After poor qualifying, Kyle Busch rallies to finish 3rd

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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.

Travis Pastrana leads flag-to-flag in Nitro Rallycross as the series returns to America

Pastrana Nitro Rallycross
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Travis Pastrana waited until the final trip around ERX Motor Park to take his Joker Lap – a longer way around the course that all drivers must do at least once in a race – and came out cleanly to win his first Nitro Rallycross race of 2022. With this win, Pastrana is the third driver to visit Victory Lane in the first three rounds of the 2022-23 season.

“This is the closest to a motocross track,” Pastrana told Katie Osborne on Peacock. “Thank you so much for a beautiful facility. It’s been a rough start to the season and I’m so thankful to be back out here. We had a good run in the side-by-side and now for this. This is much needed.”

Another thing needed was the sense of improvement. And Pastrana earned that affirmation each time he completed a lap around the course.

“I get my lap times read out and they said ‘fastest time of the week,’ ‘fastest time of the week’ (each time around) ” Pastrana said. “This is really special. We’re a long way behind in the championship, but welcome to America.”

In a pre-race press conference, Pastrana said that as Nitro Rallycross heads back to America, it was time for an American to win and he made good on his promise. Pastrana took the early lead over Robin Larsson and let the back of his Subaru hang out, taking risks he might not otherwise take if not for his need to win.

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Larsson’s second-place finish completed a perfect sweep of the podium in three rounds. In fact, he has not yet finished worse than second after winning the opening round at Lydden Hill in the United Kingdom and finishing second at Strangnas in Sweeden.

Fraser McConnel rounded out the podium for his best result of the season. He finished fourth in each of the first two rounds.

Last year, Pastrana finished second in this race to Scott Speed before narrowly edging his teammate for the championship.

Andreas Bakkerud crashed in prelims, but rebounded to finish just off the block in fourth. Bakkerud won the second round ahead of his teammate Larsson.

Oliver Bennett completed the top five.

Minneapolis is the first of three rounds scheduled in the United States. Next on the schedule is Glen Helen, Calif. on Octo 30 and then Phoenix at Wild Horse Pass on November 12th. Nitro Rallycross will then head to Saudi Arabia in December to continue their 2022-23 season.