March 24, 2013 on FOX
races to Weekend Double at Auto Club 400
Joe Gibbs Racing into Auto Club Speedway Winner's Circle
for the First Time
credit: Auto Club Speedway
Busch won both the Royal Purple 300 and the Auto Club
400 this weekend.
Calif. -- In an afternoon filled with breath-taking
action and heart-stopping drama on the final lap, Kyle
Busch (No. 18 Interstate Batteries Toyota) recorded his
ninth career weekend sweep of the NASCAR Sprint Cup and
Nationwide Series races and snapped a 31-race NSCS winless
streak by taking the checkered flag in Sunday’s
17th-annual Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway.
day after winning his 54th NASCAR NNS Series race in the
Royal Purple 300, Busch led most of Sunday’s race
-- 125 of the 200 laps – but regained the lead on
the final lap after Joey Logano (No. 22 AAA Southern California
Ford) and Denny Hamlin (No. 11 FedEx Express Toyota) took
each other out to secure his 25th NSCS victory and put
Toyota/Joe Gibbs Racing into Victory Lane for the first
time -- in 11 NSCS races -- at Auto Club Speedway.
a great day. It’s great to sweep the weekend,”
said Busch, who is tied with Matt Kenseth, Jim Paschal
and Joe Weatherly for 24th in all-time Sprint Cup victories.
“To finally win it, it’s been a couple years
in the making. Can’t say enough about Joe Gibbs
Racing. Being right here in California, finally we get
a home win for Toyota. Finally we get a win for Joe. Joe,
this one is for you. I drove my butt off for you.”
of the most exciting Sprint Cup races ever at Auto Club
Speedway reached its thrilling climax as Logano and pole-sitter
Hamlin went fender-to-fender for the lead over the race’s
last few laps. The drivers’ bad blood toward each
other that came out of last week’s race at Bristol
underscored the racing drama between the two.
coming out of turn three and jockeying for the lead, the
two tapped each other enough on the last lap to send Logano
into the outside wall and Hamlin skidding into a head-on
collision with the inside wall. It enabled Busch to emerge
as the leader and hold on for the checkered flag.
didn’t think that was going to happen,” Busch
said. “I don’t know what their issue is or
what their problem is. They were messing with each other
so much, I was able to inch up and get closer. When they
went to the bottom side, I said I could get through this.
They crashed each other out going for the win. Fortunately,
I was in the right spot. I drove around the outside of
them as they were crashing. (I was thinking) ‘you
ain’t gonna win, and you ain’t gonna win.’
I hope Denny’s gonna be alright.”
Hamlin was alert as he was helped out of his car, loaded
into an ambulance and airlifted to a local hospital, due
to outgoing traffic from Auto Club Speedway, for precautionary
reasons and further evaluation.
immediately after the chaotic final lap, Tony Stewart
(No. 14 Rush Truck Centers/MOBIL 1 Chevrolet) and Logano,
who placed third, were seen in an immediate post-race
altercation on pit row, with each driver being separated
by their pit crews.
out of the final restart on lap 190, Joey Logano, who
led for 41 laps of the race, blocked a hard-charging Tony
Stewart in order to protect his line, then tried to overtake
Busch on the inside. He did temporarily until Busch grabbed
it back seconds later.
racing hard, trying to win the race,” said Logano
of his cutting off of Stewart. “I wanted to block
that because I knew if he put me three-wide, that would
be the end of my race and I wouldn’t win. I was
smart enough to realize that. I understand that he’s
frustrated and he’s angry and I’ll talk to
him about that. I had to do what I had to do.”
Stewart, who finished 22nd: “Joey spun the tires
on the restart. For a guy who’s been complaining
about how everyone else is driving here, and for him to
do that, it’s a double standard. He sent Denny to
the hospital and screwed our day up. And then he threw
a water bottle at me. After he threw the water bottle
at me like a little girl, I have nothing to say to him
right now. It’s time he learned a lesson.”
Earnhardt Jr. (No. 88 National Guard Chevrolet) wound
up finishing runner-up, taking the NSCS points lead by
12 points over Brad Keselowski (No. 2 Miller Lite Ford)
and securing his fifth top-10 finish in as many races
to open the 2013 NSCS season.
race featured nine caution flags for a total of 35 laps.
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