No. 18 driver has won three straight races with three different rules packages RELATED: How 'Rowdy' can make the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup LONG POND, Pa. -- The 2015 season has been one of change for Kyle Busch , missing the first 11 races of the season with a broken leg and a broken foot and then coming back with a new crew chief, Adam Stevens, for his No. 18 ride. On Friday, the winner of the last three NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races said embracing change has been key to his success. As the Joe Gibbs Racing driver attempts to become the first driver to win four consecutive races since 2007 when Jimmie Johnson did it on the way to his second Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup championship, Busch hopes this strong streak will carry over into the fall to follow in Johnson's footsteps. "I look forward to continuing on our Chase march here and then once we get to Chicago, being able to capitalize on this hot summer to have a continuation of that into the Chase," Busch said. The driver has not only won three races in a row, but has done so with three different rules packages. His first win in the string came with the low downforce package at Kentucky Speedway, followed by a victory under 2015 rules at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. His first win at Indianapolis Motor Speedway the next week came with NASCAR's high drag package. "With the different aero packages, I actually was pretty excited about it," Busch said. "I kind of like change, and I feel like I'm the best at being able to adapt to it the fastest before crew chiefs and engineers get too much of an understanding of the basis of what they have to work on to make those packages better in order to get their drivers better, their cars better and to be able to keep up with me. I kind of like the change." Busch likes change so much that he suggested running last weekend's rules at Pocono Raceway , a track where he's winless in NASCAR's premier series. "I actually wouldn't mind if we had that high drag package here at Pocono," Busch said. "I think here would definitely be a place that you'd want to see it with these long straightaways. That would certainly make for a really interesting race." Pocono is one of only five tracks where he hasn't won a race. The other four -- Martinsville Speedway, Charlotte Motor Speedway, Kansas Speedway and Homestead-Miami Speedway -- are in the Chase, and the last three are 1.5-mile tracks, which make up half of the races in NASCAR's playoffs. When the Chase starts, Busch will have run only one points race with the 2015 package on a 1.5-mile track, Charlotte in the Coca-Cola 600 . He earned an 11th-place result behind JGR teammate and winner Carl Edwards . Busch acknowledged his lack of track time with the current package, and the driver may need to learn behind the wheel during the final 10 races of the season. "The lower downforce at Kentucky was fun," Busch said. "It's definitely a lot harder than what a lot of the other mile-and-a-halfs have been this year. I haven't run in a whole lot of them. But just from the drivers' sense of what I got, the off-throttle time was a heck of a lot more. Everybody enjoyed it a lot so I hope to continue on down that path." Although Busch's first win of 2015 came on a road course last month at Sonoma Raceway , Busch said next week's return to road racing may present the biggest obstacle over the final six races of the regular season as he needs to make and then stay in the top 30 in points to secure a playoff berth. "With Watkins Glen coming up next week, that's going to be another hard one to get through so that's going to be a tough challenge for myself in the left foot. So we'll make it, and I think we'll be OK like Sonoma ," Busch said. "It'll be sore on Monday afterwards, and we'll continue to ice it and make it feel better." Sunday's Windows 10 400 (1:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, MRN, SiriusXM) will be the first time this season Busch will run a second race at the same track. He finished ninth in June, and hopes to replace the zero in his victory column with a win based on JGR adjustments over the last six weeks. "I've never won at Pocono Raceway , and I hope that's about to change," Busch said, using the "c" word again. "We've certainly had some good runs over the years, sometimes in the spring race, sometimes in the summer race, but overall, I feel like our team's really come a long way. I like where we're going and where we're at so I just hope that we can continue that here this weekend and get ourselves a win and make it four in a row." FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Gordon comes up short in final race in home state SONOMA , Calif. -- The finality of his last race at Sonoma Raceway -- his last NASCAR event in his home state of California -- hit home for Jeff Gordon before the engine ever fired on his No. 24 Chevrolet Sunday. Pre-race commemorations and a rousing welcome from a healthy crowd in driver introductions drove the point home. During the race itself, though, the deeper personal significance was secondary to the heat of the battle and what the result meant to his final championship run. "It would've been emotional if I was over in Victory Lane," Gordon joked as Kyle Busch celebrated his first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series win of the season. "Coming into today, seeing all the 24 flags, driver introductions was kind of overwhelming and it was cool. I hadn't really thought about it since then. You get in the race and you get so focused on the race that you don't think about anything other than just trying to get the best finish that you can, but I've got a lot of friends and family out here and they're here because this is my last race here. That means a lot to me, and then a good day overall other than we didn't get a better finish." The four-time champion's Golden State swan song in Sunday's Toyota/Save Mart 350 featured a little taste of everything -- a flat tire, a pit-road penalty, a major handling adjustment and a bold strategy play from crew chief Alan Gustafson near the finish. The composite result was a 16th-place finish for Gordon, who couldn't overcome the combination of factors to make his Sonoma farewell sweeter. Gordon spent most of the 110-lap race's first half among the top five, but he pitted the No. 24 Chevy on Lap 51 as his handling began to deteriorate. As he returned to the track, his Hendrick Motorsports crew told him that the left-front tire was cut and low on air pressure. "Still something's not right, but I'll make the best of it," Gordon answered through the team radio. But the car's feel didn't drastically improve, and by Lap 76 during the race's third caution period, Gustafson took the time for an extra-long pit stop to remove the No. 24's spring rubbers to emulate the setup of Hendrick teammate Jimmie Johnson , who wound up leading the most laps Sunday. "That's the opposite of what we usually race here," Gustafson said of the altered setup. "The stuff we had unfortunately wasn't very good today and we improved it. Just part of the exercise was learning to see what we were off on. We had a flat left-front during the middle of the race which got us behind. If we wouldn't have had that, we could've executed and kept our car up front and probably got a top-10, but just rough right now. Got to fight through it." Whether it was the effect of the lengthy stop or the subsequent penalty to his team for throwing equipment over the pit wall, the visit left Gordon at the back of the pack in 26th place for the restart that followed. Gordon inched back into the top 20, but when the race's final yellow flag emerged with 11 laps remaining, Gustafson opted to keep his driver on the track to help him move up the leaderboard. Gordon lined up third for the seven-lap sprint to the finish, but wasn't able to make the gained ground pay off. He slipped to his 16th-place finishing position on well-worn tires. "I just tried to make something happen there at the end and who knows, we may have lost a spot or two because of it," Gustafson said, "but trying to make a big reward, it didn't work out that way. That's part of it. You've got to try. You can't just sit on it." The bigger reward beyond Sunday's checkered flag would be the virtually automatic berth into the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup playoffs that accompanies it. Busch was the latest to potentially punch his ticket, though he'll need to finish the regular season in the top 30 in Sprint Cup driver points to officially enter playoff contention. The turn of events left Gordon in the 14th of 16 spots on the provisional Chase gird, third-best of the five winless drivers this season who are in playoff position. With 10 races remaining before the Chase field is set, Gordon said it's too early to let scoreboard-watching or panic alter the No. 24 team's approach. "We're just trying to go out and perform the best we can every weekend," Gordon said. "I've always said, it's not about making the Chase, it's about being a factor in the Chase, and while there is meaning to being in it, we want to be more than just in it. So we've got some improving to do, we know that. We're working on it. I really thought we were going to be good today, and I don't know how good Kyle really was, but he certainly was good when it counted at the end." FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Busch brothers finish 1-2 at California road course RELATED: Full race results " Updated series standings " SHOP: Busch gear SONOMA , Calif. -- Check the box. Kyle Busch has a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victory. That simple statement hardly plumbs the depth of emotion Kyle Busch was feeling after winning Sunday's Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway . In the first-ever 1-2 finish in the series by the Busch brothers, Kyle Busch beat Kurt Busch to the finish line by .532 seconds to win for the first time since returning from an 11-race absence because of a broken right leg and left foot sustained in a Feb. 21 accident at Daytona International Speedway. "First Busch brothers 1-2, boys," Kyle Busch exulted on his radio after taking the checkered flag. "Mom and Dad should be proud." On Lap 106 of 110, Kyle Busch muscled Jimmie Johnson out of the way and took the lead on the way to his second victory at the 1.99-mile road course and the 30th of his career. Johnson had stayed out on old tires while Busch joined a parade to pit road for new rubber after the left rear wheel assembly separated from Casey Mears Chevrolet to cause the fifth and final caution of the race on Lap 99. Johnson led the field to a restart on Lap 104, but the cars with fresh tires soon asserted their superiority, with Kurt Busch , Clint Bowyer , reigning series champion Kevin Harvick and Joey Logano all following Kyle Busch in putting the six-time champion behind them. Kyle Busch restarted seventh and got past Bowyer, the eventual third-place finisher, soon thereafter in heavy traffic at the top of the hill in Turn 2. Two laps later, he passed Johnson for the lead. All told, 46 races had passed since Kyle Busch last went to Victory Lane in NASCAR's premier series, including the 11 he missed because of the Daytona injuries. Busch last won at Fontana, Calif., on Mar. 23, 2014. The victory extends his streak of winning at least one race per year to 11 years. More significant, the triumph gives Busch the first element he needs to qualify for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup . Busch also must finish in the top 30 in the series standings after 26 races in order to maintain his eligibility for NASCAR's playoff. With the win, Busch gained two positions in the standings to 37th, 136 points behind 30th-place Cole Whit with 10 races left in the regular season. "Yeah, we have our work cut out for us," he said. "We knew we did in the beginning (after returning to competition five races ago), and I knew we put us in the hole in points. It's unfortunate that we've had a couple crashes (in recent events at Dover and Michigan). "As much as I can do, that's what we're going to do. Adam Stevens, this is his first win as a Cup crew chief, so this is pretty special. My wife is here, she flew in this morning. So it's awesome to have her with us today. Brexton (Busch's newborn son) is at home, though. He didn't want to fly six hours, so we let him stay at home this time. This is so cool." Kurt Busch led a race-high 43 laps but spent too much time getting past Bowyer in the closing laps to have a realistic chance to catch his brother. But his disappointment at finishing second was trumped by empathy for the ordeal Kyle has endured this season. "It was emotional," Kurt Busch acknowledged. "I know he's been through quite a bit; to have your leg broken, your foot shattered, to never (before) be injured and out of the car ... I don't know what that feels like, but I do know that working with Tony Stewart and having him go through rehab, rehab is very difficult, and it is a mental challenge. "And I'm very proud of Kyle for what he's done to get back in the car as soon as he did get back in the car, and then to be competitive at a track with hard, hard braking and to use his left foot to drive to victory lane, I'm very proud of him." Then Kurt's competitive juices took over, and he added, tongue-in-cheek, "I just wish I could have one more lap to get to his bumper, but I think he didn't want to see an extra lap." FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
No. 83 Toyota gets into mess with a clean-up truck during caution RELATED: Full race results " Updated series standings SONOMA , Calif. -- With all the rough-and-tumble action typically associated with NASCAR competition on road courses, Sprint Cup Series drivers have come to expect at least a little beating and banging over the flow of an afternoon. On Sunday for Matt DiBenedetto , the contact at Sonoma Raceway came from a least expected source. A late-race collision with a clean-up truck on pit road looped DiBenedetto's No. 83 Toyota around during the final caution period in the Toyota/Save Mart 350, igniting a string of disbelieving communications over the BK Racing team radio. With his car righted, DiBenedetto rallied to regain seven spots he lost in the spin to secure 29th in the final order. After the race, the former NASCAR Next driver could only shrug and laugh about the turn of events. "On that last pit stop, we'd come in and it was a mess to start with, with the clean-up truck and everybody in the way, but that truck was going slow enough to where I could go around him. Then as I was going around him, he sped up," DiBenedetto said. "Got on the gas right as when I'm coming around him and cleaned us out. I guess he wasn't just paying attention or didn't see us -- not sure exactly why. I mean, it cost us quite a few spots, but then we drove back as far as we could. … It didn't really hurt us much other than maybe a spot, but definitely pretty funny. I don't think I've ever seen that before." If there was such a thing as a Hippocratic Oath among safety vehicles, the fender-bender seemed to break the bond. It was also a suitably zany capper to a road-course race that served up a little bit of everything. "Of all people to get wrecked by, no race car," DiBenedetto said. And I got dumped by a clean up truck that decided he wanted to get right in the way of our pit stops and be blind lol it was kind of funny — Matthew DiBenedetto (@mattdracing) June 29, 2015 FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Polesitter credited with leading one lap at road course RELATED: Full race results " Updated series standings Polesitter AJ Allmendinger looked to be contending for the win in the Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway when he began to feel that something was wrong with his No. 47 JTG Daugherty Racing Chevrolet. "It is what it is. We're done here," Allmendinger radioed to his crew. "We ain't gonna make it much longer." Turns out he was losing fuel pressure and was fearful the engine was going to expire. He pitted at Lap 61 and the crew lifted the hood to see what the problem was. Allmendinger went back out on track at his crew's wishes, despite wanting to take the car to the garage. Upon his return trip to the track, his car wouldn't fire as expected and 'Dinger radioed in, "I'm pitting again. I'm going to get killed out here." Allmendinger came to the garage at Lap 63 where the team swapped engines and got the car to refire, before it shut off. The team then changed the fuel cell in an effort to get back out on track and did so at Lap 76. He finished 37th and completed 98 of 110 laps. Changing the fuel cell now. pic.twitter.com/YquZCXvGAI — JTG Daugherty Racing (@NASCAR47) June 28, 2015 The California native scored his first road course win last summer at Watkins Glen to earn a spot in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup . FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Truex on Ragan: 'He's probably got one coming' RELATED: Full race results " Updated series standings Martin Truex Jr .'s run at Sonoma Raceway came to a sudden halt Sunday afternoon in the Toyota/Save Mart 350. Truex made contact with David Ragan on Lap 28 and wrecked in Turn 7, going into a tire barrier on the course. Truex went three rows deep into the tire barrier and his No. 78 Chevrolet was towed to the garage. The incident brought out the red flag as track workers repaired the fence. "Definitely a tough day," Truex Jr. said after being released from the infield care center. " ... When you start around 20th on those restarts, it's just a recipe for disaster. I was trying to be aggressive, made some moves. Had a couple cars passed and then the lane that I was in jammed up and the guys that I passed got back behind me. "You just get frustrated, you lose patience. I got into the 55's (Ragan's) door a little bit in Turn 7 and I guess he didn't like it and he figured he'd just dump me. He's probably got one coming, but other than that, it's just part of the restart deal and hate that I got my guys' car torn up." Truex finished 42nd. A winner in 2013 at the 1.99-mile road course, Truex started the race in 12th position but would finish in 42nd-place, his worst result of the season. After a top-10 effort at Michigan on June 14, he became the first driver since Richard Petty in 1969 to have 14 top-10 finishes in the first 15 races of a season. Ragan would later exit the race after wrecking with Carl Edwards on Lap 78 and finished 39th. "With Martin, he just flat-out door-slammed me and ran me completely off the race track," Ragan said after a wreck later in the race sidelined his No. 55 Toyota. "I had all four tires in the gravel and again, I'm just trying to blend back on the race track and he was right there. So Martin just made a mistake and he paid the price for it." -- NASCAR.com's Zack Albert contributed to this report FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Host Matthew Dillner takes you through the NSCS garage at Sonoma Raceway while trying to dodge birds in this edition of GarageCam.
Landon Cassill joined Chuck Bush and Matthew Dillner for a lovely picnic lunch on the hills overlooking beautiful Sonoma Raceway .
NASCAR.com's Jonathan Merryman talks with Kyle Busch after his big win at Sonoma Raceway in the Toyota/Save Mart 350.
NASCAR.com's Jonathan Merryman gives a run down of all the racing action this week at Sonoma Raceway .