Joe Gibbs Racing driver Kyle Busch picked up his second fourth-place finish in as many days in the Quicken Loans 400 at Michigan International Speedway on Sunday. The driver of the No. 18 M&Ms Toyota Camry backed up a fourth-place run in the Nationwide Series race on Saturday.
“The guys fought hard all day – they did a really good job with the adjustments and Dave (Rogers, crew chief) made some good calls,” said Busch post-race. “The M&M’s Camry was there for me and we kept it out in front of the race track and we never really got behind there so that was good. We made a lot of big swings at it today. There were a lot of adjustments there and the guys did good, pit stops were good so it was a good, solid fourth. If we finish a few more of these a little bit better then we’ll be knocking out some wins here.”
Fellow JGR driver Matt Kenseth finished sixth in the No. 20 Home Depot/Husky Tools Toyota, while Denny Hamlin’s Chase chances continued to slip away with a 30th-place finish in the No. 11 FedEx Express Toyota, which was re-wrapped Saturday night to feature the paint scheme run by the late Jason Leffler in 2005; Leffler was killed in a sprint car accident on June 12th in New Jersey.
“We fought it a little bit – the Hendrick cars had everybody covered,” said Kenseth. “Other than them, I thought if we had the car just perfect that we had enough speed to have a shot at the win. The 16 (Greg Biffle) got good there at the end. We had a good restart there toward the end and Martin (Truex Jr.) got in there and got in the gas and we were still clearly still on the outside and he was going to go straight to the top and I had to lift because he was going to run me into the wall. When I lifted my car went sideways and then he lifted and tried to give me room, but he already had me out in the ‘toolies’ and I just got lucky to save it.”
Hamlin spoke about the new paint scheme on the car after the race. “It was an idea that I had to pay tribute to Jason (Leffler) in today’s race,” said Hamlin. “We had become friends over the past several years and had the same circle of friends, so it meant a lot to me to honor his memory. I have to thank JGR and FedEx for letting us do this – Jason was there at the start with FedEx joining JGR back in 2005 and there are still about five crew members on the team that were on the team with Jason so I know it was real special to all of them. Also want to thank NASCAR for letting us change the wrap on the car on such short notice – just wanted to help pay tribute to Jason.”
Kenseth and Busch each moved up one spot in points following Michigan, to fifth and sixth, respectively. Hamlin fell one spot to 26th after missing four races early in the season with a back injury.
The Sprint Cup Series heads to Sonoma Raceway in California for the first road course race of the season next Sunday, June 23rd. Keep up with the action at www.nascar.com and joegibbsracing.com.
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