MARTIN TAKES RICHMOND CROWN ROYAL IROC WIN RICHMOND, Va., September 8, 2005 -- Kurt Busch dominated Round Three of the Crown Royal International Race of Champions (IROC) at Richmond International Raceway on Thursday night, but it was Mark ...
MARTIN TAKES RICHMOND CROWN ROYAL IROC WIN
RICHMOND, Va., September 8, 2005 -- Kurt Busch dominated Round Three of the Crown Royal International Race of Champions (IROC) at Richmond International Raceway on Thursday night, but it was Mark Martin -- aided by three cautions in the final five laps -- that provided him with enough to edge out Busch in one of the closest finishes in the series' 115-race history.
On a restart with two laps remaining, Busch, the 2003 IROC titlist, tried valiantly to hold his Roush Racing teammate, before Martin coaxed the nose of his IROC car through the start/finish line a mere .021 seconds ahead of him. Martin's series' best 13th-career victory clinches the 2005 series points title when he starts the last race of the season at Atlanta Motor Speedway on October 29, giving him a record-breaking fifth IROC Series crown and the $1 million first-place purse.
"On the restart I was faced with nothing but go,' explained Martin. "That last lap I got a good run off of Turn 2. Kurt Busch is just an awesome guy to race with. If the start-finish line had been a foot further down, he'd have gotten me. That was really cool."
Busch, who started the night on the outside of Row Two, assumed the top spot following a restart on Lap 3 and then proceeded to lead 85 of the 90 laps (67.5 miles) on the ¾-mile D-shaped oval.
"It's something I'll remember forever, racing Mark Martin for the IROC win," said Busch. "It was one of those great battles, where I knew if I couldn't hit him, knew I couldn't touch him, and I wanted to race him clean."
Matt Kenseth, who started in the eighth position and was in the middle of the pack for much of the race, made a late charge to finish third. IRL IndyCar driver Buddy Rice turned in a strong performance and claimed fourth, followed by NASCAR Busch Series driver Martin Truex Jr.
"It was a good race, starting that far back (ninth), and to come up, that was good," said Rice. "I was just drivin' it -- it was a good time for sure."
Pole-sitter Scott Pruett rebounded from on track incidents in the first two races registering a solid sixth, followed by World of Outlaws drivers Danny Lasoski (seventh) and Steve Kinser (eighth).
Rounding out positions nine through 12 were: Max Papis, Sebastien Bourdais, Helio Castroneves, and Bobby Hamilton.