Record-setting Weekend for Team Interstate
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series: Busch Sets Qualifying Record
On Friday, Busch captured the pole for Sunday’s Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway by turning a record lap time of 14.813 seconds at 129.535 mph. His trip around the “World’s Fastest Half-Mile” broke the previous track qualifying record of 14.908 seconds at 128.709 mph set by Ryan Newman in 2003. It was Busch’s 11th career Sprint Cup pole, his first of the season and his first at Bristol.
From the pole position, Busch began Sunday’s race in top form, leading the first 55 laps of the 500-mile race. But as he came in for his first pit stop of the day on lap 56, Busch was penalized by NASCAR for entering pit road too quickly and was forced to restart in 35th place, at the tail end of the longest line.
But just like last week at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Busch didn’t panic. He climbed to 30th by lap 71, 20th by lap 82 and as high as 13th when the next caution waved on lap 152. A two-tire pit stop vaulted Busch to second, and he remained in the top 12.
After a couple more strategic stops and fast work by the M&M’s/Interstate Batteries® pit crew, Busch climbed to third when the final caution of the day waved on lap 456. Busch took advantage of a slow restart by leader Brad Keselowski and held off Keselowski over the course of the last 40 laps to finish second — his second straight top-five finish.
“We probably had a sixth- or seventh-place car today, and we ended up second with it,” Busch said. “We’ll take something out of that, for sure. It will move us up in the points and get us back heading in the right direction from the hole we dug ourselves the first two races. There are plenty of positives heading to Fontana next week.”
Busch’s Team Interstate companions ran up front all day before separate issues resulted in disappointing finishes. Denny Hamlin, driver of the No. 11 FedEx Toyota Camry, finished 23rd after suffering a flat tire in the race’s closing laps. Matt Kenseth, driver of the No. 20 Husky Tools Toyota Camry, finished 35th after an accident involving then-race leader Jeff Gordon on lap 390.
NASCAR Nationwide Series: Busch Wins
Busch added to his record number of wins in the Nationwide Series, earning victory No. 53 Saturday at Bristol. It was his fifth victory and 11th top-five finish in 18 Nationwide Series starts at the track.
After starting from the 13th position, Busch worked his way to the front and led 156 of the race’s 300 laps. In the closing laps, rookie Kyle Larson made a valiant effort but finished just behind Busch by 0.23 seconds — the second-closest finish in Nationwide Series history at Bristol.
Busch’s teammates Brian Vickers and Elliott Sadler finished third and 36th respectively.
NHRA Pro Stock: Edwards Sets National Record
Mike Edwards and the Interstate Batteries/I Am Second/K&N Chevy team set a new national elapsed time record during qualifying sessions this weekend in Gainesville, Fla. In the first round of qualifying, Edwards drove the quarter-mile in a record 6.473 seconds. He then followed it up with a blistering 6.488-second run.
Edwards’ Camaro was the quickest car of every session until the semi-finals when an unexplainable issue caused the car to shake and force him to abort the run.
“After how well we ran the previous six runs, I didn’t expect the day to end that way,” Edwards said. “We are not actually sure what happened. It is a puzzling parts failure that we will have to evaluate the coming days and try to make sure whatever it was does not happen again.”
“It is a great consolation prize that we are leaving Gainesville with the national e.t. record, and more importantly the points lead,” Edwards said.
AMA Supercross: Brayton Finishes 13th
The 2013 Monster Energy AMA Supercross season has been difficult for Team Interstate, but Justin Brayton is soldiering on as the lone representative. In Indianapolis Saturday night, Brayton transferred to the main event with ease. He started in the top 10 during the main but fell. He rejoined the race in the 13th spot, which is where he finished.
The Toyota/Yamaha/Interstate Batteries/JGRMX team has been battered by injuries in 2013. Josh Grant is recovering from injury and subsequent surgery, and Kyle Chisholm, who joined the team to ride in Grant’s place, suffered a violent crash at just his second race. He underwent surgery and will miss the rest of the season. Grant is expected to recover in time for the outdoor Motocross season in May.
Next week: Kyle Busch puts on his Interstate Batteries firesuit as NASCAR heads back west to Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif. AMA Supercross travels to Toronto, and NHRA drag racing resumes April 5-7 in Las Vegas.