● Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 18 M&M’S Halloween Toyota Camry, finished 30th in Sunday’s Xfinity 500 from Martinsville (Va.) Speedway.
● After starting 18th Busch settled into a quiet pace during the first several laps of the opening stage. The handling on the M&M’S Halloween Toyota took a dramatic turn for the worse around lap 60 and Busch quickly started losing positions. He went down a lap to the leaders on lap 66 and went on to lose three more laps by the time the first stage concluded on lap 130. Busch was scored last in the running order in 36th place.
● It was during the scheduled pit stop at the end of the first stage where the team was able to diagnose the issue. The right rear tire taken off the car during the pit stop appeared to be split with an entire half of the tire tread gone. It severely compromised the handling on the No. 18 Toyota, making it near impossible to drive.
● The two-time Cup Series champion returned to the track four laps down in 36th place. With four solid tires Busch was back to running lap times comparable to what he was completing prior to the issue in the first stage. Because a number of cars had already been lapped, the opportunity to regain lost laps never materialized.
● A number of other drivers went on to experience problems during the 500-lap race allowing Busch pick up some positions in the final running order. The M&M’S Halloween driver finished the day in 30th place.
Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 18 M&M’S Halloween Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing:
“We were just riding with the M&M’S Halloween Camry and it just flipped and was all over the place. We basically had a tire that came apart. If we had pit we would have lost four laps so we stayed out and lost four laps anyway. It’s not the way you want any race to go but especially with only two to go in the season.”
The NASCAR Cup Series season finale is Sunday, Nov. 6 at Phoenix Raceway. The championship race starts at 3 p.m. EST with live coverage provided by NBC and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.