Kyle Busch admitted that he “certainly screwed up” his team’s day and his shot at a Las Vegas weekend sweep Sunday when he was caught speeding on pit road in the middle of Stage 2.
Busch, who won Friday’s Gander Outdoors Truck Series race and Saturday’s Xfinity race, finished third Sunday.
The mistake came on Lap 129 when he locked up his brakes while entering the pits from the lead.
“Coming to pit road there, we tried a different brake package for us this weekend,” Busch told Fox. “Trying to make up time, and in order to get a bigger jump on the guys behind me coming to pit road there, just ruined it for us, and we had to come from the back.”
After he served the pass-through penalty, Busch returned to the track a lap down in 24th but ahead of Joey Logano. So when Logano cycled back into the lead on Lap 150, it put Busch back on the lead lap in 19th.
The Joe Gibbs Racing driver was in 16th for the Lap 168 restart after the Stage 2 break, and he was in 10th 10 laps later.
“I think we passed the most cars today, so I think we were the most impressive today but doesn’t matter because we don’t have a trophy,” Busch said.
While Busch said “we would have won this race” if not for the penalty, the Las Vegas native put some blame on the new rules package, which made its full debut Sunday with aero ducts.
“The cars don’t have any speed,” Busch said. “You’re wide open just trying to suck off of any cars that you can that’s in front of you and get a draft, and I was running 31 (second) flats when I was chasing those leaders down, and then once I got there I stalled out to 31:40’s because the wind was just so bad behind those guys that you couldn’t corner anymore. You couldn’t maneuver. I couldn’t run low.
“If they ran low, I couldn’t run high … so you’re always trying to figure out which way to go.”
Despite being winless through the first three races, Busch leaves Las Vegas ranked fourth in points as the the only driver with three top 10s.
He finished second at Daytona and was sixth at Atlanta.
NASCAR will race next weekend at ISM Raceway in suburban Phoenix, where Busch won last November.