After winning his first Cup race at Charlotte last weekend with a victory in the Monster Energy NASCAR All-Star Race, Kyle Busch and his No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing team had high hopes of pulling off the All-Star/Coca-Cola 600 sweep, but would have to settle for a second-place finish on Sunday night instead.
Busch started on the outside of the front row alongside Kevin Harvick and was quick to take over the lead at lap two for a 22-lap stint at the front of the field. He would lead two more times for a total of 35 laps led and the Stage 1 win, his third of the season.
Over the course of the remaining stages, Busch would finish the second and third stages in fourth and second, respectively, but the final 100-lap stage is when his car came to life and he re-asserted himself into the lead at lap 307 and again at lap 331 to bring his laps led total for the race to 63.
Though it looked like the race would come down to Busch and Martin Truex, Jr., fuel mileage came into play late in the going, with eventual winner Austin Dillon and Jimmie Johnson staying out and conserving fuel, while Busch and Truex, along with numerous others had to make a late pit stop to top off with fuel.
Busch was able to get past Truex to be the first car among those that had pitted and was blazing his way toward Dillon in the lead, but ran out of time to be able to catch him by the time the checkered flag flew, finishing 0.835 seconds back.
“This M&M’s Camry was awesome tonight,” said Busch. “It was just super fast. I mean we had one of the fastest cars all night long and then the 78 (Martin Truex Jr.) was probably the fastest car. There at the end, somehow we ran him down. You know he got a straightaway out on us, but there that last 100 laps we were able to get back to him and pass him so you know that was promising for us there at the end in order to get a second-place finish, but man just so so disappointed. I don’t know. We ran our own race. We did what we needed to do and it wasn’t – it wasn’t the right game. We come up short and finish second.”
While he remained civil in his post-race interview with TV, things took a bit of a different turn when he went into the media center for his post-race obligations there. Busch was asked if he was surprised about the Austin Dillon win and well, he didn’t take too kindly to that question.
“I’m not surprised about anything. Congratulations,” Busch said before tossing the microphone down on the media center table and walking out.
— FOX Sports (@FOXSports) May 29, 2017