Long day at the track for Busch
By Tina Akouris firstname.lastname@example.org July 22, 2012 7:50PM
Danica Patrick (7) during qualifying for the STP 300 hosted at Chicagoland Speedway on Sunday. | Paul Bergstrom ~ For Sun-Times Media
Updated: August 24, 2012 6:08AM
Kyle Busch was the only NASCAR Sprint Cup regular to drive in Sunday’s Nationwide series STP 300 at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet. But Busch, driving for his Kyle Busch Motorsports team, might have wished he stayed home.
Busch started fourth, but struggled all day with his No. 54 Monster Energy Toyota and was clearly upset when he communicated with his crew on the radio. Although he ran in the top 10 for most of the race, Busch got into an accident with Brendan Gaughan and ended his day 27th and eight laps down.
Sam Hornish Jr. clipped Busch’s left rear bumper with about seven laps to go. Busch, riding the inside line, then T-boned Gaughan into the wall and destroyed Gaughan’s No. 33 Chevrolet.
Busch’s crew tried to repair his car on pit road, but took it to the garage instead. Busch declined comment.
Busch also served a pass-through penalty early on for exiting pit road too quickly.
Comedy of errors
Gaughan ended his day with an accident and he didn’t start his day any better, either. Gaughan whacked the wall during his qualifying run Sunday morning and only did some cosmetic damage. Gaughan, who finished second to James Buescher in Saturday’s Camping World Truck Series race, had another miscue when he ran over the commitment cone at the entrance to pit road on lap 50.
Richard Childress Racing’s Austin Dillon was the highest finishing rookie in sixth place. Dillon started second behind pole sitter Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Dillon pointed to the weather as a factor in how his No. 3 Chevrolet finished, since the race started with a light drizzle and ended with bright sunshine and heat.
“I had a top three car, but this just hurts a little bit,” Dillon said. “We set up our cars for the sun and it didn’t happen until way late in the race. When you set up your car for something like today and get in traffic, it’s very tough.”
Dillon is 11 points behind Nationwide series leader Elliott Sadler.
NASCAR announced a fan initiative Friday, where fans can interact with the 12 Chase for the Sprint Cup contenders Sept. 12 at the House of Blues. In conjunction with the event, NASCAR announced the “Contenders Live” sweepstakes where fans could win a 2012 Toyota Camry, among other prizes. Fans can go to
ContendersLive and register. The deadline is Aug. 30 at 2 p.m.
Roscoe, Ill. native Danica Patrick almost finished a lap down, but rallied to end the race as the last car on the lead lap. Patrick finished 14th out of 43 cars.