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Kyle Comes Home Third in Texas

November 5th, 2012 by
Kyle Busch drove his No. 18 Toyota to a 3rd-place finish at Texas.

Kyle Busch drove his No. 18 Toyota to a 3rd-place finish at Texas. Copyright 2012 Autostock Images

Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 18 Snickers Peanut Butter Squared/Interstate Batteries® Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR), led four times for total of 80 laps and battled championship contenders Jimmie Johnson and Brad Keselowski on two late restarts, eventually bringing home a third-place finish in the AAA Texas 500 on Sunday at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth.

“Our Snickers Peanut Butter Squared Camry was good, and we had a fast race car tonight,” said Busch, who has 10 top-10 finishes in 16 career Sprint Cup starts at Texas. “Can’t say enough about all the guys – they did a great job for me. There at the end, we wanted to get out front and be gone but just couldn’t get there. Those guys were battling hard, and you could kind of see it from my seat anyways what they were doing and how hard they were going at it. Of course, that’s what you got to do to win a Sprint Cup championship. Good night for us. I wish we were in the deal (Chase), but that’s what next year is for.”

Busch took his first lead of the day on Lap 191. And after he briefly lost the lead to Keselowski on Lap 236, the No. 18 pit crew vaulted Busch back into the lead off pit road on Lap 276, gaining four spots during a yellow-flag pit stop. Busch held the lead until Lap 311, when Keselowski’s crew took two tires and was the only car to beat the No. 18 team off pit road.

For the remainder of the race and over the course of two final restarts, it became a fierce battle for the race win among Busch, Johnson and Keselowski. Busch didn’t have quite enough to pass either car for the race win, and he brought home a solid third-place finish to score his fifth top-five result in the eight races since the start of the Chase for the Sprint Cup.

“It was exciting,” Busch said of the final two restarts. “Those guys up there, man, they are battling, and they are battling hard. Giving it everything they got. We had flawless pit stops that kept us up front all night long and got us the lead a couple times. We were fast out front. It’s just so hard to pass. We couldn’t make up any ground through traffic there at the end.”

Busch’s JGR companions – Joey Logano, driver of the No. 20 Toyota Camry, and Denny Hamlin, driver of the No. 11 Toyota Camry – finished 11th and 20th, respectively.

Hamlin is representing JGR in this year’s Chase for the Sprint Cup, and he left Texas losing two spots in the standings as he sits seventh with 2,266 points, 73 points behind Chase leader Johnson.

Busch maintained 13th in the standings with 1,048 points, 79 ahead of 14th-place Newman. Logano held his 17th position with 918 points, 130 points behind Busch in 13th. Since they are not Chase participants, Busch and Logano can finish no higher than 13th.

Busch’s Hauler Driver Wins Freightliner Award

Bob Hannigan, driver of the No. 18 hauler

Bob Hannigan, driver of the No. 18 hauler

Bob Hannigan, driver of the No. 18 Hauler for Joe Gibbs Racing, won the 2012 Fan Favorite Driver Award in the Freightliner NASCAR Run Smart Challenge. Fans voted on Facebook and Twitter to give Bob the honor. Read more about Bob and his hauler, nicknamed “Pork Chop,” on the Freightliner website.

Next week: NASCAR visits Phoenix for the penultimate race of the season, and NHRA drag racing returns with the season finale in Pomona, Calif.

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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