Kyle Busch was the lone Toyota in a sea of Fords at the end of the FireKeepers Casino 400 at Michigan International Speedway.
Busch finished fourth in Sunday’s rain-shortened event. He wound up behind three Stewart-Haas Racing drivers led by winner Clint Bowyer and ahead of the four Team Penske/Wood Brothers Racing Fords.
The finish, Busch’s first top-five at Michigan since 2013, kept him atop the point standings.
“I don’t know,” Busch said on whether he could have done anything else to contend. “We were the lone Toyota up there fighting with all the blue ovals, so they were super, super fast. They go down the straightaways really quick and we had to struggle to be able to outrun them there, but through the corners, we were really good.
“Adam Stevens [crew chief] and myself and our team and our organization, we did our job, so all we can do is keep trying to keep getting better, keep trying to bring home a good fight. [But] it doesn’t matter how sharp your knife is, you ain’t going to beat a gun fight.”
The odds certainly seemed stacked against Busch.
Having to start in the rear with two of his JGR teammates because of a splitter infraction in inspection, he easily marched through the field. However, had the race been run under sunny skies with a hotter temperature, Busch believes his car might have been better. Instead, the race occurred in chilly conditions with clouds and fog.
A caution on Lap 130 for a Ricky Stenhouse Jr. spin in Turn 2 ended up being the end of the race. Rain picked up under the caution and NASCAR deemed the race official. But had it gone green with pit stops thrown in, Busch wonders if he might have been able to make up ground on those ahead of him.
“But we gave it a hard fought fight and come home with a fourth. Not too shabby,” Busch said. “I thought we had third and then Kurt [Busch] blew my doors off on the straightaway. We’ve just got to get better there and try to make it up and be able to put on a fight here later on this year.”