Busch Falls Short of Weekend Sweep

Kyle Busch

Kyle Busch led 151 of the race's 200 laps. (Photo: Getty Images)

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Kyle Busch dominated Sunday’s Auto Club 400 but gave up the lead late which thwarted his chance for a second straight weekend sweep.
 
After taking the checkered flag in Saturday’s NASCAR Nationwide Series Royal Purple 300, Busch was the driver to beat in Sunday’s Sprint Cup Series headliner at Auto Club Speedway. He led 151 of the day’s 200 laps but gave up the top spot in the final restart of the race with less than 10 laps to go and was forced to settle for third place behind eventual winner Kevin Harvick and Jimmie Johnson.
 
“That's why it's called racing,” Busch said. “That's why you have to wait till the checkered flag to see what happens. For all the fans that went home early when I was leading, with 20 to go, they missed a good finish, an exciting finish, with those two guys being able to battle it out on the last lap.”
 
Both Harvick and Johnson muscled their way around Busch in the closing laps to push the Joe Gibbs Racing driver from what appeared to be sure victory.
 
“You ask a little bit more from your race car at the last moments, it doesn't have anything left to give,” Busch said. “Couldn't get any more out of the car. That was it. It would push, get loose, that was all we had.”
 
The late race caution that flew when Bobby Labonte slammed the outside retaining wall after cutting a tire didn’t do Busch any favors. While some further in the field elected to pit for fresh tires, Busch and the first seven drivers in the field stayed out on the track.
 
Busch says that turn of events didn’t help his cause for finding victory lane.
 
“We got some adjustments on that one pit stop,” Busch said. “Kind of helped our car. That last one really hurt, getting everybody back to us … kind of a sitting duck. It was just a matter of time before they got there. You were hoping you could hold them off at least eight laps, nine laps, however many we had left green.”

So rather than leaving Southern California on a four-race winning streak after his Bristol sweep of a week ago, Busch was forced to deal with a disappointing ending to his west coast trip.

“It's disappointing, frustrating, kind of a letdown a little bit with the guys. They worked awfully hard today,” Busch said.

“We had such a great race car. I thought we had a really good shot at it. If the race would have went green, we had a better long run car than a short run car, I felt like.…just wasn't meant to be.”

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Kyle Busch, NASCAR Sprint Cup

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