Joe Gibbs Racing’s Kyle Busch entered Sunday’s Cheez-It 355 at The Glen as one of the overwhelming favorites to contend for the win.
The defending race winner started 17th, but had worked his way into the top 15 within the first 20 laps of the race. However, the march forward would not last for the driver of the No. 18 Toyota.
Racing hard with Brian Vickers and Carl Edwards on Lap 20, Busch got off track and out of line but was able to keep the car from sustaining further damage.
As he brought the No. 18 Toyota to pit road for the first time of the day on Lap 24, a gas can man was unable to pull the fuel can from the car before Busch pulled away. Crew chief Dave Rogers radioed Busch to stop the car so the crew member could retrieve the fuel can.
As a result, NASCAR issued a stop-and-go penalty for removing equipment from his pit box. Coming back down pit road, the crew topped off the car with fuel and sent him back on track in the 41st spot, one lap down to the race leader.
Busch’s issues were not over there, however.
Once back on track, Busch made an aggressive move to the inside of Martin Truex Jr. as the pair entered the Inner Loop. Unhappy with the contact, Truex slowed as they exited the Inner Loop as Busch drove into the back of his No. 78 Chevrolet. Expressing his frustration, Truex turned down on Busch, making significant damage to the No. 18 Toyota.
Pulling the car into the pits, the damage was too severe to fix on pit road so Busch took the car to the garage to repair a broken A-frame on Lap 25.
Sunday’s issues were the third time in the last five weeks Busch and the No. 18 has had problems. Despite having three runner-up finishes in the last six weeks, Busch wrecked at Daytona to finish 28th and had an engine issue last weekend at Pocono to finish 42.
At the halfway mark of Sunday’s race at Watkins Glen International, Busch was off the track and 42nd on the field.