By Toby Christie, NASCAR Editor
Kyle Busch came into Bristol Motor Speedway on a two-race winning streak in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, and considering he’s a five-time winner at ‘The World’s Fastest Half-Mile,’ many expected another good day from Busch. However, Busch suffered a melted bead on his right front tire early in the race, and he endured cut tires all day long, which finally resulted in a hard accident on lap 257.
Busch would wind up finishing 38th after retiring on lap 258 because of unrepairable damage to his No. 18 M&M’s Toyota Camry.
After climbing from his car, Busch spoke to reporters about his challenging day, “We just kept getting tighter in the long run. Our car was really good yesterday and we were fast in practice and fast again today,” Busch explained. “We came from the back to the front a few times and probably one of the few cars able to do that today with as hard as it is the pass. I hate it for all these M&M’s guys and our fans and everybody for us not being out there anymore. I guess today just wasn’t meant to be.”
Although Goodyear officials confirmed that the No. 18 team suffered a melted tire bead on their first tire failure of the day, Goodyear wasn’t sure what caused the failures after that. Busch still isn’t sure what caused his car to continually cut tires during the race either.
“I’m not sure what started it, but we were a little snug early on in the first run of the race. As the car would run more and more laps it would get tighter and tighter, that’s the weirdest thing that I’ve felt all day and all weekend we haven’t had that problem. Not sure what happened,” Busch said.
Although the cause is not currently known, you would have to imagine it has to do with the car setups of the Joe Gibbs Racing teams. Busch’s teammate, Matt Kenseth, who led 142 laps, also cut a couple of right front tires Sunday, and Denny Hamlin cut a tire on lap 408.
By winning the last two Sprint Cup Series races heading into Bristol, Busch’s Chase berth is pretty well locked up regardless of what happened Sunday in Bristol. Busch merely has to continue to race each weekend and stay inside the top-30 of the championship standings when the Chase starts after Richmond in September.
Image: Matt Hazlett/Getty Images