Kyle Busch‘s chances of winning his third Sprint Cup race in a row ended on Lap 259 of the Food City 500 when his No. 18 Toyota hit the wall. The damage to the right front of his car was enough to end Busch’s day at Bristol Motor Speedway.
The crash was the fifth incident of the race for Busch and the second involving a right-front tire problem. The first occurred on Lap 52 when the defending series champion was running third, sending his car into the outside wall in Turn 2.
Goodyear initially attributed the wreck to a melted tire bead.
But Goodyear Director of Race Tire Sales Greg Stucker later told reporters that Goodyear wasn’t sure if Busch’s first problem was because of a melted bead.
Stucker said Goodyear would take the tires from Busch and Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Matt Kenseth and Denny Hamlin (who also had problems) to its Akron, Ohio, headquarters for analysis. It likely would be a few weeks before it had results.
Busch said the tire problems weren’t a result of pushing the car.
“Once I got single file there after that last restart I was just cruising,” he said. “I was just riding along, and the car felt fine. I don’t know why it kept getting tighter, and why we were blowing right fronts.”
On Lap 117, Busch had worked his way back to the top 10 when he was hit from behind by Chris Buescher out of Turn 2, sending the No. 18 into a spin.
Busch also would be caught speeding twice in the pits before the Lap 259 accident.
“I have no idea (what happened),” Busch told Fox after officially falling out of the race. “We just kept getting tighter in the long run. Not sure why that was. We had a really great car yesterday.”
Busch qualified fifth after recording the fastest speed in the first practice of the day.
He entered Bristol having swept the previous two NASCAR weekends at Martinsville Speedway (Camping World Truck Series and Sprint Cup) and Texas Motor Speedway (Xfinity and Cup).
“I guess it just wasn’t meant to be,” Busch said. “I’m not sure what started it, but we were a little snug early on in the first run of the race. As the car would run more and more laps it would get tighter and tighter, that’s the weirdest thing that I’ve felt all day and all weekend we haven’t had that problem.”