A punctured right-front tire on Kyle Busch's car cost Joe Gibbs Racing its fifth NASCAR Nationwide Series win of the season at Dover, according to crew chief Jason Ratcliff.
On the last restart of Saturday's race, Joey Logano got into the back of his teammate's car as they were fighting for victory after a race-long battle for the lead.
Although initially Logano seemed to be at fault for ruining his team's race and handing victory to Brad Keselowski, Busch's crew chief Ratcliff said that his driver had reported he could feel the right-front tire was down right before the final restart.
"Kyle said he could feel the right front go down right as he was coming to the green," Ratcliff said. "He wasn't sure if it was down or not and then right as he drove off the wall he could feel it and it was too late by that time.
"If he had known it earlier we could have stopped and put right sides on. But, it was at the point of no return where you're driving off into the corner and you say 'OK, I don't have a right-front tire here.' So, he did a great job just to bring it back from that. We had a good car."
Ratcliff said Logano should not be blamed for hitting the back of Busch's car, as he had not been advised of his teammate's problem and Busch was unable to enter the turn at his usual speed, catching Logano by surprise. The 19-year-old rookie had struggled to keep up with Busch on the restarts, especially at Turn 1, and he was trying to remain in contention for victory on the last two laps of the race.
"If Kyle maybe could have caught it earlier, maybe he could have moved up and given [Logano] a lane," said Ratcliff. "I think he was already too committed to the line he had and when the right front is flat it just doesn't turn. So he was trying to back his corner up to keep from knocking the wall down and when he did, [Logano] got into him.
"It wasn't Joey's fault, it was just one of those things where everything lined up and turned into a bad deal all in a split second. If we would have known it under caution we could have stopped, but [Busch] didn't know it until it was too late. It's one of them deals. Joey did a fine job."
Three weeks ago at Darlington, Kyle Busch lost a likely victory in the Nationwide series after being forced to pit from the lead with four laps remaining due to a flat right-rear tire.