Busch Wins 600; Becomes Mastered Tracksman

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Monday, May 28 2018

Kyle Busch’s win in Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway gives the Joe Gibbs Racing driver a victory at every active track. (RacinToday/HHP photo by Tim Parks)

By Deb Williams | Senor Writer

CONCORD, N.C. – Ever since childhood, Kyle Busch has dreamed of winning the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. On Sunday night, the Las Vegas native turned his dream into reality, becoming the first driver in NASCAR’s Modern Era to win at every Cup track on which he has competed.

Always watching the All-Star race and then the 600 the following weekend and being able to come out here and now win the Coca-Cola 600 is just phenomenal,” Busch said after earning his fourth victory this season and the 47th of his career. “Man, there’s no greater feeling than winning this race. It’s a little boy’s dream come true.”

Busch didn’t just dominate the grueling 400-lap race, he was untouchable, winning every stage and leading five times for 377 laps after starting from the pole. The number of laps led was the third most of Busch’s career. He led 415 of 500 at Bristol, Tenn., in the summer of 2008 and 378 at Bristol in 2009.

“When he puts a helmet on, on race day, I think he’s one of those unusual people, and he has unusual talent, and to be able to do what he’s done at (his) age he is just special,” team owner Joe Gibbs said. “I don’t know that I’ve ever seen him when it’s race day to back off some. He’s always aggressive. Some people are just special when it comes to game day, and I think Kyle is one of those.”

Crew chief Adam Stevens defined it as “100 percent focus and 100 percent commitment to winning.”

 “Nothing makes him happy unless he’s in victory lane,” Stevens said.  “Doesn’t settle for less in himself, and he doesn’t settle for less in the people around him.  I take comfort in that, personally.  You know what you’re going to get,”  

Busch said that with him “what you see is what you get more than likely.”

“But with this morning (Sunday), I guess, I was a little bit rough around the edges,” Busch continued, “so there was something kind of to me that (wife) Samantha noticed. I tend to sometimes get a little overwhelmed and kind of shut down or get a little spooked, if you will.

“Overall, once you get your helmet on and once you’re by yourself, no offense to my wife, but that’s my favorite time of the day is just being in the race car and making laps by myself.”

Busch’s and his Joe Gibbs Racing team’s performance was flawless. There were no problems on pit road and most of the time Busch’s lead fluctuated between 2 and 6 seconds. His only issue occurred after the race’s halfway mark when there was interference on his two-way radio.

 “It was like a phone call, like somebody would key up the radio and it would dial a number and then it would go away,” Busch said. “I don’t know what that was all about.  We had it for about, I don’t know, one or two laps in the third stage, and then we had it for about eight laps in the final stage. Finally, I just had to shut that radio off, and then figure out where my backup was and get it turned on. 

“That was the first time I’ve probably ever turned on my backup radio, so I was searching for it, trying to find it.  It’s not so bright inside our cockpit so it’s kind of hard to see with everything being black.  Got it handled and was able to soldier on the rest of the (race).”

The interference was believed to have come from a Charlotte television station’s satellite truck located outside the infield media center.

Defending series champion Martin Truex Jr., who dominated the event in a similar fashion two years ago, finished 3.823 seconds behind Busch. Denny Hamlin, Brad Keselowski and Jimmie Johnson, rounded out the top five, respectively. Johnson’s winless streak has now stretched to 36 races.

With the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season now at the halfway mark, Busch leads Joey Logano by 67 points. Kevin Harvick, who leads the season with five victories, is third in the standings after finishing last at Charlotte due to an accident on lap 84.


Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Race – Coca-Cola 600

Charlotte Motor Speedway

Concord, North Carolina

Sunday, May 27, 2018

  1. (1) Kyle Busch, Toyota, 400.
  2. (15) Martin Truex Jr., Toyota, 400.
  3. (3) Denny Hamlin, Toyota, 400.
  4. (5) Brad Keselowski, Ford, 400.
  5. (23) Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet, 400.
  6. (7) Jamie McMurray, Chevrolet, 400.
  7. (11) Kyle Larson, Chevrolet, 400.
  8. (16) Kurt Busch, Ford, 400.
  9. (27) Alex Bowman, Chevrolet, 400.
  10. (13) Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Ford, 399.
  11. (22) Chase Elliott, Chevrolet, 399.
  12. (28) Clint Bowyer, Ford, 399.
  13. (9) Aric Almirola, Ford, 399.
  14. (14) Paul Menard, Ford, 399.
  15. (10) Daniel Suarez, Toyota, 399.
  16. (24) Darrell Wallace Jr. #, Chevrolet, 399.
  17. (17) Matt Kenseth, Ford, 399.
  18. (29) Michael McDowell, Ford, 399.
  19. (4) Erik Jones, Toyota, 399.
  20. (26) Kasey Kahne, Chevrolet, 399.
  21. (20) Ty Dillon, Chevrolet, 399.
  22. (2) Joey Logano, Ford, 399.
  23. (30) AJ Allmendinger, Chevrolet, 399.
  24. (25) Ross Chastain(i), Chevrolet, 398.
  25. (19) David Ragan, Ford, 396.
  26. (33) Corey LaJoie, Chevrolet, 396.
  27. (32) * Parker Kligerman(i), Toyota, 394.
  28. (35) Landon Cassill, Chevrolet, 394.
  29. (18) Chris Buescher, Chevrolet, 394.
  30. (37) * Jeffrey Earnhardt, Chevrolet, 389.
  31. (34) Gray Gaulding, Toyota, 388.
  32. (36) * Timmy Hill(i), Toyota, 383.
  33. (38) BJ McLeod(i), Chevrolet, 373.
  34. (12) Austin Dillon, Chevrolet, 348.
  35. (6) Ryan Newman, Chevrolet, 344.
  36. (8) Ryan Blaney, Ford, Engine, 278.
  37. (31) Matt DiBenedetto, Ford, Oil Leak, 257.
  38. (40) * JJ Yeley(i), Chevrolet, Fuel Pump, 191.
  39. (21) William Byron #, Chevrolet, Accident, 139.
  40. (39) Kevin Harvick, Ford, Accident, 83.

Average Speed of Race Winner:  136.692 mph.

Time of Race:  04 Hrs, 23 Mins, 22 Secs. Margin of Victory:  3.823 Seconds.

Caution Flags:  11 for 54 laps.

Lead Changes:  9 among 4 drivers.

Lap Leaders:   Kyle Busch 0; J. Logano 1-4; Kyle Busch 5-85; B. Keselowski 86-87; Kyle Busch 88-158; D. Hamlin 159-165; J. Logano 166-173; Kyle Busch 174-352; D. Hamlin 353-354; Kyle Busch 355-400.

Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led):  Kyle Busch 4 times for 377 laps; J. Logano 2 times for 12 laps; D. Hamlin 2 times for 9 laps; B. Keselowski 1 time for 2 laps.

Stage #1 Top Ten: 18,12,42,78,48,10,14,11,17,20

Stage #2 Top Ten: 18,78,42,11,14,10,9,48,31,20

Stage #3 Top Ten: 18,20,2,41,1,11,95,78,17,31

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Monday, May 28 2018
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