Kyle Busch leads a group of cars during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series All-Star race at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 18, 2013.
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Let’s be honest here: Joe Gibbs Racing must be cursed when it comes to the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
JGR has been the dominant team in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series this year, winning five of the first 11 points races. And since 2000, the powerhouse team has captured three series championships, second only to Hendrick Motorsports in that period.
But in the Sprint All-Star Race? Bupkis.
Since 2007, JGR has had one of its drivers finish in the top five in the all-star event every year. Four times since the team began racing the Sprint Cup Series in 1992, JGR drivers have finished second in this race, and five times they’ve finished third, including Saturday night.
A victory still eludes them, though.
Most famously, while racing for the lead in 2010, JGR driver Denny Hamlin drifted up on teammate Kyle Busch, who went into the wall, causing Busch to eventually cut a tire, and crash out of the race.
“Somebody better keep me from Denny Hamlin after this race! I swear to God I’m going to kill that (expletive),” Busch shrieked after the incident. “ …I had this race won! It was won!”
This time around, it was another problem that bit them. Kyle led 29 of 90 laps and won two of the first four race segments — identical stats to big brother Kurt, FWIW — but on the last pit stop before the fifth and final segment, a slow pit stop doomed any chance Kyle had of winning.
Instead Jimmie Johnson won his record fourth Sprint All-Star Race and the JGR team was left pondering another woulda, coulda’, shoulda’ ending.
Kyle described it — correctly — as “another missed opportunity here with the best car with me behind the wheel and (we) come home without a win.”