Kurt Busch Earns First Career Road Course Win in a Temper Filled Race

June 26, 2011 1 Comment

Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR

Kurt Busch earned his first win of the 2011 season on Sunday in a wreck filled, 110 lap race at the winding track in Sonoma, California. Busch started in the 11th position and wasted no time pushing his Dodge Charger to the front, taking the lead on lap 13, immediately silencing anyone questioning his chances at a win.

“It was an unbelievable setup. Once we got into the groove with this car, it seemed to get better after lap five or six. Our cars have never done that before,” said Busch. “I’m real proud of this Dodge team, everybody from Shell and Pennzoil. I’m so proud of these guys for really stepping up after what we’ve been through. Man, we’ve been on a high these last few weeks.”

Busch’s crew chief Steve Addington, who was Kyle Busch’s crew chief when he swept both road courses in 2008, took a gamble with pit strategy and decided to make only two-pit stops throughout the 350 mile race. Addington’s decision and the smart driving by Busch resulted in complete dominance.

“We had a goal and our fuel strategy from practice gave us the calculations we needed; it showed that we could make it on two stops,” said Busch. “We just had to conserve our rear tires. That was the main thought. Once we had enough fuel to make it, I started to pick up my pace. I didn’t want guys to think they had a shot at us and I was able to stretch it out.”

Busch went on to lead 76 laps to earn his first career road course win. Jeff Gordon – five-time winner at Infineon Raceway – crossed the finish line 2.685 seconds behind Busch to earn a second place finish.

Carl Edwards finished in the third position, stretching his points lead over Kevin Harvick by 25. Clint Bowyer and Marcos Ambrose finished in fourth and fifth, respectively. Joey Logano, Jimmie Johnson, Martin Truex Jr., Kevin Harvick and Brad Keselowski rounded out the top 10.

A wreck on lap 37 brought out the second caution of the day and collected seven drivers. Tony Stewart drove Brian Vickers into turn 11 and turned him, causing major damage to Vicker’s Toyota. Dale Earnhardt Jr. was also collected in the wreck, putting a hole in the radiator of the No. 88 Chevy. Earnhardt Jr. was forced to take his car to the garage, resulting in a DNF and a 41st place finish.

“They had a big ole mess getting into (turn) 11 and we jumped in there and got part of it and banged up the nose a little bit,” said Earnhardt Jr. “It knocked a hole in the radiator and it ended up hurting the engine a little bit so I think the engine is done. It has a hole in the side of it so that usually isn’t good.”

Vickers returned to the track and eventually returned the favor to Stewart on lap 87, sending him directly into the turn 11 wall, ending Stewart’s day. Both drivers finished outside of the top 35, with Vickers in 36th and Stewart in 39th.

Road course expert Juan Pablo Montoya came to pit road late in the race for fuel and four tires, putting him back in the field. Montoya began working his way through the field, making good use of his fresh tires. Montoya advanced to the sixth position, seeking the fifth position held by Kasey Kahne. Montoya drove into the side of Kahne’s Toyota, sending him spinning.

“Montoya just drove through me at the top of the hill, that’s just obvious,” Kahne said. “Last year when their (the Earnhardt Ganassi Racing) cars were really, really good and Jamie McMurray was the man, Juan still couldn’t win a race. That shows about what he can do here in NASCAR anyways.”

Kahne wasn’t the only enemy Montoya made on Sunday. Montoya was battling Keselowski for fifth position with seven laps to go. After Montoya made the pass, Keselowski hooked him in the rear, sending him spinning into the dirt.

Keselowski spoke with the media afterwards about the incident and Montoya’s aggressive driving.

“I don’t take any pride in all that stuff, but at some point, you’ve got to run your own deal,” he said. “It was pretty obvious that it was eat or be eaten, and I wasn’t going to be eaten.”

Here are the complete results from Sunday’s Toyota/ Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway:
1. Kurt Busch
2. Jeff Gordon
3. Carl Edwards
4. Clint Bowyer
5. Marcos Ambrose
6. Joey Logano
7. Jimmie Johnson
8. Martin Truex Jr.
9. Kevin Harvick
10. Brad Keselowski
11. Kyle Busch
12. David Gilliland
13. A.J. Allmendinger
14. Matt Kenseth
15. Jamie McMurray
16. Regan Smith
17. Paul Menard
18. Robby Gordon
19. Mark Martin
20. Kasey Kahne
21. Jeff Burton
22. Juan Pablo Montoya
23. Greg Biffle
24. David Reutimann
25. Ryan Newman
26. Andy Pilgrim
27. Chirs Cook
28. Boris Said
29. David Ragan
30. Michael McDowell
31. Dave Blaney
32. Terry Labonte
33. Brian Simo
34. Casey Mears
35. Andy Lally
36. Brian Vickers
37. Denny Hamlin
38. Bobby Labonte
39. Tony Stewart
40. Joe Nemechek
41. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
42. Mike Skinner
43. P.J. Jones

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One Comments to “Kurt Busch Earns First Career Road Course Win in a Temper Filled Race”
  1. Numero Juan says:

    An idiot is defined as someone who acts in a self-defeating or significantly counterproductive way.

    Stewartidice is defined as an idiot who punts a driver who is trying to avoid another car, and in the process takes out innocent drivers. They can usually be identified by their extreme lack of remorse and a big number 14 on the side of their car.

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