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TEAM INTERSTATE: Guessing Game in Martinsville

March 31st, 2014 by
That colorful blur is none other than Team Interstate's Kyle Busch. Copyright 2014 Autostock Images

That colorful blur is none other than Team Interstate’s Kyle Busch. Copyright 2014 Autostock Images

The good news for Team Interstate was that all three drivers started near the front for Sunday’s Sprint Cup Series STP 500 race at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway. Kyle Busch won the pole, Denny Hamlin started in second, and Matt Kenseth started sixth.

However, with Saturday’s practice sessions rained out, the teams were left guessing on which setup would work for 500 laps on the half-mile paperclip.

Team Interstate's Denny Hamlin (left), Kyle Busch and Matt Kenseth. Copyright 2014 Autostock Images.

Team Interstate’s Denny Hamlin (left), Kyle Busch and Matt Kenseth. Copyright 2014 Autostock Images.

The crew chiefs did their best to make educated guesses, but the results weren’t exactly what the teams were hoping for. Despite handling woes and varying pit strategies, Matt finished the day in sixth, Kyle in 14th and Denny in 19th.

“We struggled really hard with our M&M’s Camry all day,” said Kyle, who has eight top-five and nine top-10 finishes in 19 career starts at Martinsville. “We were all right for a bit, but once the tires went away with less than 20 laps on them, there was nothing I could do but hold on for the next caution so we could get fresh tires and Dave (Rogers, crew chief) could work on the car.”

Dave said last week’s win at Auto Club Speedway in the Interstate Batteries Toyota allowed the team to experiment with an aggressive setup.

“Odds are you’re going to be in the Chase, so we got the most aggressive with our setup, and our teammates were less aggressive in areas,” Dave said. “Really just disappointed to come to Martinsville and don’t get a better finish than that, but excited about what we learned. The 18, 20 and 11 went three different directions, and the 20 actually had a pretty fast race car. I think we have a lot of good notes for when we come back here in the fall and make a better show out of it.”

Team Interstate's finish from Martinsville

Recap from Joe Gibbs Racing | Race story (FoxSports.com)

Darrell Wallace Jr. drove his No. 54 Toyota Tundra to a solid second-place finish at Martinsville. Copyright 2014 Autostock Images.

Darrell Wallace Jr. drove his No. 54 Toyota Tundra to a solid second-place finish at Martinsville. Copyright 2014 Autostock Images.

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Race recap (FoxSports.com)

 

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