A lot of guys would be thrilled after winning a NASCAR Truck Series race on Friday, an Xfinity race on Saturday and finishing third in a Cup Series race on Sunday after being penalized for speeding on pit road.
Not Kyle Busch, who came up 1.419 seconds short of earning his third weekend sweep, matching ones at Bristol, Tennessee, in 2010 and 2017.
“Rest of the days don’t manner, man,” the Las Vegas native said on pit road after climbing out of his No. 18 Toyota with a third-place finish. “That was yesterday, tomorrow’s tomorrow, so we focus on forward.”
After falling a lap behind in Saturday’s Xfinity Series race and rallying for the 196th overall victory of his NASCAR career, the 2015 Cup Series champ nearly did the same in the Pennzoil 400. He was reeling in leaders Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski, chopping tenths of seconds from the deficit with each lap before the checkered flag fell.
“Yeah, speeding on pit road ruined our day,” said Busch of the violation that occurred in the second race stage after he had taken the lead. Busch radioed his crew that he knew he was speeding.
“It sucks to me that that happened but we had a fast race car,” he said after posting his ninth top-10 finish in 16 races at LVMS, which, judging from his postrace demeanor, probably came as zero consolation.
Big brother pleased
Older brother Kurt, who started 28th and finished fifth, was in much better spirits. Driving a car festooned with the decals and colors of Las Vegas’ Star Nursery — his sponsor when he was climbing the NASCAR ladder as a teenager — Kurt Busch used pit strategy to lead twice for 23 laps.
“It was a nice call to get the Star Nursery car up front and to have a shot at the top five,” said the 2004 NASCAR champion after posting his second top-five finish in three starts since joining Chip Ganassi Racing.
“We were in the back and the dirty air — there’s dirty martinis and there’s filthy martinis. That dirty air is filthy back there. You gotta dig and find a way to get out of it.”
Second by a hose
Keselowski narrowly missed pulling off his second straight Las Vegas victory, as the winner of last fall’s inaugural South Point 400 playoff race flashed across the finish line .236 of a second behind Penske Racing teammate Logano.
“I don’t think I would have been able to pass Joey straight up no matter what,” said the 2013 Cup Series champ and 2019 Week 2 winner at Atlanta of a late-race battle with Logano during which they swapped the lead. “One of the lapped cars completely hosed him, and I got by him, and then a lap later a lapped car completely hosed me and he got back by me.”
Keselowski made a final charge on the last lap but came up short at the line.
“He got hosed one more time by a lapped car,” said the driver of the No. 2 Ford. “It was just a constant battle of lapped cars hosing the leader. I couldn’t quite pull the slide job I needed to and I couldn’t keep him clear.”