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Kyle Busch Muscles Way To Victory At Sonoma

| , RacinToday.com Sunday, June 28 2015
Kyle Busch  is a winner again. (RacinToday/HHP file photo by Christa L Thomas)

Kyle Busch is a winner again. (RacinToday/HHP file photo by Christa L Thomas)

By Jim Pedley | Managing Editor
RacinToday.com

Guess everybody can consider Kyle Busch’s recovery from the serious leg injuries he suffered during Speedweeks in February to be complete – if not in a physical sense then certainly in a competitive sense.

sprint-logo-08Busch, who missed the first 11 Sprint Cup races of the season because of injuries sustained in the XFINITY Series, won for the first time in 2015 on Sunday and he did it on the Sonoma Raceway road course yet.

“This is awesome – it’s unbelievable,” he said.

“Yeah, it was a fun race today.  I actually had a lot of fun racing out here at Sonoma.  Normally it’s kind of a nightmare for us sometimes and this 18 team, but we had a great day today.  Coming down pit road and the cautions flying as we were on pit road twice, it certainly is so beneficial at this racetrack; it just gets you such great track position and gets you out front.  That was a huge benefit, just being able to come down when we did and to be able to have that strategy work out for us was awesome.”

Joe Gibbs, Busch’s team owner, said, “Well, I said, I think it’s a great sports story because if you think about Daytona, and for Kyle to come back from really a broken right leg and a broken left foot, the race that we were really worried about when he came back was this race because it was going to be obviously road racing.  It takes a lot of pressure on your foot.  So I think it’s a great story for us.”

The victory revives hopes that Busch and his Joe Gibbs Racing team can still earn a berth in the year-end Chase.

Busch, who suffered a broken right leg and fractured left foot suffered during the wreck at Daytona, was given a medical waiver by NASCAR to remain Chase-eligible.

The waiver dictates that Busch win at least a race and finish in the top 30 in the point standings after the final Chase qualifying race at Richmond in early September.

Can do, Busch said.

“Now I don’t have to bust my butt and overdrive the car every week in order to get wins,” he said. “Now I can just concentrate on running top-three, top-five, top-eight – just getting those finishes and points. If we can do that, the points have got to come and fall on the line. Of course, more wins would certainly help us, and that would only help our cause and allow us to get to the top-30 quicker, but we have to take it in moderation here and be smart about it. I can’t say enough about it. It’s so cool to win here in Sonoma, to win on a road course and of course to win for Toyota – their support that they pour into this race track – it’s really cool to be here.”

Finishing second Sunday was Busch’s older brother, Kurt, who drives for Stewart-Haas Racing. Third was Clint Bowyer of Michael Waltrip Racing.

Over the final couple of laps, Bowyer and Kurt Busch duked it out for second place and that, Kyle Busch said, played a part in his victory.

“And my brother, he certainly was hard on Clint and I think certainly gave me a ten lengths and then gave me another eight,” Kyle said.

“That’s really cool.  I seen him back there battling with Bowyer, and I was like, come on, man, get to second, because I knew if he got to second he might be my blocker for everybody behind me.  I figured he’d take the brunt of it; he’s got a couple wins, you know.  But I’m sure that’s not the way he thought about it.  He thought about coming up and challenging me for a win.”

And the legs? How did those feel during a race in which they get a major workout?

Oh, there was some pain, he said.

“The brake pedal was really hard; I’m a left-foot braker,” Busch said. “You know, every corner that you pretty much brake into – I said that wrong.  Getting up the hill is a little bit of brakes, but the most brakes you see is Turn 4, Turn 7, Turn 11, and you see over 1,000 pounds of brake pressure.  I don’t know what that equates to if you were doing a leg press, but it’s a lot.  The foot definitely tells me that it’s a lot.

“It got sore on Friday.  It got to about a 7 on a 1 to 10 of a pain scale, but I went home and iced it and did everything that I normally do to try to cut the pain out, and it worked.  I came back on Saturday.  I felt really good getting up in the morning on Saturday morning and qualifying; it was no issue for me.

“And then did it again last night.  Although I didn’t have any issue, I just did it again last night as a safety thing to get myself prepared, no different than any other athlete would, I think, to prepare for a game or to prepare for a race.

 “The smart thing to do, and it made it through today.  You know, that’s all that mattered.  I knew it was going to get painful and I was going to have to power through it, kind of there towards the middle end that it kind of started to cross my mind, but you know, when you’ve got fresh tires and seven laps to go and you see the checkered flag waiting for you, you know, you forget about all those things.”

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Race – Toyota/Save Mart 350

Sonoma Raceway

Sonoma, California

Sunday, June 28, 2015

 

  1. (11) Kyle Busch, Toyota, 110, $315481.
  2. (2) Kurt Busch, Chevrolet, 110, $222630.
  3. (6) Clint Bowyer, Toyota, 110, $191988.
  4. (17) Kevin Harvick, Chevrolet, 110, $183230.
  5. (19) Joey Logano, Ford, 110, $166638.
  6. (13) Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet, 110, $162406.
  7. (20) Dale Earnhardt Jr., Chevrolet, 110, $122995.
  8. (26) Kasey Kahne, Chevrolet, 110, $118895.
  9. (16) Ryan Newman, Chevrolet, 110, $135420.
  10. (24) Sam Hornish Jr., Ford, 110, $132065.
  11. (18) Jamie McMurray, Chevrolet, 110, $129976.
  12. (7) Tony Stewart, Chevrolet, 110, $126674.
  13. (32) Paul Menard, Chevrolet, 110, $106060.
  14. (25) Aric Almirola, Ford, 110, $133846.
  15. (4) Kyle Larson, Chevrolet, 110, $124618.
  16. (5) Jeff Gordon, Chevrolet, 110, $139846.
  17. (37) Austin Dillon, Chevrolet, 110, $131271.
  18. (15) Denny Hamlin, Toyota, 110, $108485.
  19. (10) Brad Keselowski, Ford, 110, $137901.
  20. (40) Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Ford, 110, $101135.
  21. (3) Matt Kenseth, Toyota, 110, $129421.
  22. (29) Cole Whitt, Ford, 110, $109493.
  23. (31) Trevor Bayne, Ford, 110, $131885.
  24. (21) Danica Patrick, Chevrolet, 110, $98160.
  25. (36) Alex Kennedy #, Chevrolet, 110, $107193.
  26. (33) Boris Said(i), Ford, 110, $99868.
  27. (22) Greg Biffle, Ford, 110, $119393.
  28. (38) Josh Wise, Chevrolet, 109, $87685.
  29. (30) Matt DiBenedetto #, Toyota, 109, $99118.
  30. (35) Justin Marks(i), Ford, 109, $88810.
  31. (41) Alex Bowman, Chevrolet, 109, $96182.
  32. (43) Jeb Burton #, Toyota, 109, $83965.
  33. (42) Michael Annett, Chevrolet, 109, $83855.
  34. (23) Michael McDowell, Ford, 109, $83720.
  35. (27) Justin Allgaier, Chevrolet, 107, $91555.
  36. (39) Landon Cassill(i), Chevrolet, 99, $83470.
  37. (1) AJ Allmendinger, Chevrolet, 98, $113795.
  38. (8) Casey Mears, Chevrolet, Rear Axle, 97, $85913.
  39. (9) David Ragan, Toyota, Accident, 78, $101064.
  40. (14) Carl Edwards, Toyota, Accident, 78, $69850.
  41. (34) JJ Yeley(i), Toyota, Accident, 71, $65850.
  42. (12) Martin Truex Jr., Chevrolet, Accident, 31, $88195.
  43. (28) David Gilliland, Ford, Accident, 20, $66350.

 

Average Speed of Race Winner:  74.774 mph.

Time of Race:  02 Hrs, 55 Mins, 39 Secs. Margin of Victory:  0.532 Seconds.

Caution Flags:  5 for 21 laps.

Lead Changes:  9 among 5 drivers.

Lap Leaders:   A. Allmendinger 0; Kurt Busch 1-22; A. Allmendinger 23; C. Bowyer 24-27; Kyle Busch 28-39; Kurt Busch 40-52; J. Johnson 53-66; Kurt Busch 67-74; J. Johnson 75-105; Kyle Busch 106-110.

Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led):  J. Johnson 2 times for 45 laps; Kurt Busch 3 times for 43 laps; Kyle Busch 2 times for 17 laps; C. Bowyer 1 time for 4 laps; A. Allmendinger 1 time for 1 lap.

Top 16 in Points: K. Harvick – 616; M. Truex Jr. – 563; J. Logano – 559; J. Johnson – 546; D. Earnhardt Jr. – 545; B. Keselowski – 505; J. Mcmurray – 497; K. Kahne – 483; M. Kenseth – 479; Kurt Busch – 469; J. Gordon – 462; P. Menard – 452; D. Hamlin – 438; R. Newman – 435; A. Almirola – 431; C. Bowyer – 430.

| , RacinToday.com Sunday, June 28 2015
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