Kyle Busch took the consolation prize of second place Sunday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. And the Joe Gibbs Racing driver wasn’t about to complain.
“Second is fine if you get your butt beat as bad as we got our butt beat. We’ll take that finish,” Busch said of the drive by winner Kevin Harvick, who led 214 of 267 laps. “It was a win for the field as the 4 [Harvick] was in a class of his own.”
With his car “rolling the last 100 laps,” Busch climbed to the runner-up spot with under 25 laps to go. But with the raw speed Harvick had and the variable of lapped traffic, Busch was never able to erase a three-second deficit.
Knowing there was no way to naturally track down the Stewart-Haas Racing driver, Busch radioed his team he was going to “try to bring her home” and see what happened as the laps wound down.
“We worked really hard to fix the balance of our cars today and had a good race car in practice yesterday,” said Busch. “Real proud of Adam [Stevens, crew chief] and the boys. Seems like we were able to do those things, I just don’t remember the last time I had as dominant of a car as the 4 car the last couple of weeks. We just have to go to work and try to figure it out and fix it and get ourselves to that level.”
Busch did lead on two occasions Sunday afternoon if only for a total of 10 laps. Not that Busch felt his car was too far off the mark.
However, having to start the race on his qualifying tires set Busch back early. With the tires causing a tight condition through the first portion of the race, the No. 18 team overadjusted and then had to work backward to get the car in a good spot.
Even still, Busch admits there was no touching Harvick.
“It’s early, this is only race three – we aren’t worried yet,” Busch said. “Show me that race 26 through 36 [in the playoffs].”