August 21, 2011 on ESPN
Busch wins Pure Michigan 400
credit: Michigan International Speedway
Mich. -- NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Kyle
Busch really wanted a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victory
at Michigan International Speedway.
six years racing on the circuit and 13 Sprint Cup Series
race starts in the Irish Hills, Busch finally got his
wish by taking the checkered flag for the Pure Michigan
400 on Sunday.
Busch responded as if at a loss for words. “Certainly
it feels good to win here at Michigan. We’ve been
trying so hard to do it. Our teammate (Denny Hamlin) has
been able to do it but we haven’t.”
had a comfortable lead after pulling away from Jimmie
Johnson with three laps remaining, however, a late-race
caution caused a green-white-checker finish after his
brother, Kurt, hit the wall.
had to sweat the double-file green-white-checker restart
with five-time Sprint Cup champion Johnson next to him.
Lurking directly behind them were Brad Keselowski and
the only thing to increase in temperature was Busch’s
somewhat overheating engine. He kept his cool, held off
Johnson and registered his fourth victory of the season
and first at MIS. It was also his 23rd triumph in 245
Sprint Cup starts, helping him clinch at least one of
the two wild card spots for the Chase for the Sprint Cup
was the third win in the last four races at MIS for Joe
Gibbs Racing, with Hamlin capturing the last two June
Sprint Cup races.
Busch decided to take the outside starting position on
the final restart.
figured I’d run the top side and keep my momentum
running through turns one and two,” Busch explained.
“When we got down in there and were running side
by side, Jimmie had to pinch his car down a little bit
and that certainly doesn’t help.”
margin of victory over Johnson was just over one-half
second. The win kept Johnson out of Gatorade Victory Lane
at MIS, a track he has yet to win at in 20 career Sprint
Cup starts here.
got away from Kyle toward the end of the race but my car
was sliding pretty much and I knew my rear tires weren’t
going to last long enough with about 24 laps left,”
Johnson explained. “Eventually he got up to me.
On the last restart I had a shot again starting right
next to him but I couldn’t make it happen on the
bottom through turns one and two and I just brought it
home from there. All in all it was a very strong performance
for us and a very big day for the confidence of the team
and myself to really recover from a slow start and turn
like Johnson, had problems early in the race but finally
got things sorted out enough to become a solid contender,
wish I had something more for the 48 (Johnson) and the
18 (Kyle Busch) at the end, but I was just really watching
and hoping someone would make a mistake.” said Keselowski,
from nearby Rochester Hills, Mich. “I couldn’t
do anything on my own merit.”
Traditionally, MIS is the site for the first drivers to
clinch a spot in the 12-driver Chase field. But with three
races remaining before the 10-race Chase, Kyle Busch was
the only driver to gain a spot in the field today.
jumped to second in the points standings behind Busch
with Kevin Harvick third and Carl Edwards fourth, falling
from second with a problem-plagued 36th-place finish.
Jeff Gordon moved up from seventh to sixth with his sixth-place
finish. Ryan Newman also gained a spot, up to seventh,
while Kurt Busch, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., and Tony Stewart
retained their Top-10 status, respectively.
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