BUSCH: Right Place Right Time

Jeff Burton capped off a Las Vegas road trip with a bounty of loot. The Golden Nugget? The Mirage? MGM? No, Las Vegas Motor Speedway. But much like the ballyhooed casinos of The Strip, it required that the Skip Barber trained Burton be in the...

Jeff Burton capped off a Las Vegas road trip with a bounty of loot. The Golden Nugget? The Mirage? MGM? No, Las Vegas Motor Speedway. But much like the ballyhooed casinos of The Strip, it required that the Skip Barber trained Burton be in the right place at the right time.

The skies over the Nevada desert threatened to unleash a torrent of rain all morning long, and they held true to their promise 148 laps into the 267 lap NASCAR Winston Cup CarsDirect.com 400. Burton, who had started 11th, worked his way into the lead by lap 60. He held onto the lead through the first round of stops, only to surrender it briefly on lap 112. By lap 136, he regained it and waited for the rain. His crew was monitoring weather radar and new that the foreboding skies would let loose sooner rather than later. Over the radio, they implored Burton to be leading past the halfway mark. The rains duly came, and Burton did his part by being in the lead when the race was called.

Saturday's Sam's Town 300 Busch Series race started the right place at the right time trend. Burton had all but resigned himself to a second-place finish behind team mate Mark Martin. In the closing stages, a spin by a backmarker caused Martin to brake while leading. Burton found himself on the low inside line and was able to avoid the spinning car as well as the braking Martin. The ensuing melee brought out the yellow flag under which the race finished, and the opportunistic Burton cruised to victory

Joe Nemechek in third place and Randy Lajoie in ninth place were the other two Skip Barber trained drivers to score a top-10 finish in the Busch Series race. In the Winston Cup event, Bobby Labonte took a fifth-place finish and Nemechek again scored another top-10 finish on the weekend crossing the stripe in ninth place.

In the Winston Cup Standings, Labonte was able to consolidate his lead to top the overall leader board. The Burton brothers, Jeff in fifth place and Ward in ninth place make up the other Skip Barber alumni to be in the Top-10. The Busch Grand National leader board sees Lajoie in second place overall with Ron Hornaday behind him in third place and Jeff Burton and Nemechek sharing the ninth spot in the Top-10.

-George Tamayo

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Series NASCAR Cup , NASCAR XFINITY
Drivers Jeff Burton , Bobby Labonte , Joe Nemechek , Randy Lajoie , Ron Hornaday Jr. , Skip Barber , Mark Martin