WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. – If there were a ‘Driver of the Race’ award in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, it would be difficult to give it to anyone other than Chase Elliott, who held off reigning series champion Martin Truex Jr. over the final 32 laps to win Sunday’s Go Bowling at the Glen.
Kyle Busch, however, could lay his own claim, after fighting his way back to third place, overcoming a fueling snafu on pit road during his final stop-under caution on lap 56.
Busch left pit road with the lead after the stop, only to learn that his team had gotten only eight gallons of racing fuel into his tank. He returned to pit road a lap later to complete the fueling process and restarted 31st on lap 59.
By lap 66 Busch had cracked the top-ten, and throughout the closing laps, he worked his way toward the front, ultimately passing Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Erik Jones and Daniel Suarez for third place.
“Sounds familiar,” Busch said of the glitch that perhaps cost him the race. “Every year we come here, we have a fast car and fail to execute, whether that’s just called bad luck or whatever.
“Last year we had a lug nut get stuck in the caliper. This year we had fueling problems. It never ceases to amaze me. Nothing surprises me anymore.”
Busch led 31 of the 90 laps, second only to Elliott’s 52. But after the blown pit stop, Busch had to work harder fighting his way through the field than Elliott did in keeping Truex behind him.
“It was a heck of a lot harder than it should have been,” Busch said. “But that was the predicament we were put in, and we had to go work. I certainly gave (team owner) Joe (Gibbs) his money’s worth today, maybe even a couple more races.
“We had a fast race car. I can’t say enough about our guys, our shop, everybody at TRD (Toyota Racing Development) engines, everything that gave us that opportunity. We just failed to capitalize, so it’s a disappointing day, no question.”