By admin | June 17, 2012
By Richard Allen
Midway through the Quicken Loans 400 at the Michigan International Speedway, the #18 car of Kyle Busch was pushed behind the wall and to the garage area with engine troubles. It was the third week in a row for that team to suffer such a fate.
One of the crew members radioed that, “The back cylinder on the right side(of the engine) is cold.” It was eventually diagnosed that the power plant had suffered a broken rocker arm. The offending part was replaced and Busch was able to return to the race, although many laps behind.
Busch was 8th in the Sprint Cup standings after the Coca-Cola 600 in Charlotte but engine woes in Dover, Pocono and Michigan resulted in finishes of 29th, 30th and 32nd. Consequently, Busch has fallen all the way down to 12th in the points rundown.
Because Busch has a win, he currently sits in one of the wildcard positions and would be eligible for the Chase for the Championship if he were to maintain his current standing. But, of course, being outside the top-10 brings about the risk of being surpassed by other drivers outside the top-10 in win totals or in the number of points among those with the same number of wins.
After a myriad of engine issues last season, Joe Gibbs Racing opted to use power plants provided by Toyota’s TRD facility in California rather than build their own in house. Busch and his crew might not be willing to acknowledge that was the best move at this time. However, the three failures suffered by this #18 team still ranks well below the pace of failures the organization was on last season.
But improvements in the numbers of blown engines are not good enough when failures occur in succession and result in three consecutive disastrous finishes and place a driver once thought of as a certain participant in the late season playoff on unsteady ground.
Worse for JGR on Sunday, all three of their cars experienced major problems. Joey Logano was involved in a crash while Denny Hamlin had his car erupt in flames after spinning and having sheet metal ripped away.
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