Despite not having nearly as dominant a car as he had one year ago, Kyle Busch appeared poised to earn a second straight NASCAR Nationwide Series win at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
But after choosing the outside lane for a restart with 24 laps to go in today’s Lilly Diabetes 250, the Sprint Cup star was passed for the lead by Ty Dillon coming out of Turn 1 after the green flag came back out.
Busch never fully recovered and finished second to Dillon, who went on to his first career Nationwide victory by .833 of a second.
“Overall, we just never were as good as we were last year unfortunately,” Busch said. “We never had the car or the opportunity to stay up front. I guess we did get up front but gave it away on that last restart there in Turn 1.
“We came down in there, the car never turned, and the car on the inside – Ty- just drove on by and made me look stupid. He got the lead and it was over from there.
“I tried to maintain with him and tried to do some things early to get by him in the first few laps before I got tight, and as soon as I got tight, he just distanced me and that was it.”
This is not the first time that Busch has had problems with late restarts at IMS in the Nationwide Series.
In the series’ inaugural race at the Brickyard in 2012, Busch dominated the first half but spun out of the Top 5 after a restart to lose his chance at victory.
Busch would get his Indy win one year later in the 2013 Nationwide event, but only after having to pass Brian Scott and Joey Logano after he dropped from first to third on a restart with six laps left.
“Rowdy” made sure to note those instances when he explained why he opted for the outside lane for today’s critical restart. But the change of tactics did not give him the result he desired.
“I chose the outside and they blitzed me on the inside,” Busch shrugged. “It’s just really not working for me in Turn 1.”