Kyle Busch was running third just past the halfway mark in Saturday's VFW 200 at Michigan International Speedway, when a piece of side window off another truck pierced its way through the front of his Toyota and punctured a hole in the radiator. Busch, who appeared to have a formidable shot at putting his Traxxas Tundra in Victory Lane for the fifth time in as many races with the Plano, Texas-based company's logo on the hood of his No. 18, was forced to retire from the race and was credited with a disappointing 25th-place finish.
"We had such a great Traxxas Tundra today," said Busch, who had finished in the top 10 in each of the last 21 NCWTS races he entered. "We were running third, biding our time and seeing if there was going to be a late yellow to come out to get ourselves track position. Somebody's side window went through our lower radiator duct and went through the radiator and knocked a hole in it. I saw it when I ran it over. I didn't know what it was. But, I watched my gauges and everything, and none of the gauges did anything. I didn't think that there would be a problem and then all of the sudden it started missing. By that point, you're running on a steam machine, so you're done - it's over. I just hate it for all these guys. This will really hurt us in the points."
Harvick's win, combined with Busch's misfortune, helped KHI's No. 2 Chevrolet erase KBM's 27-point lead in the NCWTS Owners' Point Standings, leaving the two teams tied as the series heads to Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway.
After starting the race from the 13th position, Busch maneuvered his way up to the fifth spot when the second caution of the race occurred on lap 14. Believing that the 100-lap race was destined to be decided by a battle of fuel mileage, crew chief Eric Phillips ordered the No. 18 Traxxas Tundra down pit road where the KBM crew administered a fuel-only stop.
Busch restarted the race from the 16th position, but was able to make a strong run on the top line of the race track and catapulted into the fifth position by the time the field got back to the start-finish line. By lap 29, the Las Vegas native was in the runner-up spot and took the lead for the first time at lap 41, when Austin Dillon made a scheduled pit stop under green-flag conditions.
The No. 18 paced the field until Busch brought his Tundra to pit road for his regularly-scheduled four-tire stop under green-flag conditions at lap 48. When pit stops cycled through on lap 57, the No. 18 Traxxas Tundra was scored in the third position - trailing only race-leader Mark Martin and Dillon.
Around lap 60, Busch communicated to the team that he had run over some kind of debris. Shortly after, the engine began to skip and the water pressure plummeted, forcing him to bring his Toyota into the garage after completing just 63 laps.
"I kept an eye on the gauges to make sure nothing like that was happening and it snuck up on us," said a dejected Busch about the debris. "It just happened. The water pressure gauge didn't do anything until the motor started missing and by that time it was too late. Water temp didn't change. I hate it for all the guys and Traxxas, Dollar General, M&M's, Flexco - everybody that supports us. It's going to hurt us in the owner's championship. I just hate it for all our guys. We really worked hard and thought we had a good truck and thought we were going to have a decent day out of it. We were just waiting for this caution to come out and get our track position back to see if the changes we made were better, because it seemed like our truck was better."
In winning Saturday's VFW 200, Harvick picked up back-to-back NCWTS victories and became the first driver to win in all three of NASCAR's national series (NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, NASCAR Nationwide Series and NCWTS) at Michigan International Speedway.