By Seth Eggert, NASCAR Correspondent
CONCORD, N.C. – In the eyes of Kyle Busch, aerodynamics prevented him from a chance at $1 Million in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series All-Star Race.
Busch’s No. 18 M&M’s Hazelnut Spread Toyota Camry had been one of the cars to beat at Charlotte Motor Speedway. After the final restart, he chased Kyle Larson. As he searched for a way around Larson, the Joe Gibbs Racing driver found himself blocked at every turn.
As Larson forced Busch to run in his tire tracks, the 2015 Champion began to push. Every turn, the No. 18 slid further and further up the track. With three laps to go, Busch pounded the outside wall off of turn four. He relinquished second-place to Kevin Harvick and limped to the checkered.
“All year long, this M&M’s Camry was fast, but just not fast enough by itself on restarts,” Busch stated. “Couldn’t hold off the guys behind us and fought aero problems after that.”
Four laps into stage three, Busch contacted Austin Dillon. The contact sent Dillon into Busch’s teammate, Erik Jones, and brought out the caution. Although the damage was minimal, Busch ducked onto pit road for repairs to his right front fender.
Busch, who had started second, found passing to be difficult with the current aero package. Once the field became single file, it was nearly impossible to move by another competitor at the front. Further back however, passing occurred regularly.
“We had a really fast M&M’s Camry,” Busch explained. “Probably was the only guy to pass for the lead after a given set of laps. On restarts, we couldn’t go anywhere, we just weren’t fast enough, but we had long run speed. That’s all there is to it.”
The third-place finish is the fifth top-five in the All-Star Race for Busch and came in his 14th All-Star Race. It is also his ninth top-10 finish in the exhibition event.