Joe Gibbs Racing driver Kyle Busch finished third in Sunday’s Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway, leading JGR with one of three top 15 finishes. Denny Hamlin finished seventh in the race, while Matt Kenseth finished 13th. Former JGR driver Joey Logano won the race, with Kyle Larson coming home second.
In spite of his third-place finish, Busch, in the No. 18 M&Ms Toyota Camry, had some problems during the race, catching a pit road speeding penalty on Lap 127 which put him 22nd on the restart. His third-place finish was the highest of his career, besting his previous high of seventh.
“I want champagne and to do donuts right now, but I think they would frown on that if you’re third,” said Busch. “All good, just can’t say enough about the effort of this 18 bunch. This M&M’s Camry was awesome today. Dave Rogers (crew chief) and all the guys did a really good job this weekend. They listened to my feedback and I felt that my feedback was good. We got the pieces in place that we needed and all race long we kept up with the race track and we kept up with our adjustments there.”
“Those first two guys there (Logano and Larson), they just checked out on us,” Busch continued. “I had nothing for them and I felt like I was running a pretty good pace, but those guys were flat out flying. There may have been a couple other good cars out there today that didn’t have good finishes that could have finished third, fourth, fifth, but I felt like we were a good sixth or seventh place car. Circumstances worked in our favor there and we ended up third. Again, can’t say enough about the effort of this team. Looking forward for the next few weeks.”
Hamlin, in the No. 11 FedEx Office Toyota, was pleased with his run at Kansas in a race that saw many of the Chase Contenders have problems.
“Just a solid day,” said Hamlin. “We didn’t think we were going to contend for a win here today, but we knew we could contend for a top-five, top-10 finish and we did. I’m proud of my team – no mistakes on pit road, just nice smooth day. I saw those guys having a lot of issues. We don’t have a lot of the speed that those guys have, so maybe if we can get them out this round, then maybe there’s a fighting chance we’ll get to the end of this thing.”
One of the Chase Contenders that did have problems was Kenseth in the No. 20 Dollar General Toyota. Kenseth suffered the plague that got many of the drivers – tire issues.
“Not good – we just got some damage there and took a long time to fix it,” said Kenseth. “That got us way behind and then it was just uphill from there. We had a set of tires that got loose then we had an unscheduled stop and got behind. Just could never get back to the front.”
The 2014 Chase for the Sprint Cup Contenders Round continues next Saturday, October 11th at Charlotte Motor Speedway, home of the Bank of America 500. Keep up with the action at joegibbsracing.com.
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