Found April 08, 2013 on Start 'N' Park Blog:
Kyle Busch had a strong M&M’s Toyota Camry, leading twice for 56 laps in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP Gas Booster 500 on Sunday at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway. But as the laps wound down, Busch couldn’t get his machine to handle to his liking and got stuck in the less-desirable outside line on a late-race restart, preventing him from returning to the front. He was forced to settle for a fifth-place finish. It was the fourth consecutive top-five finish this season for Busch, the driver of the No. 18 M&M’s Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR). “I thought through the middle of the race we had a pretty good piece, and we had something to challenge them with,” said Busch, who has eight top-five finishes in 17 career starts at Martinsville. “There at the end when it was go time, we just didn’t quite have enough in this M&M’s Camry – just not enough turn and not enough drive off. We have to work on all those things. It’s all about minimizing your time off the throttle here, and we didn’t figure all that out here this weekend.” After starting 11th, Busch wasted no time showing the strength of his No. 18 machine. By lap 35, he moved into the top-five. Busch remained in the top-five for nearly all of the next 465 laps. At lap 71, when the second caution flag of the day waved, Busch sat in third. Under the caution, Busch told crew chief Dave Rogers his car wasn’t bad but started to get loose exiting the corners. As the run progressed, the car got loose all the way through the turns. Busch pitted for four tires, fuel and a wedge adjustment to help his loose-handling condition. Quick work in the pits returned him to the track in second place. Busch took the lead for the first time on lap 91 and stayed there until eventual race winner Jimmie Johnson slid by him on lap 103. Busch hung in the top-five over the next 150 laps before regaining the lead at lap 265. Busch remained at the front of the field until lap 309 when both Johnson and teammate Matt Kenseth slid by him. Busch told his crew not to worry, that his car was “all good” despite losing the top spot. He slid his right rear tire during the duel for the lead and settled into third instead of forcing the issue with nearly 200 laps to go. When the caution flag waved at lap 362, Busch told Rogers he needed his chassis adjusted to increase rear grip while keeping the front free to turn easily. Rogers called for a wedge adjustment and four tires and fuel. Busch returned to the racetrack in third place. But the changes didn’t help Busch’s cause. Shortly after the restart, he fell to fifth-place and told his crew his car was too tight and not rolling the corners the way he needed to make up ground. A caution flag at lap 450 afforded the crew the opportunity to reverse the changes in hopes of freeing up the No. 18 Camry for the final laps of the race. Busch restarted in the fourth spot in the outside lane, which had not been the ideal lane throughout the course of the race. While he was able to get down and maintain his place in the running order on that restart, he wasn’t so lucky on the race’s final restart at lap 493. Busch battled to at least maintain the fourth spot, but he couldn’t maneuver his M&M’s Camry down into traffic and was forced to fall back in line in fifth place, where he finished. “Getting stuck on the outside lane on restarts just kills you,” Busch said. “We fought hard up there and tried to do what we could and just had to fade gracefully, I guess you’d call it. The M&M’s guys did a great job today and gave me a really good car. We keep finishing top-five here all of the time, but it’d sure be nice to figure out some sort of secret that could get us into victory lane here. It would be nice to bring home a grandfather clock, but not this week.” Busch’s JGR teammates – Mark Martin, interim driver of the No. 11 Toyota Camry for the injured Denny Hamlin, and Matt Kenseth, driver of the No. 20 Toyota Camry – finished 10th and 14th, respectively. Johnson won the STP Gas Booster 500 to score his 62nd career Sprint Cup victory, his second of the season and his eighth at Martinsville. Johnson is the winningest active Sprint Cup driver in Martinsville history. He trails only Richard Petty (15 wins) and Darrell Waltrip (11 wins) on the track’s all-time win list, which has played host to the Sprint Cup Series since 1949. Clint Bowyer finished .627 of a second behind Johnson in the runner-up spot, while Jeff Gordon, Kasey Kahne and Busch rounded out the top-five. Brad Keselowski, Jamie McMurray, Marcos Ambrose, Greg Biffle and Martin comprised the remainder of the top-10. There were 12 caution periods for 85 laps, with five drivers failing to finish the 500-lap race. With round six of 36 complete, Busch continues to lead the JGR contingent in the championship point standings, as he moved up to fourth. He has 203 points, 28 behind leader Johnson. Kenseth gained one spot to 10th, 59 points out of first. Hamlin, who was forced to sit out at Martinsville due to injury, dropped eight spots to 18th, 86 points behind Johnson. The next event on the Sprint Cup schedule is the NRA 500 Saturday, April 13 at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth. The race starts at 7:30 p.m. EDT, with live coverage provided by FOX beginning with its pre-race show at 7 p.m.

Kyle Busch NRA 500 Race Preview

HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. – At just 27 years of age, it’s difficult to believe Kyle Busch is considered by many to be a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series veteran. But as the Sprint Cup competitors head to Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth this Saturday night for the NRA 500, the driver of the No. 18 Interstate Batteries Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) is showing veteran-like numbers to prove...

Martinsville was a thrill ride

I know if someone didn't watch Sunday's race at Martinsville Speedway but looked at the box score that showed Jimmie Johnson, Kyle Busch and Matt Kenseth led 498 of the 500 laps, they probably would say to themselves it wasn't much of a race. I would disagree because I think we had some really great racing on Sunday. It may not have always been for the lead but we had...

Kurt Busch STP Gas Booster 500 Race Recap

MARTINSVILLE, Va. – For a brief time during the STP Gas Booster 500 at Martinsville Speedway it appeared that Kurt Busch was going to make another comeback as he did by scoring top-five finishes in the past two Sprint Cup races in Bristol, Tenn. and Fontana, Calif. But on this Sunday at the southern Virginia short track the bad breaks and mechanical malfunctions were just too much...

Erik Jones Kroger 250 Race Recap

Teenager Erik Jones showed the skill and patience of a veteran throughout Saturday’s Kroger 250 at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway, bringing home an impressive ninth-place finish in his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series debut. Jones, the first 16-year-old to compete in a Truck Series event since his owner Kyle Busch did so in October of 2001, raced side-by-side with crafty veterans...
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.