BRISTOL, Tenn – Kyle Busch was the heavy favorite heading into Saturday night’s Bass Pro Shops Night Race at the Bristol (Tenn) Motor Speedway. He was +275 in the betting world. The next best was more than double behind.
Busch, had won three times in his last four Bristol starts including just back in the spring race in April.
But, his weekend was a struggle from the get go. Busch, was only fifth and 16th respectively in practice on Friday and 17th overall in final practice on long run speed. That led to a 31st place starting spot for the main event.
Busch, struggled with a bad handling car early on. By Lap 79, he was a lap down. He had to go off strategy to get his lap back and had to go even more off strategy for track position. But, they needed some help to remain up front though.
Busch, got that via a caution on Lap 362 which put him on strategy with everyone else. Now, he had track position and fresh tires but it really didn’t matter. He didn’t have the handling in his No. 18 Toyota to really do anything with it as he brought his car home with a fourth place run on Saturday night.
“We were just too loose at the end,” Busch said. “The car was just wasn’t ever there all weekend long. I never found what I was looking for. We were just kind of all over the place. We were so loose at the early on I was just barely hanging on. We finally got it tightened up enough when I was racing with the 2 (Brad Keselowski) and I finally got the lead so we just tried to make it better on exit and after that we were going to go a long run on tires we figured, but just made it too loose. I had no rears. We salvaged a hard fought day with a fourth place finish.”
The top five was Busch’s first since July 13 at the Kentucky Speedway. It was also just his second in the last eight races. Meanwhile, he’s watched Denny Hamlin win twice to tie him with the most all season at four. Martin Truex Jr. has also scored four wins now too.
Over the last eight races, Busch has two top fives compared to Hamlin’s six, Erik Jones’ four and Truex Jr’s three.
“We’re flat out getting out ass kicked by our teammates so we’ve got to get better.”