Just when Kyle Busch thought his week couldn’t get any worse, he blew his second engine of the weekend at Phoenix International Raceway on Sunday, putting an end to a Hollywood comeback from a disastrous nine days of controversy.
Busch had come close to losing his job with the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota team on Thursday after NASCAR had banned him from racing in the Nationwide and Sprint Cup events at Texas last weekend for his punting of Ron Hornaday Jr. into the wall during the Camping World Truck Series race.
Then came sponsor Mars candy bars’ decision Friday to withdraw their multi-million-dollar support for Busch at PIR and next week in the season finale at Homestead Miami Speedway.
And after blowing one engine during practice, which put him at the back of the grid on Sunday, Busch had driven brilliantly all the way from 43rd to third on Lap 188 of the 312-lap race and looked to put all the turmoil behind him.
But without warning, the new engine in the JGR Toyota died.
“There was no indication, just a catastrophic failure,” Busch said.
Busch had thought that a win at PIR would have erased a lot of the bad feelings that had built up over the past nine days in the aftermath of his Texas troubles.
“It’s just devastating,” he said. “To go through the turmoil like this; all you can do is group together and pull through it.”
The 26-year-old from Las Vegas still has one race left to get to victory lane and hopefully signal that he has learned from his mistake.
“It’s certainly been a tough few weeks and all we can do is look forward to next week at Homestead,” Busch said. “It’s the season finale and it’s a great opportunity for us to go out there and win a race in the final outing and get ready to build up for 2012.”