Team Interstate Rallies in Phoenix
To finish in the front, sometimes you have to start in the back. That was the case for Denny Hamlin on Sunday as he led Team Interstate by finishing third in the Subway Fresh Fit 500k Sprint Cup Series race at Phoenix International Raceway.
Hamlin qualified in the eighth position but had to start from the rear of the field after an engine change on Saturday. Teammate Kyle Busch also changed an engine before the race and started from the rear. A spin on lap 48 damaged Busch’s M&M’s/Interstate Batteries® Toyota Camry, and repairs forced him to lose a lap. He eventually gained the lap back and recovered for a hard-earned but disappointing 23rd-place finish.
“I just tried to get too much too early,” Busch said. “We came from the back and had worked out way up through there, but our car was really loose, especially in traffic. I came up on Carl (Edwards) getting into (turn) two, and it just came around on me. We just kept fighting for the lucky dog and finally got it there, but it was too late to get back up toward the front.”
Matt Kenseth held his position for most of the day, finishing seventh after starting ninth.
Edwards won the Subway Fresh Fit 500k to break a 70-race winless streak.
Nationwide Series: Busch Wins
Busch brought the No. 54 Monster Energy program to victory lane Saturday, a mission started in 2012 and finally fulfilled, now that the team is back under the familiar roof of Joe Gibbs Racing. The win gives Busch his 52nd career visit to victory lane in 246 starts, earning Toyota Racing their 75th Camry win in the NASCAR Nationwide Series. Taking home the trophy, Busch captured his fifth victory and 11th top-10 in 15 starts at what is referred to as the “crown jewel” of desert racing.
On lap 29, Busch led his 11,000th career Nationwide Series lap, the most of any driver. On lap 43, a mistake on pit road and a speeding penalty dropped the team to 22nd place. Busch regrouped and worked his way through the field to regain the lead and bring the No. 54 car home in style.
Monster Energy AMA Supercross: Chisholm Injured
Team Interstate/JGRMX, already plagued by injuries this season, suffered another major blow on Saturday in St. Louis. Rider Kyle Chisholm, who is filling in for the injured Josh Grant, suffered a violent crash on the third lap of the main event. Because of his position on the track and unclear condition, the race was red-flagged so the medics could attend to him. Chisholm was evaluated at a nearby hospital with injuries to his knee and ankle. His regular doctors in Florida will advise him as to when he should return.
The race was restarted NASCAR-style, with the riders lining up in the position they were in when the race was stopped. Team Interstate’s Justin Brayton began the restart in 11th place and moved into ninth place by lap 15. He finished ninth for the night.
Next week: NASCAR visits Las Vegas, where Elliott Sadler will drive the No. 11 Interstate Batteries Toyota in Saturday’s Nationwide Series race. Supercross travels to Daytona International Speedway in Florida.