Busch, Team Lowe’s 17th at Pike’s Peak
- Jul 31, 2004
FOUNTAIN, Colo. (July 31, 2004) – While pit strategy worked in the favor of several teams in Saturday’s NASCAR Busch Series event at Pike’s Peak International Raceway, it proved costly for Kyle Busch and the No. 5 team.
Busch and his Team Lowe’s Racing crew were among a handful of teams who chose not to take on new tires around Lap 80 of the 250-lap event, with the goal being to have a fresh set of tires for the closing stages.
But a tight-handling condition on the Lowe’s/Shop-Vac Chevrolet caused Busch to go two laps down to the race leaders, a deficit he and his Hendrick Motorsports crew were unable to make up. Busch was credited with a 17th-place finish on the day.
“We were on the same pit strategy as (race winner Greg Biffle), so it was definitely the right call,” Busch said. “It just didn’t work out for us like it did some of the other teams.
“The car just wasn’t handling good enough to stay ahead of the leaders on older tires, and it put us too far behind to be a threat.”
While some might call it a gamble to not take on new tires early in the event, crew chief Lance McGrew believes the opposite is true.
NASCAR allows each team just three sets of new tires that can be changed during caution periods in a race, which meant the teams that changed tires early on had no tires remaining at the end, when new tires matter most.
“I really think that what everyone else did was the gamble,” McGrew said. “To limit yourself to one set of tires for the last 170-something laps, to me that’s the gamble part of it.
“What we did was the safe way, but our car just wasn’t good enough to do it.”
The No. 5 Team Lowe’s Racing crew now head to Indianapolis Raceway Park, where the team won last season with driver Brian Vickers.
The 200-lap NASCAR Busch Series event with air live from IRP on TNT and MRN Radio affiliates Saturday, Aug. 7 at 8 p.m. ET.