A late race call not to pit by driver Kurt Busch propelled him into victory lane at Bristol Motor Speedway. Busch's decision not to pit during stops at lap 382 angered crew chief Jimmy Fennig initially, but it turned out to be the break of the...
A late race call not to pit by driver Kurt Busch propelled him into victory lane at Bristol Motor Speedway. Busch's decision not to pit during stops at lap 382 angered crew chief Jimmy Fennig initially, but it turned out to be the break of the race for the No. 97 Roush Ford team.
"Today didn't come without adversity," Busch said. "We kept adjusting on the car, trying to free it up. We adjusted throughout the day. We were able to stay positive, and that last green flag run really helped me to see how good my car was on the long run."
Busch assumed the lead when he stayed out, and never lost it. He led the last 119 laps to earn his ninth career victory and third consecutive win at Bristol.
"This one has to be the sweetest because of what we had to overcome," said Busch. "We were junk on restarts, I couldn't get the car to handle all day."
Rusty Wallace, who hasn't won a race in his last 104 starts, finished second. It was Wallace's best finish this season.
"We didn't need those last cautions," said Wallace. "Man I wanted that bad, we were so close."
"I just got behind," continued Wallace. "We had that one run, that was like 160 laps or whatever and we just got behind. I thought I had a faster car than Busch. I really thought I had it won with three or four laps to go."
Kevin Harvick's third place result captures his third top-10 of the season.
"It was an up and down day for me," said Harvick. "We barely avoided trouble a couple of times. It was just one of those deals where you gotta take what you can take. All in all it was a good day for the GM Goodwrench Chevrolet."
Sterling Marlin secured his second top-10 of 2004, placing fourth.
"We had a heck of a car," Marlin said. "But it was just a little bit too loose all day. The pit crew had some good stops, and all the guys made the right calls in the pits and here we are."
Matt Kenseth was mired in mayhem during the final lap of the event. The No. 17 and the No. 42 of Jamie McMurray traded paint as the green/white/checkers flew, but Kenseth managed to scoot McMurray out of his way to garner the fifth position. After the end of the event, McMurray slammed into the back bumper of Kenseth turning him on pit road.
"McMurray got into me after the race was over and wrecked our car after the race," said Kenseth. "I'm not happy about that because my guys work on the car really hard. What happens under green flag conditions is one thing, but what happens after the race I think is another."
McMurray defended the spin, "You can't really get out and punch somebody in our sport. So, I just wanted him to know I was mad. This place is so easy to get mad at.Matt's not typically like that. He's a really good racer. He lost his cool today."
All-in-all there was 11 cautions for 85 laps. The last of which created a red flag condition to clean the track in an effort to finish the race under green. Dale Jarrett and Scott Wimmer collided on lap 494, bringing out the day's final caution.
The field was halted while the track was cleared of debris, when the race restarted, it set-up a two lap battle for the win between the lead cars of Busch, Wallace and Harvick. Busch nailed the restart, and Wallace and Harvick could not catch the No. 97 Ford.
As per usual after a race at Bristol, there was a long line of racers called into the trailer to speak with NASCAR officials. At the head of the line was McMurray and crew chief Donnie Wingo for the post-race contact with Kenseth.
NASCAR was also anxious to chat with the No. 8 team. Dale Earnhardt, Jr. looked poised to win, until a lug-nut issued caused the No. 8 Chevy to freefall through the field beginning at lap 417. At lap 430, the Earnhardt finally lost it and spun the No. 8.
Apparently, a discussion between Tony Eury, Sr. (crew chief) and Earnhardt over the radio about the incident propelled NASCAR to believe that they planned the spin in an effort to gain an opportunity to work on their car under yellow.
"I could have finished in the top ten," said Earnhardt. "I had one of the best cars and they decided to start blowing the track right when I had that trouble. It's not spiteful, I'm not saying, I think it's just stupid. The heck with the race track at that point, there were only thirty laps to go. What difference does it make?
"Nobody is going to get up and get a hot dog. There were thirty to go."
Tony Stewart and Scott Wimmer escaped the dreaded transporter, by taking their licks on pit road. Stewart was nailed for rough driving on lap 200, when he smashed into the No. 22 of Wimmer under caution. They were both held for one lap on pit road for the contact.
It is the fourth incident Stewart has been embroiled in over the last couple of weeks between himself and another driver on the race track.
Matt Kenseth retains the lead in championship rankings, 21 points ahead of Kurt Busch. Dale Earnhardt, Jr. tumbles to third (-41) followed by Tony Stewart (-94) and Ryan Newman (-110).