Busch leaves Texas with grace after COTA second place

Nigel Kinrade/Motorsport Images

Busch leaves Texas with grace after COTA second place


Busch leaves Texas with grace after COTA second place


Kyle Busch is an all-or-nothing driver in the NASCAR Cup Series, but he gladly took a second-place finish Sunday at Circuit of The Americas.

The two-time NASCAR Cup Series champion put a lot of work into having the type of result he earned. Entering the first road course race of the season, Busch said with all the simulator work and preparation he and his Richard Childress Racing team had done, if they didn’t win, he wasn’t sure what else to do.

The No. 8 was best in class behind race winner Tyler Reddick, who had been the fastest driver all weekend. Second was a respectable ending to an up-and-down day where the RCR team fell behind on pit strategy, leaving Busch fighting on older tires through multiple overtime restarts.

“Oh, no question, yeah, for sure,” said Busch of it being the best-case scenario result given the series of events. “Reddick, when we tested here, was super, super, fast. He was the best car here when we tested, and he just didn’t have the long-run speed, but then they went to work and figured out the long-run speed to go with the front-side speed.

“So we just didn’t find enough front-side speed to be able to contend with those guys. But he’s a really good road racer; he’s proven the last couple of years winning road races. So (it’s) cool to come home second and get a good one here.”

The EchoPark Automotive Grand Prix needed three overtime attempts to decide the winner. Busch restarted inside the top five in each of them, also making it through what had been a wild and chaos-filled Turn 1 on each restart attempt all afternoon to stay in contention.

On the final overtime restart, Busch, who was running second, chose to restart on the inside lane. It put him third in the running order behind leader Reddick.

“I got plenty of help from behind and about ran over Reddick and pushed him off,” Busch said. “But just a lot of bumping and shoving and banging there up in the first turn, so you just try to get through there as best you can and then go race it after that. The No. 48 (Alex Bowman) got in front of me — got in between us — and then once I got by him, Reddick was gone. But I didn’t have enough to contend with him anyway.

“I had to get by (Reddick) off of Turn 1 or through Turn 2 before we got to the esses to have a shot to beat him. But he was so strong in all the braking zones and everywhere that I think he would have got back by me. All in all, just a great day for us. Good to come home second.

“Our Netspend Camaro was fast. It’s really good to bring home a runner-up finish for Netspend, being a local Austin, Texas partner.”

Although there were no stage breaks, the race had its fill of bunching the field back together. Busch said Sunday didn’t feel much different playing out organically because of how many cautions broke out at the end.

“Once you get one, you’re bound to get a lot,” he said. “That first one that came, I think we were running fourth, and I was like, ‘Ah, I’ll take a fourth, let’s just get out of here.’ And then we were able to get up to second, so we got a couple of spots on some of those restarts.”