Busch wins third of the season at World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway
By Dave Hascall
(Madison, IL) The NASCAR Cup series made a visit to Gateway, just across the Mighty Mississippi River from St. Louis. The 1.25 mile circuit shares similarities with a short track and retains a few features of longer intermediate tracks. For Kyle Busch, he excels at both and he dominated a very long day of racing. The sold-out track waited through three lengthy red-flag periods, including one for lightning in the area.
Busch, who switched to the Chevy camp, after years of chauffeuring a Toyota for Joe Gibbs, masterfully held serve over several restarts Busch set on the pole 300 mile, 240 lap race and led much of the event. Denny Hamlin took second over, Joey Logano, Kyle Larson, and Martin Truex, Jr. Busch won the first stage while Ryan Blaney held off Busch in the second stage.
The circuit has very long straightaways and that led to issues with brake rotor failures. Crew Chiefs admitted that the long straights allowed the brake rotors to rapidly cool before reaching 1,800 as drivers brake for the corners. This long cycle of quick heating and rapid cooling caused many brake rotors to fail. A broken brake rotor itself is enough to end someone’s day but the failure often causes the driver to crash into the wall. Several drivers were eliminated, including Bubba Wallace and Noah Gragson. The DNF ended a lengthy top-five streak for Wallace.
Cole Custer won Saturday’s Xfinity race with Grant Enfinger taking the checkers in the Craftsman Truck Series.