So close, but no cigar for Kyle Busch. The Las Vegas native was looking to have a clean sweep of all three NASCAR National Series events at Las Vegas Motor Speedway this weekend, but he came up two spots short in Sunday’s Pennzoil 400.
Busch had one of the fastest cars — if not the fastest car — in the race, but was busted for speeding on pit road on lap 131. After that moment, Busch was playing catch up the rest of the race.
After climbing from the car, Busch admitted that the speeding penalty cost him a win, but he was also very critical of NASCAR’s new low horsepower, high downforce rules package.
“Yeah because the cars don’t have any speed. You’re wide open just trying to suck off of any car that you can that’s in front of you to get a draft,” Busch stated with dejection. “I was running 31-flats when I was chasing those leaders down and then once I got there, I stalled out to 31.40s because the wind was just so bad behind those guys that you couldn’t corner anymore, you couldn’t maneuver. I couldn’t run low if they ran low and I couldn’t run high if they ran high so you’re always trying to figure out which way to go.
“I certainly screwed up our day coming to pit road there. We tried a different brake package for us this weekend and trying to make up time in order to get a bigger jump on the guys behind me coming to pit road there and just ruined it for us and we had to come from the back. I think we passed the most cars today so I think we were the most impressive today, but that doesn’t matter because we don’t have a trophy. Whatever.”
After an off season test at Las Vegas for the new rules package, Busch claimed that NASCAR had taken the driver skill out of driving the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series cars. After Sunday’s race, Busch admitted that the package is challenging after all.
“Yes, it’s challenging, it’s all about trying to figure out who can be the man that can hold it down the longest and trying to find your balance in that way,” Busch explained. “Cars are faster through the corners, there’s more loads on us and it’s harder physically. The wake is just so big that you can’t follow a guy through the corner.”
Although frustration was high for Busch after a missed opportunity, the driver has a lot to be proud of. After three races, he is the only Cup Series driver to record top-10 finishes in all three races this season.
Busch also sits third in the overall Championship Standings as the series marches through the West Coast Swing.
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Toby is the Founder, Editor and go-to man for TobyChristie.com. He is also the co-host of The Final Lap Weekly Podcast. Additionally, Toby is a NMPA (National Motorsports Press Association) award winning writer, and has followed NASCAR as a fan since 1993.