The opportunity for Kyle Busch to make it a weekend sweep was within reach late in the going Sunday afternoon at Texas Motor Speedway.
Then the car broke loose underneath him with 59 laps to go. Busch slid high up the track in Turn 2, opening the door for Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Erik Jones and Denny Hamlin, as well as Stewart-Haas Racing’s Aric Almirola.
Busch fell to fourth, and just as he began to regroup hit the wall, forcing him down pit road under green flag conditions.
“I could feel it get a little bit freer as we were going there, and you’re still trying to hustle as hard as you can and get all you can through the corners in order to keep your lap time going, and it just busted loose on me,” said Busch. “I had to catch it and make sure we didn’t crash.
“We did that, and then I got back in line, got rolling and started gaining back on those guys in front of us, but the looseness was still there and I really had to chase it on the exit of [Turn] 2 one time behind the 10 [Almirola], and just knocked the fence down.”
Busch said his No. 18 Interstate Batteries team had previously made an adjustment to the car looking to tighten it up, but instead it got looser. Without the aid of a caution to help him reclaim the lost ground, Busch finished 10th after leading a race-high 66 laps.
Going into Sunday afternoon’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race, Busch had already won the Gander Outdoors Truck (Friday) and Xfinity Series (Saturday) races. A victory Sunday would have completed the weekend sweep for the third time in his career, and for the first time at a track other than Bristol.
“I hate it for all of my guys and everybody that works so hard,” said Busch. “They deserve to win — they should’ve won and threw it away.”