A rare mechanical issue for the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 18 team resulted in an early exit for Kyle Busch at Dover International Speedway.
A broken driveshaft – which flew out of Busch’s Toyota and came to rest on the track near Turn 1 – was the culprit. The caution flew on Lap 273 and after limping around the track, Busch was able to safely pull his car into the garage, where crew chief Adam Stevens and the team quickly determined they were done for the day.
Having started from the fourth position, Busch told his team very early in the going he had a vibration. Fearing it would not last the full 400 laps, Busch was coached to do what he could.
“It just kept getting worse and worse the more the day was going, especially after restarts it was really, really bad so I was just trying to ride it out, see if we’d make it to the end,” said Busch. “At first, I thought it was an engine problem, but that wasn’t the case. It was certainly in the drivetrain – something else.
“This isn’t a very popular failure for us – I already know what was wrong – but we’ve got to go back to the shop and kind of diagnose and figure out why it was wrong and kind of go from there.”
Busch was solidly running inside the top five when the part broke. He had finished second in the first stage and third in the second stage.
“The Pedigree Camry was good; it was a top-three car,” Busch said. “I felt like barring some different clean air circumstances and different restart lines and stuff, I felt like I could go up there and race with the 4 [Kevin Harvick] or the 2 [Brad Keselowski] but as bad as that vibration kept getting throughout the race there it was just too hard to handle.
“Finally, it threw the shifter knob off the shifter and there was – even when it broke, I could just push the clutch in. I couldn’t even grab the shifter in order to get it knocked out of gear or anything like that. It was so hard, still vibrating so badly. We’ll go on to next week.”
Dover will be Busch’s first DNF of the season.