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Dominant Car, But Pain at the Pump

October 1st, 2012 by
Kyle Busch led 302 laps at Dover before finishing seventh. Copyright 2012 Autostock Images

Kyle Busch led 302 laps at Dover before finishing seventh. Copyright 2012 Autostock Images

There’s no doubt that Kyle Busch had the car to beat in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AAA 400 on Sunday at Dover (Del.) International Speedway.

Busch, the driver of the No. 18 Interstate Batteries® Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR), led four times for a whopping, race-high 302 laps but was forced to pit road for fuel 10 laps short of the finish and had to settle for a disappointing seventh-place finish.

After qualifying a solid fifth, Busch jumped to third by lap 5 and past teammate Denny Hamlin to take the lead on lap 35.

Coach Joe Gibbs gives some encouraging words to Kyle Busch before practice. Copyright 2012 Autostock Images

Coach Joe Gibbs gives some encouraging words to Kyle Busch before practice. Copyright 2012 Autostock Images

Aside from green-flag pit stops, Las Vegas native Busch led much of the next 300 laps until the caution waved for an accident on lap 310. The following lap, the leaders pitted for tires and fuel as the No. 48 team of five-time Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson exited pit road ahead of Busch.

Johnson led the next 42 laps until Busch regained the lead on lap 355. Then Johnson and many of the leaders went in fuel conservation mode. But Busch and crew chief Dave Rogers knew they were at least eight laps short on fuel, with no chance of making it to the end of the 400-lap race under a green flag without another stop.

A late caution flag was the only hope for the Interstate Batteries team, but it never happened. Busch was forced to pit road for fuel only with 10 laps remaining. Several others were able to stretch their fuel tanks, so all Busch could do was get the best finish possible with his dominant racecar.

“It’s frustrating – really proud of everybody on this Interstate Batteries Toyota Camry,” said Rogers. “The car was strong all day. Kyle did a phenomenal job, but our numbers just said we couldn’t make it. All race we’re scanning everybody, and every time the 2 (Brad Keselowski) or the 48 (Jimmie Johnson) would say they had to pit, it was five to six laps later than us. I knew they had better fuel mileage than us, and I knew if it came down to a fuel-mileage race that we were going to be in trouble. We played our best cards, and we came up short. There was no doubt that we had the fastest car today.”

Busch’s Team Interstate companions – Denny Hamlin, driver of the No. 11 Toyota Camry and Joey Logano, driver of the No. 20 Toyota Camry – finished eighth and 10th, respectively, suffering from similar fuel-mileage woes as Busch.

Keselowski won the AAA 400 to score his ninth career Sprint Cup victory, his fifth of the season and his first at Dover.

Hamlin is representing JGR in this year’s Chase for the Sprint Cup, and he left Dover third in the standings with 2,126 points, 16 points behind new Chase leader Keselowski.

 

 

NHRA Drag Racing: Edwards Bounced in Second Round

Team Interstate’s Mike Edwards qualified his Penhall/K&N/Interstate Batteries Pontiac GXP to the No. 7 starting position in St. Louis this weekend, hoping to add some spark to the late season.

Edwards entered the event sixth in points for the Countdown to the Championship. Sunday’s eliminations started strong with a narrow win against Larry Morgan. But in round two, despite a faster start off the line, Edwards’ car spun hard and was sideways before he pushed in the clutch.

Edwards maintained his position in the standings.

Position

 Driver

Points

01

Allen Johnson

2,442

02

Jason Line

2,333

03

Erica Enders

2,316

04

Vincent Nobile

2,292

05

Greg Anderson

2,218

06

Mike Edwards

2,181

07

Ron Krisher

2,129

08

Larry Morgan

2,125

09

V Gaines

2,117

10

Jeg Coughlin Jr

2,114

NEXT WEEK: Expect things to get wild and wooly as NASCAR heads to Talladega Superspeedway. NHRA drag racing makes its way to Reading, Penn.

 

By James Pecht (177 Posts)

James Pecht writes about franchising, battery technology, tips, racing and company culture for Interstate Batteries.


Posted in Racing
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6 comments
Barry Taylor
Barry Taylor

Just add Dover to the list like Watkins Glen, Kyle could have easily won 4 to 5 races this year but man snake bit applies in 2012.

Barry Taylor
Barry Taylor

Just add Dover to the list like Watkins Glen, Kyle could have easily won 4 to 5 races this year but man snake bit applies in 2012.

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