Altogether, Kyle Busch felt well enough with his third-place finish in today’s Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway, a fine result considering that he started 29th on the grid.
Busch took four tires ahead of the final restart under green-white-checkered but had to deal with the high line, which proved not to be the ideal place in the end.
“I was on the top lane, so it was dirty up there with the way the rubber lays out there during the run,” he said. “There wasn’t a long enough caution to get it cleaned up enough.
“Felt like we ended up where we should have anyway today, and we had a good car, so, nice to finish up like that.”
After starting in the back, Busch quickly moved toward the front and broke into the Top 10 by Lap 80. A green-flag cycle around Lap 90 eventually left him higher up in fourth spot, and the next green cycle around Lap 140 ended with him in the lead.
He wouldn’t stay there for long, however, as Jeff Gordon removed him from P1 on Lap 153. Busch would pretty much hover in the Top 5 for the rest of the day but had problems keeping the leaders in sight – until the yellow came out with two laps left for Kurt Busch’s tire failure.
“We had the second-to-the-last stint where we got behind a little bit on our adjustments, we were loose and I lost time to the leaders,” Busch said. “When we came in and pitted on that final green flag pit stop there, [crew chief] Dave [Rogers] and the guys made good adjustments.
“I was able to come back up and cut my deficit to the leaders probably in half, but I was probably so far behind I wasn’t going to get there. Then, the caution came out. Chaos ensues on a restart…You fight for everything you can.”
Joe Gibbs Racing got two of its drivers in the Top-10 today, with Busch finishing third and Matt Kenseth climbing from 26th to finish a quiet but solid seventh. Denny Hamlin led the race during the middle stages but suffered a pit road speeding penalty during the Lap 140 green cycle; he was unable to completely recover, finishing 13th.