Busch Christens Kentucky’s Victory Lane
Kyle Busch won the inaugural Sprint Cup race at Kentucky Speedway on Saturday night.
The victory in the Quaker State 400 was his third of the season. He moved into the points lead with the victory.
“This is cool,” he said. “The way we ran tonight was awesome. It was a fun night, it was a tough night.”
Busch led 125 laps.
David Reutimann was second and Jimmie Johnson was third.
“Just a little short at the end,” Reutimann, who got his second top-10 of the season, said.
Johnson, who said he thought there was one more lap left in the race, said the fastest car won.
“I think Kyle’s (Busch, race winner) car was a little bit better than us at the end,” Johnson said. “The run before that it seemed like he was just a touch better, but I was going to try as hard as I could and got a good restart, was inside of him. My car really didn’t fire off on that last set of tires like I had seen earlier in the day. So a little disappointed in that but still a great run.”
Ryan Newman finished fourth.
“It was a good restart,” Newman said. “We struggled today with the Tornados Chevrolet. Got a lap down and finally got it back. Just made the best of a good situation. We got lucky when the caution came out there and gained a lot of positions due to that. We proved that we had a decent race car, just took forever for us to get there.”
Carl Edwards was fifth and his Roush Fenway Racing teammate, Matt Kenseth, was sixth.
“I did a terrible job on the restart with Kyle,” Kenseth said. “I didn’t get my tires cleaned off and got hung three wide and lost a bunch of spots. I had a better restart the second time and got a decent finish out of it.”
Rounding out the top 10 were Brad Keselowski, David Ragan, Kurt Busch and Jeff Gordon.
“When we unload that good it seems like the weekend kind of flows a little easier,” Kyle Busch said. “There was still some tough competition with Jimmie (Johnson) and Brad (Keselowski). There at the end I wasn’t sure how it was going to play out on the restarts. Earlier in the race, Brad and I and Jimmie were kind of duking it out back and forth a little bit. Had some good racing going on. We were kind of slipping and sliding. Made for interesting moments, but we prevailed and got to victory lane.”
Busch started the race from the pole but was passed the first lap by his brother Kurt Busch.
The elder Busch held the lead until NASCAR called for a mandatory competition caution on lap 30.
Kurt Busch lost the lead in the pits as he ran into traffic coming out of his stall. Taking the lead to green was Kyle Busch. Kurt was third.
Busch quickly began building on his lead and on lap 36, it reached 3 seconds over brother Kurt.
It would eventually stretch beyond 6 seconds as not even two cycles of green flag stops could slow Busch.
A caution flag, did, however. Busch lost the lead when Brad Keselowski and Tony Stewart did not stop during caution at lap 140.
Busch regained the lead when Keselowski finally slowed to pit out of sequence on lap 186.
Eight laps later, Busch pitted under green. That put Denny Hamlin and several other out of sequence cars in front of Busch.
On lap 200, Jamie McMurray smoked an engine and all pit strategies for the final laps of the race were smoked as well.
When the race went green on lap 205, Keselowski had the lead and Kyle Busch was second.
Keselowski capitalized on a bad restart by Busch and quickly built a large lead.
The final green flag stops began with about 35 laps to go. Busch pitted with 29 to go and Keselowski with 28.
As pitting cycled through – with all but Reutimann having pitted – a caution came out with 14 laps to go after Dale Earnhardt Jr. blew a tire.
Busch stayed out and had the lead. Kenseth restarted second, Reutimann was third and Johnson fourth.
The green fell with eight to go and only seven drivers on the lead lap. Busch had a great restart, as did Johnson, who had pitted for tires and who jumped to second.
Two laps later, another caution flag waved when Clint Bowyer crashed.
That set up a green/white/checkered restart. Busch got a good restart and got the victory.
“Did Jimmie and them come get tires on that one restart? I knew he had fresher rubber than I did for a restart,” Busch said. “I tried to do the best I could at being able to get a good restart, but I overshot my acceleration just by a little bit and spun my tires a fuzz. That allowed him to get a little bit of momentum on me. He got a good start. We had to race down into turn one side-by-side rather than me getting a jump on him.
“I was just hoping that the outside lane would prevail, I could get a run through there, carry my momentum and clear him down the backstretch, race him into turn three. It was certainly a tense moment there for a second. But, after I took the white, I saw the 00 (David Reutimann) coming on the 48 (Jimmie Johnson) and getting there to make a move on him. I was like, ‘C’mon, Reuty. If you start racing him and hold him up, that’s going to help me.’ I cannot just cruise through turns three and four but concentrate on hitting my marks rather than seeing if somebody would get in my mirror. It was awesome also to have a Camry come home 1-2 – home state of where the Camry is built.”No Comment