SONOMA, Calif. (June 24, 2007) -- A lap 61 skirmish with eventual race winner Juan Pablo Montoya and fuel strategy that did not play out bit Kurt Busch in Sunday's Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway, resulting in a 22nd-place finish. "Some...
SONOMA, Calif. (June 24, 2007) -- A lap 61 skirmish with eventual race winner Juan Pablo Montoya and fuel strategy that did not play out bit Kurt Busch in Sunday's Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway, resulting in a 22nd-place finish.
"Some guys could make it on two stops and some guys could make it on three," Busch said after climbing from his Miller Lite Dodge Avenger at the race's conclusion. "We were on a two-stop strategy and it ended up being three. It wasn't good for us. We could have made the car a little better. We'll come back at The Glen with a stronger Dodge Avenger. We got tagged in turn 11 by Montoya, a Formula One winner and a NASCAR winner. That doesn't happen every day."
Busch started Sunday's race in 14th, but was running in the top-10 by lap 13. Busch climbed as high as seventh in the running order during the first 50 laps. He was running ninth when Montoya clipped the right rear of his Dodge as he entered turn 11. Busch spun toward the outside wall, but did not hit anything. He fell to 23rd in the running order before he was finally able to get back running with the pack.
The original game plan was to try to make it to lap 72 before hitting pit road for the final time during the 110-lap race. After the spin put Busch behind, crew chief Pat Tryson rolled the dice and brought Busch in under the race's sixth caution on lap 58.
"Who would have ever thought that we would run the final 40 laps here today without another yellow?" asked Tryson, who made his debut Sunday as the new leader of Busch's No. 2 Penske team. "We got behind and we had to take that chance of pitting early. If we'd gotten a couple of cautions, we might could have salvaged a top-10 finish out of it. But with no yellows, we were forced to hit pit road again with a few laps left to get a splash of fuel and that put us on back there in the finishing order."
With 10 races remaining to determine who makes the 2007 "Chase for the Championship," Busch remains 16th in the NEXTEL Cup point standings with 1,644 points. He is 171 points behind Dale Earnhardt Jr., who is 12th and holds down the final Chase-eligible spot. He is 18 points behind 15th-place Mark Martin and he trails 13th-place Ryan Newman by 75 points.
The NEXTEL Cup tour now heads to the flat 1-mile New Hampshire International Speedway for next weekend's LENOX Industrial Tools 300. Next Sunday's race has a scheduled 2:30 p.m. EDT starting time with coverage by TNT and MRN Radio.