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Busch and Logano had combined to lead 99 of the 150 laps in Sunday’s Busch Light Clash and as the race drew to its conclusion, Logano led the way but Busch had closed to his rear bumper in the final 10 laps.
The crowd on hand could sense a move for the lead was coming from Busch – and potentially some contact – but with just over one lap to go, Busch got loose exiting Turn 2 as his tires wore out and he lost considerable ground to Logano.
Busch still ended up second, but he was hoping to cap a strong weekend with a win in the unique non-points season opener at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.
“I was being perfect doing everything I needed to do – keep the tires underneath me,” he said. “When I got close, I was like, ‘Okay I’ve got to try more and pounce at an opportunity’ and just overheated the tires and smoked them in three laps and that was it.
“Disappointing, obviously, come out here and win the pole, and lead laps, run up front. The finish goes green and it’s not chaotic and we can’t win, so it sucks.”
Busch was fifth-fastest in Saturday morning’s practice session but ended up the fastest qualifier in Saturday’s qualifying session, which gave him the pole in one of four heat races run on Sunday.
By winning his heat race, Busch earned the pole for the 150-lap main event.
“Felt like coming in here off of the truck we were okay. Made good speed right away,” he said. “Even in our (Joe Gibbs Racing) house, had a struggle – (Martin Truex Jr.) was way off.
“Definitely some little, little things on the set-up sheet can certainly make for a big difference on the track.”