Kyle Busch, Erik Jones Bring Home Top Fives at Bristol

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1st, Brad Keselowski*

2nd, Clint Bowyer*

3rd, Jimmie Johnson*








*non-Toyota driver 


KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 Skittles Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing

Finishing Position: 4th

How was your race at Bristol overall?

“Our race was okay. We were trying to exit pit road two-wide with (Martin) Truex (Jr.) there running my lights and running on the inside, it’s a shorter distance and we got pegged for speeding. That ruined our first stage results. We were able to get back up there a little bit for the second stage, got some decent second stage points and then we were able to drive to the lead. I led for a little bit and thought we had a pretty good Skittles Camry out front. It was a little bit of a struggle in traffic until we caught lapped traffic and it kind of started to mix up the leaders a little bit. I felt like we could make ground back up in that after 30 or 35 laps of a run. We didn’t get those runs at the end of the race. My pit crew always does a great job and unfortunately we came down leading and then we came out third and losing control of the race lost us the race. They’re normally really, really good at getting us spots and today we just didn’t have one of those days on pit road. We got the result we got and those guys all crashed in front of us. Denny (Hamlin) got a flat after he crashed. The 9 (Chase Elliott) and the 22 (Joey Logano) got together when the 2 (Brad Keselowski) had just got by me so he was already in the lead and I had to check up for those guys wrecking. We fell to fourth and that’s all we had.”

Which lane performed better for you during the race?

“I was pretty good in both just as long as there wasn’t anybody in front of me. It did seem like the bottom groove certainly was the more beneficial groove to fire off for say 30 laps and then it would definitely equal out and the top groove would kind of come in. I could run both. I felt like my car was pretty good in both and I made time in both of them. There at the end, it was just everybody around the bottom and my car would not fire off on restarts. We struggled on restarts and I just had no speed there to be able to run hard with those guys at the end.”

ERIK JONES, No. 20 Stanley Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing

Finishing Position: 5th

Solid race today at Bristol, but you had to battle back late due to an incident not of your own making. How was your race today overall?

“It was solid. We had a pretty good Stanley Camry. At times, I thought we were better than others. We got a good finish out of it, which was nice. I got caught up in a wreck with the 4 (Kevin Harvick) car. He blew a right front, and we got some damage on the left front at the end. It slowed us down for sure. We just never really got the track position all day, never got where we needed to. We were fast enough during some of the runs that I felt like we could have maintained if we had been up in the top three, we just never got up there. Good day, good finish. Top-five is always rewarding, but you always want more.”

With the track being so green, how long did it take to settle in and find some grip and a rhythm? 

“It took a long time. We’ve never started at Bristol with a track green, and that slick. It really felt like it took all of that first 60 laps to get the bottom cleaned up and rubbered in. It took a good 250-300 to really get the top rolling, comfortably, and not even really to its full potential. I don’t think the top ever got to where it was truly the best it could be. It took a long time. It was really odd starting like that. We really had to make a lot of changes to try to keep up with the track.”

How different was this race without practice or qualifying?

“I think it was more of an effect today than what it had been at the mile-and-a-halves. Short tracks, you really seem to tune on your car a lot more through practice. Splitter heights are harder to gauge and hit correctly when you come to these places with just your sim. That was all a little farther off than what we had at the mile-and-a-halves. It took us a little longer to get it. Bristol, we are usually pretty good by time the race starts, and we really didn’t have that today. It definitely affected us more today than the other tracks.”

Toyota Racing PR