The driver of the No. 18 has some serious work to do on June 26. Kyle Busch will have to start at the rear of the field for the Ally 400 Cup Series race after an incident in qualifying kept him from finishing his lap.
The incident occurred as Busch tried to post a strong time and reach the second round of qualifying at Nashville Superspeedway. He spun during his qualifying lap, and he backed the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota Camry into the wall. This contact damaged the left rear and sent Busch back to the garage for repairs.
With Busch being unable to complete his qualifying lap, he will now have to drop to the rear of the field. He will line up next to BJ McLeod, driver of the No. 78 Live Fast Motorsports Ford Mustang, for the Ally 400 at 5 p.m. ET (NBC). However, Busch will not have to go to a backup car after crew members from all of the Joe Gibbs Racing teams came together to repair the left rear of the No. 18.
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Busch’s Teammate Captured the Busch Light Pole
While Busch headed to the garage, three of his teammates made it to the second round of qualifying. Denny Hamlin posted the fastest time from Group A at 160.413 mph. Martin Truex Jr. (159.207 mph) and Christopher Bell (159.228) also reached the final round of qualifying.
The three other JGR drivers were not able to battle with each other and their peers for the Busch Light Pole. A sudden rainstorm rained out the second round of qualifying and forced NASCAR to set the field. Hamlin captured the 35th pole of his career after posting the fastest time while Team Penske’s Joey Logano joined him on the second row.
“It was a great run for us,” Hamlin told media members after winning the Busch Light Pole. “We didn’t start off practice that stellar but with every run we made, we just kept getting better and better. Obviously today, it was even better. I thought I under-drove a little bit but still, it was good enough.”
Busch Has Previously Recovered From Pre-Race Issues
This race will test Busch’s ability to work his way through the field and contend for a top-10 finish. This will not be a simple task as the drivers test out the Next Gen cars on the hot, concrete surface outside of Lebanon, Tenn. Though Busch has previously recovered from a pre-race incident.
The incident occurred during practice at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on March 5. Busch’s left rear tire went down and sent him into a slide after he had completed nine laps. The rear of the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota Camry slammed into the wall and sustained too much damage, forcing the team to go to the backup car.
Busch started 37th overall for the Cup Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, but he navigated his way through the field. He secured points in both Stages 1 and 2 before taking the lead during the final stage. Busch was within four laps of winning his first race of the year, but Erik Jones brought out the caution by hitting the wall.
This incident forced a restart and sent the drivers down pit road for fresh tires. Kyle Larson, Alex Bowman, and William Byron all turned in quicker stops after taking only two tires, which dropped Busch to the second row. He ultimately finished fourth overall while Bowman captured the win.