Kyle Busch may have had the drive of the day on Sunday at Bristol Motor Speedway, overcoming an early speeding penalty on pit road and finishing second to winner Kasey Kahne.
After narrowly taking Saturday’s Nationwide Series race at BMS, The Rowdy One started from pole for the Sprint Cup Food City 500. But after pacing the first 55 circuits, he tumbled all the way to 35th after getting tagged by NASCAR for entering pit road too quickly on his first stop at Lap 56.
That didn’t stop Busch, who steadily rose back up the pylon despite a tight-handling No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota. With less than 100 laps to go, he finally broke into the Top 5 thanks to a two-tire stop under yellow and on the final restart of the day at Lap 459, Busch grabbed second place from Brad Keselowski and held on for a hard-earned runner-up.
“I just wish our car was faster there at the end,” Busch said. “We got to where we were single file there with Kasey, and he just took off and I couldn’t keep up with him.
“…All in all, these guys on this M&M’s Camry did a great job for me, and we worked really hard all day and really battled back from another penalty. Need to stop getting those and just stay up front all day and be able to run our own race.”
This was the second week in a row that Busch has had to overcome a speeding penalty on his first stop of the day. Last weekend in Las Vegas, he dropped to 19th after the penalty but came back to finish fourth at his home track.
Lewis Hamilton believes that this weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix will be remembered as the last race with good-looking Formula 1 cars ahead of the introduction of the ‘Halo’ cockpit protection for next year.
Officials from the FIA and F1 Strategy Group confirmed earlier this year that the Halo would be fitted to all cars from the 2018 season in a bid to improve safety standards, with the deaths of Justin Wilson and Jules Bianchi putting head protection high on the agenda for the series’ chiefs.
Hamilton has long made his opposition to the Halo clear, believing it will ruin the look of F1 cars, and echoed his thoughts ahead of the final Halo-less race in Abu Dhabi this weekend.
“It’s the last year of looking good I think in the cars. It’s the last race where the cars will look good,” Hamilton said.
“I think next year, it’s all downhill from there in terms of how they look.
“But safety will go up at least, and maybe it could be successful in some way.”
Hamilton’s F1 title rival Sebastian Vettel was less bothered about the change, believing the field will adjust and move on.
“The cars will look different next year. Everything I’ve seen so far looks different, but on the other hand it is something we all get used to,” Vettel said.
“But no doubt the cars look better now, but we’ll get used to it, and we’ll work on the aesthetics so it can be better. It is less of a big deal.”
Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo shared Vettel’s view, saying: “I don’t think it’s gonna be as dramatic as most people make it out to be.”