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Kyle Busch A Sweeping Success In Texas

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Sunday, April 10 2016
Kyle Busch administered a champagne show to those in Victory Lane after winning Saturday night's Sprint Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway. (RacinToday/HHP photo by Andrew Coppley)

Kyle Busch administered a champagne show to those in Victory Lane after winning Saturday night’s Sprint Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway. (RacinToday/HHP photo by Andrew Coppley)

By John Sturbin | Senior Writer
RacinToday.com

FORT WORTH, Texas – Kyle Busch continues to lower the broom on his NASCAR peers.

Busch completed his second NASCAR sweep in as many weekends Saturday night at Texas Motor Speedway, overcoming an early pit road mishap to win the rain-delayed Sprint Cup Series marathon.

Busch, who posted a dominant victory in Friday night’s 20th annual O’Reilly Auto Parts 300 XFINITY Series event, finished 3.904-seconds ahead of Dale Earnhardt Jr. after 334 laps/501-miles around TMS’ high-banked, 1.5-mile quadoval.

The reigning Cup champion, Busch now has won the last four NASCAR touring series races in two states and as many time zones. “Rowdy” completed a similar sweep last weekend on the half-mile Martinsville Speedway in Virginia, where he won the Camping World Truck and Cup series events.

“I think the magic is Kyle Busch, but that’s just me,” Busch joked as he sat next to team-owner Joe Gibbs during a post-race news conference at 1 a.m. (CDT).  “It’s pretty darn good, I’ll tell you that. I’ve got a great wife, a great son and I’m having a blast, living the dream with (crew chief) Adam Stevens and these guys. I think it’s everything, all the pieces of the puzzle.”

Busch scored his 36th career Cup victory in 397 starts. He has finished in the top-five in six of seven Cup races this season en route to his ninth career weekend sweep _ a NASCAR record. Busch now has recorded 13 wins across NASCAR’s three national touring series in Fort Worth. Busch, 30, also swept the spring XFINITY and Cup events at TMS in 2013.

“This Interstate Batteries Camry was fast,” said Busch, who led only 34 laps Saturday night after

Kyle Busch added to his checkered flag collection Saturday night in Fort Worth. (RacinToday/HHP photo by Alan Marler)

Kyle Busch added to his checkered flag collection Saturday night in Fort Worth. (RacinToday/HHP photo by Alan Marler)

pacing 150 of 200 in Friday’s XFINITY rout. “It had really good speed in entry and the center of the corner, but we really had to work on the exit of the corner. The guys did a great job. Adam made some great adjustments all night long. I think the racetrack kept coming to us as the night progressed, too.”

The victory was a timely present for Norm Miller, chairman of Dallas-based Interstate Batteries, which is celebrating 25 years as JGR’s primary sponsor.  “I can’t say enough about Norm Miller, (CEO) Scott Miller and the whole Interstate Batteries (organization)…they’re great partners with us,” Busch said. “What better way than to celebrate 25 years of a partnership than right here in Victory Lane with them in their hometown here in Texas. That’s pretty special.”

Joey Logano of Team Penske finished third in the No. 22 Shell Pennzoil Ford Fusion. Jimmie Johnson of Hendrick Motorsports was fourth in the No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet SS, snapping his three-race Cup win streak here.  Rookie Chase Elliott, also of Hendrick Motorsports, was fifth in the No. 24 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet SS.

Busch admitted his Camry was not a match early for the Toyotas of pole-sitter and JGR teammate Carl Edwards and satellite teammate Martin Truex Jr. of Furniture Row Racing. Truex led a race-high 141 laps in his No. 78 Bass Pro Shops/TRACKER Boats Camry before fading late and finishing sixth. Edwards paced 124 laps before a late-race pit road mishap put his No. 19 Stanley Camry one lap down; he finished seventh.

“Yeah, early in the race we weren’t all that great,” Busch said. “I feel like probably until about 130 to go, I felt like we were just off a little bit. We just didn’t have it. But there was a change in the track that I felt like changed the handling of a lot of the guys around us, and you could kind of see that

Kyle Busch made his way to Victory Lane for a second straight night Saturday when he won the Sprint Cup race at TMS. (RacinToday/HHP photo by Ashley R Dickerson)

Kyle Busch made his way to Victory Lane for a second straight night Saturday when he won the Sprint Cup race at TMS. (RacinToday/HHP photo by Ashley R Dickerson)

happening, and that was when we started making our way to the front. We were mired, what, fifth-sixth most of the time and then once we passed for fourth, passed for third I just knew that we were better. When we pitted with 70 to go, we made some changes to the car and we were fast. We ran Truex back down. “

Following a rain delay of 1 hour, 50 minutes, the race started under caution. NASCAR mandated a competition caution after 29 laps to check tire wear on a green track, with Edwards leading Truex and Logano in third. Pit road was opened on Lap 30, setting off a scramble for four tires. While pit road was not as dry as the racing surface, Edwards held onto P1 upon exit.

Meanwhile, pre-race favorites Johnson and Busch were involved in a bump-and-run incident exiting pit road. Johnson sustained front end damage on his Chevy when he made contact with the right rear bumper of Busch’s Camry. Busch was forced to brake in traffic, leaving Johnson zero chance to stop.

“Getting hit by Jimmie on pit road, that was no big deal,” Busch said. “I’m just glad it didn’t cause any serious damage to either of our cars. I don’t even think we blinked an eye and fixed it, but kept digging.”

So did Earnhardt, who started 16th in search of his second career Cup win at TMS. “We had about a second or third-place car,” said Junior, who bagged his fourth top-10 result of the season in the No. 88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS fielded by Hendrick Motorsports. “Kyle put it on them at the end. He ran as hard as he could and his car was there for him.

“He wins a lot of races, yeah, two Cup races in a row. If he’s in an XFINITY race, he’s got about a 90 percent chance of winning that. The guy is good. He’s got a great team behind him and they put themselves in position at the end to challenge Martin, and Martin couldn’t hold him off. I ain’t surprised by any means, and we’ve just got to work hard to get that opportunity. We had a pretty good car, and I think better than Kyle most of the night. But in the end he had that track position that we didn’t have.”

Logano started second but never led a lap while posting his sixth top-10 finish in 16 races at TMS.

“I’m proud of what my race team did,” Logano said. “This team executed perfectly today.  We may not have had the fastest car _ we obviously didn’t have the fastest car _ but we executed into a top-three finish, and I’m very proud of my team for that.  We had great pit stops and great calls, so everything worked out well.  Everyone did their job. That’s kind of been our weak point this year is that we haven’t had the speed, but we haven’t been executing perfectly.  Now it seemed like we executed right and we’ve got to work on our speed now.”

Busch averaged 138.355 mph in an event that took 3 hours, 37 minutes, 16 seconds. Busch also exited Texas en route to Bristol Motor Speedway with a six-point lead (259-253) over Johnson in the driver point standings.

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Race

Texas Motor Speedway

Fort Worth, Texas

Saturday, April 09, 2016

  1. (15) Kyle Busch, Toyota, 334.
  2. (16) Dale Earnhardt Jr., Chevrolet, 334.
  3. (2) Joey Logano, Ford, 334.
  4. (11) Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet, 334.
  5. (4) Chase Elliott #, Chevrolet, 334.
  6. (3) Martin Truex Jr., Toyota, 334.
  7. (1) Carl Edwards, Toyota, 334.
  8. (17) Kasey Kahne, Chevrolet, 334.
  9. (21) Kurt Busch, Chevrolet, 334.
  10. (22) Kevin Harvick, Chevrolet, 334.
  11. (9) Matt Kenseth, Toyota, 334.
  12. (6) Denny Hamlin, Toyota, 334.
  13. (18) Jamie McMurray, Chevrolet, 334.
  14. (20) Kyle Larson, Chevrolet, 334.
  15. (12) Trevor Bayne, Ford, 334.
  16. (5) Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Ford, 334.
  17. (19) Ryan Newman, Chevrolet, 333.
  18. (8) Brad Keselowski, Ford, 332.
  19. (10) Austin Dillon, Chevrolet, 332.
  20. (30) Ty Dillon(i), Chevrolet, 332.
  21. (26) Danica Patrick, Chevrolet, 332.
  22. (23) AJ Allmendinger, Chevrolet, 332.
  23. (32) Casey Mears, Chevrolet, 332.
  24. (24) Aric Almirola, Ford, 331.
  25. (33) Landon Cassill, Ford, 330.
  26. (25) Paul Menard, Chevrolet, 330.
  27. (27) Brian Scott #, Ford, 330.
  28. (34) Chris Buescher #, Ford, 330.
  29. (7) * Ryan Blaney #, Ford, 330.
  30. (37) * Cole Whitt, Chevrolet, 329.
  31. (28) Regan Smith, Chevrolet, 329.
  32. (35) Michael Annett, Chevrolet, 329.
  33. (31) David Ragan, Toyota, 328.
  34. (29) Matt DiBenedetto, Toyota, 327.
  35. (38) Jeffrey Earnhardt #, Ford, 323.
  36. (40) * Reed Sorenson, Chevrolet, 315.
  37. (13) Brian Vickers, Chevrolet, Accident, 290.
  38. (36) Clint Bowyer, Chevrolet, Accident, 289.
  39. (14) Greg Biffle, Ford, Accident, 286.
  40. (39) * Josh Wise, Chevrolet, Accident, 178.

 

Average Speed of Race Winner:  138.355 mph.

Time of Race:  03 Hrs, 37 Mins, 16 Secs. Margin of Victory:  3.904 Seconds.

Caution Flags:  7 for 41 laps.

Lead Changes:  17 among 8 drivers.

Lap Leaders:   C. Edwards 1-30; D. Ragan 31; C. Edwards 32-58; M. Truex Jr. 59-72; M. Kenseth 73; C. Elliott # 74; M. Truex Jr. 75-137; C. Edwards 138-174; M. Truex Jr. 175-176; Kyle Busch 177; K. Harvick 178; C. Edwards 179-208; M. Truex Jr. 209-216; M. Kenseth 217-235; M. Truex Jr. 236-259; T. Bayne 260-271; M. Truex Jr. 272-301; Kyle Busch 302-334.

Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led):  M. Truex Jr. 6 times for 141 laps; C. Edwards 4 times for 124 laps; Kyle Busch 2 times for 34 laps; M. Kenseth 2 times for 20 laps; T. Bayne 1 time for 12 laps; D. Ragan 1 time for 1 lap; C. Elliott # 1 time for 1 lap; K. Harvick 1 time for 1 lap.

Top 16 in Points: Kyle Busch – 259; J. Johnson – 253; K. Harvick – 252; C. Edwards – 241; J. Logano – 234; D. Earnhardt Jr. – 211; Kurt Busch – 208; D. Hamlin – 201; B. Keselowski – 201; A. Dillon – 198; M. Truex Jr. – 187; M. Kenseth – 171; J. McMurray – 171; C. Elliott # – 168; A. Allmendinger – 166; K. Kahne – 161.

 

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Sunday, April 10 2016
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