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Busch Goes Bow-less In Georgia

Jeff Hood | Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Sunday, January 31 2010
Kyle Busch celebrates in Victory Lane at Lanier National Speedway on Sunday. (RacinToday photo by Jeff Hood)

Kyle Busch celebrates in Victory Lane at Lanier National Speedway on Sunday. (RacinToday photo by Jeff Hood)

Braselton, Ga. – After dominating and winning Sunday’s SpeedFest at Lanier National Speedway, Kyle Busch committed a major blunder during his post-race celebration.

The 2009 NASCAR Nationwide Series champion grabbed the checkered flag and took his customary victory lap around the .375-mile paved oval in his No. 51 Toyota Camry.

But when his feet hit the ground in victory lane, he realized he had forgot to perform his celebratory bow in front of the crowd.

“I forgot about it, to be honest with you,” Busch said, with a slight grin. “Hopefully, we’ll be able to do it in Daytona, whether we get to do it in the truck, Nationwide or Cup race.”

For the second consecutive year, the Las Vegas native will head to the stock car portion of Speed Weeks in Daytona riding the momentum of a win in the CRA Super Late Model 250 at Lanier.

A daring, three-wide pass underneath Steven Wallace and Cale Gale entering Turn 3 propelled Busch into the lead for good with 104 laps remaining on Sunday.

“They got slowed up a little bit in the center of (Turns) 1 and 2 and I knew if I could get a good run down the backstretch and make it stick, it would be pretty cool down in the 3 and 4,” Busch said.

“I gave it a shot and the car stuck on me. So it was really good.”

Wallace, Jeff Fultz, Bubba Pollard and Drew Brannon rounded out the top five of the 31-car Super Late Model starting field.

BUSCH TROUBLE: Busch found himself in the center of controversy earlier in the day.

After leading the first 100 laps of the Pro Late Model event, Busch landed in hot water with race officials when he spun leader Casey Roderick with seven laps remaining.

Busch and Roderick, a developmental driver for Bill Elliott Racing, had dominated the event until their cars made contact entering Turn 1.

The nudge sent Roderick’s No. 19 Ford into a spin. Both drivers were ordered to drop to the rear of the field prior to the next restart.

“I guess that’s why they call him Rowdy,” said Roderick, a resident of nearby Lawrenceville, Ga. “It was just a racing deal. I’m sure he didn’t mean to do it.

“We were just racing real hard for the win inside of 10 to go. You give it the best effort you’ve got. Both of us were doing that but, unfortunately, it just didn’t end up the way we wanted it to.”

Busch later accepted responsibility for the incident.

“I got into Turn 1 looking to his outside and he stayed up a little bit on me and I didn’t check up quick enough,” Busch said. “I got into the back of him and spun him out. It was totally my fault. I didn’t mean for him to happen.

“Coming down to crunch time with seven to go, you knew you had to make a move and try to win the thing.”

Former track champion Greg Simpson won the Pro Late Model 150 after capitalizing on Busch and Roderick’s dustup.

“When I saw them getting rough up there, I just kept putting in myself to take advantage of it in case something happened,” said Simpson, the defending winner of this event.

“I was thinking they were going to wreck and I was going to win.”

Simpson outran pole sitter Dwayne Buggay to capture the victory. Lanier’s 2009 track champion, Shane Sawyer, finished third. Short track ace Jeff Fultz held off Busch for fourth. Roderick wound up sixth.

RAGAN DQ: After starting 12th, Unadilla, Ga. native David Ragan slowly began marching his way toward the front of the field during Sunday’s Pro Late Model race.

Though he never led, Ragan was flagged a respectable fourth in the No. 6 Ford Fusion he owns. But track officials disqualified his car late Sunday over a weight issue discovered in post-race tech.

Following a brief return back to his home in North Carolina, Ragan will head to Daytona for media day on Thursday. Opening practice for the Daytona 500 begins on Friday.

“I’m excited about Daytona,” Ragan said. “Our UPS team is ready. (New crew chief) Donnie Wingo has done a nice preparing everything.

“I feel like we’ve got a good Daytona 500 car. We’re happy. It’s always fun to come and race in the offseason and kind of knock the rust off and kind of get back in that racing mentality.

“I think the Daytona 500 will be big for us.”

– Jeff Hood can be reached at jhood@racintoday.com

Jeff Hood | Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Sunday, January 31 2010
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