Talladega: Kurt Busch race report

Busch Enjoys Remarkable Eight-Place Run at Talladega TALLADEGA, Ala. (April 25, 2010) - Kurt Busch and his Steve Addington-led Miller Lite Dodge Team made up one lap, 24 positions and a ton of precious points in the final extended laps of...

Busch Enjoys Remarkable Eight-Place Run at Talladega

TALLADEGA, Ala. (April 25, 2010) - Kurt Busch and his Steve Addington-led Miller Lite Dodge Team made up one lap, 24 positions and a ton of precious points in the final extended laps of today's Aaron's 499 at Talladega Superspeedway. Their incredible eighth-place finish under such trying circumstances moved them up to seventh in the NASCAR Sprint Cup point standings after nine races have been put into the 2010 record books. "We had a really good Miller Lite Dodge," Busch said as he walked from pit road back into the garage area after Sunday's race. "It was a very competitive car, a top-10 type car. You just hope to find yourself in good position at the end. I messed up coming off pit road (speeding on exit during green flag stop on lap 146). We were speeding, 60.55 (mph) in the last segment. So, I was off by a half-mile-an-hour on exit. We needed a yellow. We got down to the bitter end before we got in position for the 'lucky dog' and got the yellow to get back on the same lead lap. There were a bunch of wrecks at the end. We were able to escape enough of them. We had enough fuel and we came home eighth. We didn't lose any points today.

"To escape a bad situation like what we had today (damage to the right side near the door in a 10-car mishap on lap 83), we could have gotten hit four feet further back on the car and been put nose first into the outside fence," Busch added. "We didn't' get wrecked there. We didn't do ourselves any favors by speeding on pit road, but we finished eighth. These are the type of days you have to bounce back. I hope we didn't use up too much luck."

Busch started ninth in the race and worked his way up to the front to lead lap 13 and pick up the five bonus points for doing so. He would go on to lead eight laps during the early going, before things began to unravel. Busch, Addington and crew had to overcome several major hurdles en route to earning their fifth top-10 finish of the season.

Busch was a staple among the top 10 until Johnny Sauter got out of shape on lap 84 after getting bumped by Kyle Busch. Sauter's car shot back down into the right-side door of the No. 2 Penske Racing Dodge. The incident triggered the first of many multi-car accidents today in a race that also saw a series and track record 29 leaders with 88 lead changes. The team did an unbelievable job in repairing the damage done to their Dodge Charger. The incident dropped Busch back to 33rd in the running order.

After climbing back as high as 13th, Busch was slapped with a speeding penalty exiting the pits after a stop on lap 146 for four tires and fuel. The violation under the green cost Busch 19.290 seconds in distance to the leader and by lap 158, the pack had passed and put him a lap down. The Miller Lite Dodge Team was able to hang tough and chase the "lucky dog" free pass until getting it when the sixth caution flag of the race flew with six laps left in regulation play. This was for another multi-car crash that took out Jeff Burton and others.

The caution proved to be a huge boost to Busch, Addington and crew in that it not only allowed them to get back on the lead lap, it also provided the opportunity to hit pit road for four fresh Goodyear Tires and remedy a vibration that began shortly after the last pit stop.

The chain of events saw Busch line up 29th and as the last car on the lead lap for the first attempt of a green-white-checkered finish on lap 188. He had moved up to 18th when Joey Logano got into the rear of Ryan Newman's Chevy the following lap and triggered the seventh caution of the race.

Fuel became an issue for several of the competitors as the second attempt of a green-white-checkered flag finish began on lap 194. Greg Biffle had restarted second, but appeared to be running out of fuel, falling back through the pack before making contact with Jimmie Johnson to bring out the eighth caution flag of the race. Busch's move to the inside to avoid getting collected was worthy of being included in the video highlight reel from today's race.

Busch lined up 13th on the third and final attempt of the green-white-checkered finish and managed to gain five spots to finish eighth at the end. Kevin Harvick came home the winner by 0.011 seconds over Jamie McMurray with an inside move for the win at the finish line. Juan Pablo Montoya finished third, with Denny Hamlin fourth and Mark Martin fifth. David Ragan finished sixth, with Clint Bowyer seventh, Kurt Busch eighth, Kyle Busch ninth and Mike Bliss 10th. Penske Racing teammates Sam Hornish Jr. and Brad Keselowski finished 24th and 34th, respectively.

"I'm really proud of the Miller Lite Dodge team," Addington said. "They hung in there through all this mess today. I thought we were in good shape, had a good car. Kurt was kind of chillin' out riding there and the 36 got spun and hit us in the door. We had a lot to overcome today. I'm real proud of the guys and the way Kurt handled it. We got a top-10 out of it. Kurt did an awesome job, just missing Jimmie (Johnson) on that last caution. That was close. Top to bottom, the race team did an awesome job."

Busch's incredible turnaround and finish Sunday sees him move up to seventh in the Sprint Cup point standings. With 1,146 points, he now trails leader Johnson by 177 points, but he is only 17 points behind fifth-place Kyle Busch and eight points behind sixth-place Martin.

Teammate Keselowski is 26th in the standings with 853 points and Penske's Hornish is 28th with 827 points.

The NASCAR Sprint Cup tour now heads to Richmond International Raceway for another dose of short-track action.

-source: penske

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About this article
Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeff Burton , Kevin Harvick , Greg Biffle , Kurt Busch , Ryan Newman , Jimmie Johnson , Johnny Sauter , Mike Bliss , Clint Bowyer , Brad Keselowski , David Ragan , Denny Hamlin , Joey Logano , Kyle Busch , Mark Martin , Sam Hornis
Teams Team Penske