Kyle Busch picked up yet another top-10 finish but said after the Gander RV 400 that his race and the NASCAR rule package “sucked.”
With a 10th-place finish at Dover, Busch tied a mark set in 1990 by Morgan Shepherd — 11 consecutive top 10 finishes to start the season — and he leads the overall point standings.
“I kind of thought we were off as a program but obviously the 19 (Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Martin Truex Jr.) won the race,” Busch said. “We were probably going to end up about eighth, but then I got into the wall at the start of the last stage. After that, I was just sort of hanging on with my Pedigree Camry.
“It would have been nice to run better. It would have been nice to lead laps. When you run better you have something to hang your hat on, so we obviously have some work to do before we come back here in the fall.”
Asked about the new aero package, a frustrated Busch told reporters at Dover, “The package sucks. No [expletive] question about it. It’s terrible. But all I can do is bitch about it and it will fall on deaf ears and we’ll come back here with the same thing in the fall.”
The rules package for Monday’s postponed event was 750hp without the aero ducts. NASCAR Cup Series teams have also been running an eight-inch spoiler this season.
Busch wasn’t the only one who found lapping at Dover with the new package to be difficult. At the start of the weekend, drivers quickly found speeds were much higher than in previous years, especially in the the corners. In the race, there were frequent complaints over the various in-car radios about “dirty air” and it being “hard to pass” throughout the 400 laps.
“It seemed like the bottom groove was preferred and it was tough to get up and make a move in the middle,” said sixth-place finisher Erik Jones, another JGR teammate. “It was hard to get some speed rolling there, especially if you had someone behind you. It felt like they would kind of snooker you and put you back another spot.
“It was just tough to make moves and it was tough to be aggressive and find a way to pass,” Jones added. “Just tough all day.”
Said eighth-place finisher William Byron, “It was really hard to pass. Coming from the back the one time, it took me the whole race to get up there. The 22 (Joey Logano) and us worked our way back from wherever we were at the end of Stage 2, but then it took another 130 laps to kind of get any further. That was unfortunate, but he could run the top which was nice.”
The drivers who finished first and second, Martin Truex Jr. and Alex Bowman, both drove from the back of the field after having to give up their starting spots because their cars failed inspection multiple times. Truex said it wasn’t as easy as it looked after leading 129 laps.
“It was a lot of work,” said Truex. “It was tough, but this race car was just incredible.”