BUSCH: McMurray grabs PIR victory

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BUSCH: McMurray grabs PIR victory

Jamie McMurray had a mirror full of Kyle Busch as the Bashas' Supermarkets 200 came to a close at Phoenix International Raceway. But in the end McMurray held off the young Busch to grab Ganassi Racing's first victory in the series. It was...

Jamie McMurray had a mirror full of Kyle Busch as the Bashas' Supermarkets 200 came to a close at Phoenix International Raceway. But in the end McMurray held off the young Busch to grab Ganassi Racing's first victory in the series. It was McMurray sixth career series win.

Victory lane: more wet celebrations for Jamie McMurray.
Photo by Kurt Dahlstrom.
"It's always been a fun racetrack for me," said McMurray. "But we've never been able to put together the finish before. The car was great and the pit crew did a really great job. When the caution came out with fifty two go, I felt really good about it."

Busch led the most laps, but in the end just didn't have enough to challenge McMurray for the lead and had to settle for his second consecutive second place finish. Busch was mightily displeased with his run, ignoring television post race and showing up late for the second place press conference in the infield media center, and apparently taking time to complain to the Busch competition director.

"It was an overall good day for us," said Busch. "Nothing much more to say that the driver came up short today two weeks in a row, it's just a shame. My car was just too tight behind him, we were just short today.

"To be in position the last two races and not win, just brings me shame," continued a clearly dejected and emotional Busch. "I just wasn't as good as I needed to be, I just can't see why I couldn't hold off the No. 41."

Martin Truex, Jr. ran in the top ten most of the day, but came alive with twenty laps to go, bringing home a third place result. The good finish allowed Truex to lose only 15 to Busch in the championship. Truex has led series standings for 17 consecutive weeks.

"Just a great day for us," said Truex. "We were back to 12th or 13th at one point and for us to battle back and pass all those cars and finish third is a great accomplishment for us.

"Hopefully, we will clinch the title at Darlington; it would be really cool to wrap it up there."

Robby Gordon and Greg Biffle complete the top five.

"Our Charter car was really good," said Biffle. "The guys did a good job in the pits. We suffered a little bit on the last pit stop, we lost three spots and it put us back to sixth or seventh and we had to fight back to get our spots back."

Busch brought the field to the green flag for the Bashas' Supermarkets 200 at Phoenix International Raceway but it didn't take long for the yellow flag to fly. At lap three, the yellow was displayed slowing the field due to debris on the racetrack.

Busch remained the leader at the restart on lap nine and led through the second yellow flying for Mike McLaughlin tagging the wall at lap 33. The caution brought the leaders down pit road for service but Busch managed to clip off the fastest stop retaining his spot at the front of the field at the restart on lap 39.

Busch led through two more cautions, but at lap 82 the No. 41 Dodge of Jamie McMurray began tailing Busch's back bumper in pursuit of the lead. The two fought door-to-door until lap 85 when McMurray finally wheeled past the No. 5 Chevy for the lead.

McMurray held the lead until lap 99 when the day's fifth yellow unfurled bringing the leaders in for service stops. Busch beat McMurray off pit road once again gaining the lead of the event with McMurray close behind.

McMurray finally motored past Busch on lap 131 but a caution for debris at lap 148 knocked McMurray back to third. Kenny Wallace took two tires which earned him the lead of the event with Busch in second.

The two tires weren't enough against four fresh rubbers and Busch easily sailed past Wallace with 47 laps to go. McMurray also passed Wallace to regain his spot stalking the rear bumper of Busch.

Busch, however, began to experience a vibration on lap 164. Busch feared a loose tire, but his crew was confident that they secured all the lug nuts and advised him to ride it out as the race closed within 34 circuits of completion.

The field was once again slowed by Johnny Sauter losing an engine at lap 167. On the restart with 25 laps to go, Busch led but McMurray got a better restart and easily took the lead.

But McMurray would not have the lead long.

In the next turn, Busch reclaimed the lead. With 14 to go, as Busch and McMurray fought for the lead the No. 72 lapped machine of John Graham made contact with McMurray almost taking out the leaders. McMurray narrowly escaped disaster as Graham spun.

"The 72 was kinda in the way all day," said McMurray. "I asked repeatedly if he was going the minimum speed. We must have passed him four times today."

It was a sprint to the finish as the green flag waved with eight laps to go as McMurray caught Busch for the lead. It was the McMurray-Busch show in the final minutes but the cautions just kept coming.

At lap 196, Shane Hmiel, Stacy Compton, Tim Fedewa and Michael Waltrip got together causing the third green/white/checker finish for the Busch series.

McMurray led on the restart with two laps to go, and held off the hard- charging Chevy of Busch to secure his second win of the season in his 100th Busch series start.

Truex continues to lead the Busch series standings by a healthy 161 point margin over Busch, who is the only contender left in the title chase. Greg Biffle (-483), Ron Hornaday (-840) and David Green (-896) complete the top five.

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