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Kyle’s Kentucky Weekend Includes A Trio Of Top Threes

Busch’s Tundra is Tops, Camry Collects a Second and Third


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Kyle Busch was the top Toyota driver to the finish line in the three NASCAR races taking place over the weekend at the 1.5-mile Kentucky Speedway. Busch earned a first-place finish in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race, a runner-up result in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event and a third-place result in the NASCAR Nationwide Series race.

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS)
In the 267 lap NSCS race at the Kentucky Speedway, Busch crossed the finish line second behind race-winner Brad Keselowski.

Busch started his Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) No. 18 M&M’s Toyota Camry from the 18th starting spot and worked his way into the lead pack early in the race. The 29-year-old driver took the lead on lap 217 (of 267) and remained at the front of the field for 31 circuits, before being passed by Keselowski.

“We were a lot better than we’ve been all year long and that’s a testament to what the guys did overnight fixing this M&M’s Camry and making it fast,” said Busch, after the race. “We had good speed — so I was real proud of that effort. I got so loose there at the end of the race — the loosest I’ve gotten all day and the loosest I’ve been in traffic all day too. I just couldn’t hold on and couldn’t keep it where I wanted to be. It was sliding all over the place and I was just trying not to wreck basically.

“We certainly wanted to win,” continued Busch. “I thought I was stretching out (the lead) there far enough at the beginning of the run where he (Brad Keselowski) couldn’t get me. But, I just got to traffic and I just got so loose that I couldn’t even drive it. My guys did a really good job of changing everything on this thing this weekend, so I appreciate all the guys that turn the wrenches and how hard they worked. And also appreciate the brains of the operation, Dave Rogers (crew chief) and those guys making some smart adjustments and some good calls during the race.”

Busch’s JGR teammate Kenseth crossed the finish line fourth, after being forced to the pits early in the race with a flat tire.

How was Kenseth able to battle back from the misfortune to work his way through the field?

“It was just a great team effort,” said Kenseth, after the race. “They did a really good job on pit road on the pit stop there and we gained a whole bunch of spots. Jason (Ratcliff, crew chief) had some good adjustments in the middle of the race that got us back in the game. It was certainly a positive weekend. We ran a lot better — we’ve been struggling at these bigger tracks all year and I thought this was a positive. I know Denny (Hamlin) had a problem at the beginning and I thought Kyle (Busch) was real competitive — I thought all three of our JGR cars were pretty good all weekend.”

Kenseth felt like the Kentucky weekend was a big step forward for JGR.

“I feel like we’re gaining on it,” added Kenseth. “I felt like overall it was a positive weekend. We were pretty quick in practice and I didn’t get a good lap qualifying, but I thought we had a pretty good car. We were pretty competitive most of the race. With this aero package, it’s so hard to pass and you get behind and you really can’t go anywhere. You have about four laps after a restart — and that’s pretty much all the passing you can get done.”

Denny Hamlin, the third JGR driver, earned the best starting position for the race (fourth) but retired early after a flat tire sent him into the wall.

In the NSCS championship point standings, Kenseth is in fifth-place in the standings with 555 points – 63 points behind first-place Jeff Gordon. Four other Camry drivers — Busch (tenth), Bowyer (14th), Hamlin (17th) and Vickers (19th) — are all among the top-20 in the point standings.

The next race on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series schedule is at Daytona International Speedway, July 5.

NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS)
Busch was the first Camry driver to the finish line in Friday evening’s NNS race in the ‘Bluegrass State.’ The Las Vegas-native crossed the finish line behind race-winner Kevin Harvick and second-place Brad Keselowski.

Busch started on the outside of row one in the JGR No. 54 Monster Energy Camry and led 38 laps (of 200).

“We didn’t have the car to beat — so we shouldn’t be upset with a third-place finish,” said Busch, following the race. “But, there at the end we had an opportunity to win the race. During the middle part of the race I passed the 5 (Kevin Harvick) — and I just didn’t have enough on the final restarts to do that again, unfortunately. Just not enough speed for the first five or so laps after a restart and then I could kind of start inching my way away up a little bit. But, not enough there to hold Kevin (Harvick) off.”

Camry drivers Elliott Sadler (10th) and James Buescher (14th) also finished among the top-15 at Kentucky.

Sadler’s finish enabled him to move into the top spot in the NNS championship point standings. He now leads the standings by four points over second-place Chase Elliott and eight points over third-place Regan Smith.

“I think it was survival of the fittest,” said Sadler, following the race. “It was like everybody seemed to have some issues or some problems. Chase (Elliott) had some issues and Regan (Smith) had some issues and we just kind of stayed out of trouble and battled back to a top-10. We are the point leader, but we still have a long ways to go starting at Daytona next week. We’ll go down there and see if we can have some of the same success that we had at Talladega a couple weeks ago.”

The NASCAR Nationwide Series returns to action at Daytona International Speedway, July 4.

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS)
In Thursday evening’s NCWTS race at the Kentucky oval, Busch earned his fifth victory of the season — in just five 2014 starts. He crossed the finish line ahead of race runner-up — and Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM) teammate Darrell Wallace Jr. — marking the first-ever one-two NCWTS finish for KBM.

Busch started from the pole in his No. 51 Dollar General Tundra and led the field four times for a total of 91 laps (of 150). He finished 1.844 seconds ahead of Wallace Jr., who started on the outside of row one and led the first 34 laps in the race.

“It was a great night,” said Busch, following the race. “I can’t say enough about everyone at KBM and everyone at Toyota, TRD and JGR engines, and all those people that make it happen for us. It’s been pretty awesome to race this year in the Camping World Truck Series and it’s been really competitive this year. I’m proud of all my guys and I’m especially proud of Erik Jones and Bubba (Wallace). At the end of the race, Bubba fought his butt off to finish second.”

With Busch’s win, Toyota extended its record-winning streak in the NCWTS. Dating back to last year when Jones won at Phoenix (Nov. 2013), a Tundra driver has visited victory lane 10 consecutive times. The previous record for consecutive wins by one manufacturer was eight — set in 1995 (Chevrolet) and 2001 (Dodge).

Tundra drivers to register wins during the streak include Busch (Daytona, Kansas, Charlotte, Dover and Kentucky), Crafton (Martinsville and Texas) and Wallace Jr. (St. Louis) this year, and Jones (Phoenix) and Busch (Miami) at the end of the 2013 season.

KBM has now won nine of the last 12 NCWTS races — dating back to last season. During those 12 races, Busch has registered six wins, Wallace Jr. earned two victories and Jones picked up one first-place trophy.

Tundra drivers have now recorded 120 NCWTS wins since the start of the 2004 season

Other Tundra drivers in the top-10 at Kentucky included Timothy Peters (fourth), Crafton (sixth) and Johnny Sauter (ninth).

ThorSport Racing teammates Sauter and Crafton are first and second in the championship point standings. After eight of 22 races, Sauter leads second-place Crafton by eight points.

The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) returns to action at Iowa Speedway, July 12.

Toyota NSCS Driver Finishing Positions — at Kentucky Speedway
1st, Brad Keselowski
2nd, KYLE BUSCH
4th, MATT KENSETH
23rd, CLINT BOWYER
26th, BRIAN VICKERS
28th, COLE WHITT
33rd, RYAN TRUEX
36th, ALEX BOWMAN
38th, JOE NEMECHEK
41st, MIKE BLISS
42nd, DENNY HAMLIN

Toyota Drivers in NSCS Point Standings — following at Kentucky Speedway*
5th, MATT KENSETH 555 points (63 points behind first-place Jeff Gordon)
10th, KYLE BUSCH 508 points
14th, CLINT BOWYER 473 points
17th, DENNY HAMLIN 455 points
19th, BRIAN VICKERS 442 points
32nd, COLE WHITT 244 points
35th, ALEX BOWMAN 196 points
37th, RYAN TRUEX 122 points

Toyota NNS Driver Finishing Positions — at Kentucky Speedway
1st, Kevin Harvick
3rd, KYLE BUSCH
10th, ELLIOTT SADLER
14th, JAMES BUESCHER
19th, BLAKE KOCH
24th, ERIC MCCLURE
34th, MIKE BLISS
36th, MATT KENSETH
39th, JEFF GREEN

Toyota Drivers in NNS Point Standings – following Kentucky Speedway*
1st, ELLIOTT SADLER 541 points (4 points ahead of second-place Chase Elliott)
8th, JAMES BUESCHER 418 points
14th, MIKE BLISS 354 points
20th, ERIC MCCLURE 247 points
*unofficial point standings

Toyota NCWTS Driver Finishing Positions — at Kentucky Speedway
1st, KYLE BUSCH
2nd, DARRELL WALLACE JR.
4th, TIMOTHY PETERS
6th, MATT CRAFTON
9th, JOHNNY SAUTER
14th, JOE NEMECHEK
15th, GERMAN QUIROGA
19th, MASON MINGUS
21st, JOHN WES TOWNLEY
27th, JEB BURTON

Toyota Drivers in NCWTS Point Standings — following Kentucky Speedway*
1st, JOHNNY SAUTER 297 points (8 points ahead of second-place)
2nd, MATT CRAFTON 289 points
3rd, TIMOTHY PETERS 286 points
6th, GERMAN QUIROGA 272 points
8th, DARRELL WALLACE JR. 261 points
9th, JOHN WES TOWNLEY 257 points
*unofficial point standings


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