Busch gets first road course win at Infineon
Amanda Vincent is responsible for this content, which is not edited by the Wilson County News or wilsoncountynews.com.
Prior to the Toyota/Save Mart 350 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Infineon Raceway on Sunday, Kurt Busch had never won on a road course before. That didn’t keep him from dominating Sunday’s road course event to take the win -- his first ever on a road course and his first victory of the season.
“It was an unbelievable setup,” Busch said in victory lane. “That was an awesome handling Dodge.”
Busch’s No. 22 group and its Penske Racing teammates on the No. 2 car of Brad Keselowski decided prior to the race to run the event on only two pit stops. Late race cautions -- the fifth and final one of the race coming out on lap-87 -- somewhat nullified the advantage of running the race on one less stop than the rest of the field, but Busch kept to the plan, only making two pit stops the entire race.
“We just had to conserve our tires,” Busch said.
After starting 11th, Busch made his way to the front quickly, taking the lead from Denny Hamlin on lap 13. Throughout much of the rest of the early stages of the race, Hamlin stayed with Busch in the second position.
Hamlin was relegated to the back of the top-20 of the running order, though, when he chose to make a pit stop during the third caution of the race that came out for debris on lap 47. Busch, along with 13 others, elected to stay out.
After making his way back up to the ninth position, Hamlin took his No. 11 car to the garage to repair a track bar mount and took himself out of contention for the win.
Brian Vickers brought out the final caution of the day on lap 87 when, in a move of retaliation, sent the No. 14 car of Tony Stewart up onto a stack of tires that were set up as a safety barrier.
“I probably had it coming, because I dumped him first,” Stewart said. “But I dumped him because he blocked me. I’m not going to tolerate it.”
Busch and Martin Truex Jr. stayed out under the final caution to restart on the front row. With 12 other cars staying out behind them, they had enough of a buffer to not be concerned about cars on new tires making their way toward the front in the final laps.
Truex fell back on the restart, though, after he ran off the track. After the Truex error, Kasey Kahne moved up to claim the second spot. Edwards soon moved into the runner-up position with 18 laps to go and looked to be running Busch down.
Edwards was unable to catch Busch and even wound up losing the second spot to Jeff Gordon in the closing laps. Gordon finished second after running back in traffic much of the race with and ill-handling race car.
“We really missed the setup at the beginning of the race,” Gordon said. But he went on to commend his No. 24 team for making the right adjustments to make the car better throughout the race.
Edwards finished third. Clint Bowyer finished fourth, and Marcos Ambrose rounded out the top-five.