By Toby Christie, NASCAR Editor
Defending Series champion, Kyle Busch came into the Coca-Cola 600 with just two tracks on the Sprint Cup Series circuit that he had left to check off of his win list. Charlotte Motor Speedway, which is one of those two tracks, continued to be a thorn in Busch’s side Sunday evening.
Busch rolled off from the grid in the 16th position. Before the competition caution came out on lap 25, Busch would work his way to 11th. After a pit stop under this caution, Busch’s pit crew picked him up three spots to eighth, and it looked like the driver of the No. 18 was ready to contend for a victory.
However, handling would go awry for Busch and he would slip back to 12th. The team wouldn’t get a chance to diagnose the handling issues until the next caution, for Brian Scott spinning at lap 114. Under this yellow, Busch and his team concluded that there was an issue with a shock on his car. Busch would ask his team to have an extra shock on hand, so when the next caution came out they could get it changed.
Unfortunately from the moment the race restarted, it was another 89 laps until the next caution.
At lap 205, Busch finally got the much needed repairs. When the race went back to green the No. 18 Toyota was in 18th-position. Seven laps later, it was apparent that the shock was indeed the problem as Busch had moved to 12th.
Busch would continue working his way through the field, making it into the top-10 to stay for the rest of the race.
In the closing moments of the event though, bad luck reached up and grabbed Busch again. He had a right-front tire go down, and as a result he slammed hard into the turn-two wall. Busch would limp his car back to the garage, and his race would end eight laps early. After climbing from his battered race car, Busch explained how rough Sunday’s race was for him.
“It was a tough night, start to finish. The car had great acceleration toward the end, but we were tight all night and really never able to pass anybody. Definitely not the run we wanted for our M&M’S Red, White and Blue Camry,” Busch Said.
— Joe Gibbs Racing (@JoeGibbsRacing) May 30, 2016
Busch was credited with a 33rd place finish, and now he sports a career-average finish of 15.8 at Charlotte. He will now have to wait until later this fall for another shot at grabbing his first Sprint Cup win at the track in the heart of NASCAR country.
Image: Jerry Markland/NASCAR via Getty Images