Kyle Busch had a chance to make history in the Auto Club 500, but didn't have a car capable of pulling off an unprecedented weekend sweep of three NASCAR races at the same track in the same weekend.
The winner of Saturday's Camping World Truck Series and Nationwide Series events at Auto Club Speedway, Busch simply couldn't find the speed he needed to complete the hat-trick on Sunday - although the consolation was that the Joe Gibbs Racing driver had a front-row seat for Matt Kenseth's hard-fought victory over runner-up Jeff Gordon.
“I couldn't even challenge them,” Busch admitted, “I couldn't even keep up with the #17 and the #24 on that last run. I never thought it [we had] a winning car but I felt like, if I could just bide my time right there, I could finish third.
"I was just trying to protect a third-place finish, but I had the best seat in the house for that battle - it was pretty cool to see those guys racing like that. It was a good show for the fans, the first good race they've had out here in a while. They stuck through the weather [with four cautions caused by rain], and it was cool to have them all here, being able to watch those guys - two superstars - putting on a show like that.”
Dominating victories in Saturday's Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series events meant that the 23-year old became the first driver in NASCAR history to win two national touring series races in one day, and he refused to be down-hearted after missing out on an equally-unique treble.
*When you run three races in one weekend, and the sum total of your finishing positions is five, it means your average finish was 1.6," he joked, "It was a great weekend.
“We wish we could've won the [Cup] race and pulled off the triple, but a third-place finish isn't bad at all. I was awfully proud of the team - the guys worked hard all weekend. Our Interstate Batteries Camry was decent there in the beginning, then we just kept working on it, making it better. We got up there, and that's all that matters - a couple of guys made their stuff worse.
"It was really good to end up that way and end up third. We'll take that but, man, that #17 and #24 were just so strong. It looked like our #18 and #51 yesterday. It's just a tough break, but we'll go to Vegas and hopefully have a strong run there.”