Rowdy is on a Roll in Texas

by Tucker White On Sun, Apr. 10, 2016

Photo Credit: Don Dunn

Kyle Busch continued his run of excellence in NASCAR with his win in the Lone Star State.

The driver of the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota took the lead with 32 laps to go and drove on to score the victory in the Duck Commander 500. It’s his 36th career win,  his second of the season, second at Texas Motor Speedway and the second weekend sweep this season.

“Our car was really, really fast, especially entry and the center of the corner,” Busch said. “As the night progressed, I think the track came to us. Our car got a little better. Adam made some great adjustments all night long. We fought it in the beginning. We weren’t very good. Our other teammates were really fast. The 19, the 78. I don’t know what happened to the 19 but the 78, we just out-tired them at the end. Overall, a great night for JGR, a great night for Toyota.”

Dale Earnhardt Jr. brought his No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet home to a runner-up finish.

“We got a little behind and got caught on pit road on that one caution,” Earnhardt said. “We had a fast car, probably good enough to win. Martin (Truex Jr.) probably had the best car, but the best car doesn’t always win. Kyle did a great job on the outside on that last restart. Truss’s tires were worse than I thought. We finished up there where we should have. We need a win. We’d love a win; I know our fans want a win really bad. Trust me, man, we’re all working really hard and running great every week. Hopefully, that’s fun for everyone to watch. I had a blast inside the car – a lot of sliding around sideways and good, hard racing. We’ll go to the next one I guess and try again.”

Joey Logano rounded out the podium in his No. 22 Team Penske Ford.

“I’m proud of what my race team did,” Logano said. “This Shell/Pennzoil team executed perfectly today. We may not have had the fastest car, we obviously didn’t have the fastest car, but we executed into a top-three finish, and I’m very proud of my team for that. We had great pit stops and great calls, so everything worked out well. Everyone did their job. That’s kind of been our weak point this year is that we haven’t had the speed, but we haven’t been executing perfectly. Now it seemed like we executed right and we’ve got to work on our speed now.”

Jimmie Johnson’s run of three-straight wins at Texas came to an end after a collision with race winner Busch on pit road early in the race and a fourth-place finish in his No. 48 HMS Chevrolet.

“We overcame a lot today,” Johnson said. “On that first pit stop, everyone was checking up and I hammered the back of the 18. We had to fix damage on the nose, and it wasn’t pretty. There’s a big hole up front and that couldn’t have been helping us at all. There’s a lot of fight in this Lowe’s team today. I’m thankful for the great equipment and the fight that these guys have because with all the damage and adversity we went through tonight, to come home fourth is really good for this Lowe’s Chevrolet.”

Chase Elliott led one lap on his way to rounding out the top-five in his No. 24 HMS Chevrolet.

“Yeah, it was a step in the right direction,” Elliott said. “We’re definitely not satisfied running fifth. I feel like we have a group of guys that are capable of doing that. We’ll keep digging at it. We have a long way to go with a lot of racing to go in the season. We’ll keep working to get where we can roll with those guys.”

Martin Truex Jr. had the car to beat this morning after leading 142 of the 334 laps, but opting to stay out on the final caution ultimately cost him a chance at victory and forced the driver of the No. 78 Furniture Row Racing Toyota to settle for a sixth-place finish.

“We just ran out of tires, you know,” Truex said. “Made it through (turns) one and two side-by-side, got to three and just didn’t have the grip. Then we fell back because we were sliding around. Everybody had new tires, we ran under caution for a long time, they keep building air pressure and losing grip. Pretty big disadvantage, but can’t say enough about the guys for the race car they brought here and the weekend we had. It hurts. It’s happened a few times to me here. Hurts a little bit, but we’ll get over it and we’ll move on and we’ll take the positives out of it tonight.”

Carl Edwards led 124 laps and fell down a lap after pitting for a loose wheel, but the driver of the No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota worked his way back up and finished seventh. Kasey Kahne ended a run of bad finishes with an eighth-place finish in his No. 5 HMS Chevrolet.

“We just battled,” Kahne said. “We got behind, got a lap down early again and we just had to fight back. The team did an awesome job to do that. We had great calls to get the car tightened up; I was so loose that I couldn’t go fast enough for a little while there. There at the end, we were actually pretty competitive the last probably 250 laps, like really competitive. We were down a lap a lot of it, but we were really competitive. Once we got back up there I think we were definitely a top 10 car and we finished eighth. It was the best we have done in a long time. It feels nice.”

Kurt Busch finished ninth in his No. 41 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet. Kevin Harvick led one lap on his way to rounding out the top-10 in his No. 4 SHR Chevrolet.

The race lasted three hours, 37 minutes and 16 seconds at an average speed of 138.355 mph. There were 17 lead changes among eight different drivers and seven cautions for 41 laps.


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