Kyle Busch had an uncharacteristically tough night Saturday from the drop of the green flag. And yet, the eight-time Bristol winner still salvaged a fourth-place finish.
The quick hits: Starting 31st; falling a lap down early; getting the lucky dog on Lap 214; staying out to take the lead on Lap 254; and managing to keep his track position on older tires.
“It’s better than some other situations, for sure,” said Busch about the team overcoming the obstacles. “Adam (Stevens, crew chief) and the guys do a really good job of being able to work on the car and constantly improve it and constantly make it better. But (we’re) flat out getting our ass kicked right now by our teammates, so we’ve got to get better.”
Busch finished behind both Denny Hamlin and Matt DiBenedetto. Fellow Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Martin Truex Jr. and Erik Jones also led laps during the night. Last weekend in Michigan, Busch was the third-best JGR car. He brought up the rear for the organization two weeks ago in Watkins Glen.
Bristol was also a battle in passing Bush said.
“Didn’t seem like anybody in the back could go forward,” he said. “Wherever you were, you rode.”
Busch said he fought hard, but was just “really, really loose” all night.
“The car just wasn’t there really all weekend long,” he said. “I just never really found what I was looking for. We were kind of all over the place. Early on, we were so loose that I was just barely hanging on and trying to make up time there. We finally got it tightened up enough when I was racing with the 2 (Brad Keselowski) and got the lead from him before that caution came out. Then we tried to make it a little bit better for exit after that because we were going to go a long ways on tires we figured, and we just made it too loose. I just had no rear traction getting into the corner.
“We salvaged a fourth from a hard-fought day. That’s about it.”