By Toby Christie, NASCAR Editor
FORT WORTH, Texas — Over the past couple of seasons, Kyle Busch has been arguably the best driver in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series garage. Friday at Texas Motor Speedway, Busch and his No. 18 team had one of their most trying days in recent memory.
In the opening minutes of the first practice session of the weekend, Busch got loose coming off of turn four on his warm up lap and slammed into the outside wall before ever completing a timed lap. The contact with the wall forced the No. 18 team to pull out the backup car.
In qualifying, Busch worked his way into the second round, but in the cool off period between round one and two, Busch’s car began to spew water out from the underside of the vehicle.
Turns out that the team didn’t properly clamp the radiator hose when they were preparing the backup car to get on the track in practice. As a result, Busch’s car would be pushed back behind the wall in qualifying, which meant that he was done for the session. Busch will roll off of the grid in Sunday’s AAA Texas 500 from the 24th position, but things could have been much, much worse for the driver on Friday.
By NASCAR rule, had the crash that occurred in the opening minutes of practice, happened after qualifying, Busch would have been relegated to starting in the rear of the field for Sunday’s race. But because the car that was wadded up, wasn’t the one that Busch used in qualifying there was no extra penalty given for the crash.
Busch’s misfortunes in qualifying were also not as bad as they could have been. Had that water drained from the car while Busch was turning laps in practice or qualifying, instead of while the car was sitting on pit road, there is a better than not chance that there could have been catastrophic damage done to the power plant in the No. 18 Toyota Camry.
Although it was a horrific day for the No. 18 team, all things considered the day didn’t turn out too bad for the driver looking for a second-consecutive Sprint Cup Series championship.