains ninth in the Owner’s Point standings, 159 points from the leader.
The Nationwide Series continues action Oct. 12 at the Dollar General 300 from Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway. The television broadcast will start at 7 p.m. EST on ESPN2 and on the PRN radio broadcast. Kyle Busch will make his 18th start of the season behind the wheel of the KBM No. 54 Monster Energy Camry.