Kyle Busch drove Toyota to his first victory of the season in a 72-plus hour rain-delayed AutoTrader EchoPark Automotive 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on Wednesday evening. This is Busch’s fourth career NASCAR Cup Series (NCS) win at Texas Motor Speedway and 57th of his NCS career. For Toyota, it the ninth NCS win of the season. With the victory, Busch extends his streak of at least one victory to 16 consecutive seasons. Martin Truex Jr. (second) and rookie Christopher Bell with a career-best third-place finish completed the podium for Toyota. Denny Hamlin (ninth) battled back for a top-10 finish after suffering damage in an in-race accident. He heads to Martinsville with a 27-point advantage over fifth-place in the standings. Truex will go into Martinsville Speedway – a track he has won the last two Cup Series races– needing another trophy to advance to the Championship 4.
Toyota Racing Post-Race Recap
NASCAR Cup Series (NCS)
Texas Motor Speedway
Race 34 of 36 – 501.0 miles, 334 laps
TOYOTA FINISHING POSITIONS
1st, KYLE BUSCH
2nd, MARTIN TRUEX JR.
3rd, CHRISTOPHER BELL
4th, Ryan Blaney*
5th, Alex Bowman*
9th, DENNY HAMLIN
21st, ERIK JONES
27th, DANIEL SUÁREZ
30th, TIMMY HILL
35th, CHAD FINCHUM
KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 Skittles Zombie Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Finishing Position: 1st
How were you able to balance saving fuel and staying in front of Martin Truex Jr.?
“I don’t know. Just kept getting great leadership and mentoring from Adam (Stevens, crew chief) and Tony (Hirschman, spotter) and those guys kept talking to me and kept reminding me about saving and being able to do what I could. Trying to stay in the draft as much as I could on the straightaways. It ran out coming right in here to do a burnout, so I had enough to get a little bit of a burnout. I don’t know if it will make it back. I can’t say enough about Adam Stevens and everybody at Joe Gibbs Racing. I appreciate all your hard work. Everybody at Toyota and TRD. This Skittles Zombie machine looked bad to the bone and it’s really, really awesome. I had to do a zombie remake here (helmet). This is what everybody looked like on their phones around here for the last three days. Everybody just zombied around. I wasn’t planning on that, but it kind of worked with this weekend, but more so with the times. This is going for auction. People can buy their tickets to win the raffle — $18 a piece at BundleofJoyFund.org or go to KyleBusch.com.”
How does it feel to get the win to keep your 16-year streak going?
“We finally got it. I was so nervous – I was nervous the whole last run. I’ve been in this position so many times. The last three laps though, that’s like winning the championship – that’s how nervous I was. I can’t believe it, but just so proud to be here. My team guys, awesome pit stops, they were phenomenal. I appreciate M&M’s, Interstate Batteries, Rowdy Energy Drink. We’re ready to fight next year, we’ll be back.”
This is your 57th win of your career, does this one mean a lot?
“Yes and no. They all mean a lot. There’s certain circumstances and certain specialties to all of them. This one means a lot just to keep the 16 going. We’re out of the Playoffs and have nothing to shoot for. Everyone thought we were duds. We don’t ever give up.”
Can you explain your emotion right now?
“I don’t know. It means a lot just to keep that winning streak going. That’s the biggest thing I was hoping for and obviously wanting to accomplish this year before the year was out. I can’t say enough about Adam Stevens (crew chief) and Tony Hirschman (spotter), my pit crew guys and everybody at Joe Gibbs Racing for all their hard work and everything that they do year in and year out. This Skittles Zombie machine looked bad to the bone, it’s really cool to run with Skittles and do fun schemes. Halloween-themed – everybody out there, happy Halloween coming up this week. We have a special helmet that’s going to go up for auction, it’s now a winning helmet. We’re raising money for the Bundle of Joy Fund. You can go to KyleBusch.com and purchase your tickets for our raffle in order to win my helmet.”
How close were you on fuel at the end of the race?
“I came in here to do a celebration and it was out. It’s running on the pump, but it’s running low. I don’t know if there’s anything left in the lines for me to get back to victory lane so if the tower is listening, send a tow truck in case I can’t go.”
What does this mean knowing you had nothing to lose and everything to gain with this win?
“Winning the race was precedent. I knew we had a good car early on in the race. We were really loose, but we made some adjustments before the rain and then obviously sitting around for three days. Being able to get back at it, I knew we were going to have a good piece. It was just a matter of getting through traffic. Some of those guys on the short runs were just putting me in really bad aero spots and I was able to make something happen once we all got single-filed out I could roll and show them what we really had.”
Toyota Racing PR