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Kyle Busch endures mixed run in 7th following a difficult first two stages at Darlington

Kyle Busch came to Darlington Raceway with his Ernie Irvan-inspired Skittles Paint Scheme in the No.18 car from 1998.

Having started from 5th, can Kyle Busch stay in the game towards challenging a front row spot?

Let’s find out.

Race Recap

He didn’t make much progress where he’s stuck battling towards the back end of the Top 10.

The No.18 car’s track bar is a bit too high as well as a bit too high, too tight in 7th.

When he made his first green-flag pit stop on Lap 49, he hopes his next run will go better after inserting new treatment.

Likewise, his problems persisted from his previous run as it’s much looser this time around.

It allowed Kurt Busch to get by the No.18 on Lap 88 & demoted him to 9th once Stage 1 is complete.

Stage 2

He pitted again during the stage break looking for more treatment after a terrible first stage with new tires & fuel.

En route to the next restart, there’s not much progress gained for a while until he tagged the left fear quarter panel of Joey Gase and spun him out off Turn 4.

Gase’s damage may be severe & taken out off the track early.

But the No.18 only suffered little to moderate with the right front fender.

And it took a bit more time to get the diagnose the affected area fixed which saw him restart in 15th.

Again, the No.18 Toyota Camry barely made ground struggling through lapped traffic for a while.

Though, the next green flag pit stop on Lap 170 saw Kyle Busch gain some improvements as he finished 8th in Stage 2.

Stage 3

He repeated the same process as from the previous stage break for appropriate treatment before restarting in 9th.

The No.18 car had a better balance this time in 8th before adding more adjustments on his scheduled green-flag pit stop on Lap 258.

From there, Kyle Busch ran quietly for the rest of the Southern 500 problem-free before coming home in 7th.

His 2018 Season So Far.

  • 25 Starts
  • 6786 of 7029 Laps Completed, 96.5%
  • 1089 Laps Led
  • Six Wins, 24%
  • 17 Top 5, 68%
  • 20 Top 10, 80%
  • Average Start: 8.0 & Finish: 7.6
  • DNF: Two, Drivetrain (Dover) & Crash (Daytona 2).
  • He currently leads the Drivers’ Standings with 1038 Points.

Results

  • 25th, Daytona 500
  • 7th, Atlanta
  • 2nd, Las Vegas & Phoenix
  • 3rd, Fontana
  • 2nd, Martinsville
  • 1st, Texas, Bristol & Richmond
  • 13th, Talladega
  • 35th, Dover
  • 10th, Kansas
  • 1st, Charlotte
  • 3rd, Pocono
  • 4th, Michigan
  • 5th, Sonoma
  • 1st, Chicagoland
  • 33rd, Daytona 2
  • 4th, Kentucky
  • 2nd, New Hampshire
  • 1st, Pocono 2
  • 3rd, Watkins Glen & Michigan 2
  • 20th, Bristol 2
  • 7th, Darlington

Conclusion

He may be the highest Joe Gibbs finisher out of his three team-mates at Darlington.

That’s especially when the balance got better towards the 2nd half of the race without issue.

But one of the negatives is the earlier runs through Stage 1 and most of the 2nd segment.

The No.18 Toyota Camry isn’t Top 3 compatible against the faster Team Penske Fords & instead stuck in the Top 10.

When it’s too loose or tight, there’s not much you can do to stay ahead of the pack.

And the only way to help retain your spot is blocking other drivers, that’s all.

Kyle Busch may have finished 7th four times over the past 14 starts at this track.

But the bad news is that he still doesn’t have any Top 5 run in nearly a month since finishing 3rd at Michigan.

Plus he’s been winless for five weeks since the end of July at Pocono.

It’s problematic progress for Kyle Busch to see out Darlington with only an okay Top 10 finish.

What you can do to Support Kyle Busch

Make sure you stay up to date with him via the social media channels:

References

Plus, you can shop the latest Kyle Busch Fan Gear and Collectibles via the official NASCAR Shop link here.

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