After struggling through most of this season, Kurt Busch feels like he was finally in the right place at the right time. Busch took advantage of a fuel strategy call in the pits and some help from Mother Nature to win the rain-shortened Lenox ...
After struggling through most of this season, Kurt Busch feels like he was finally in the right place at the right time.
Busch took advantage of a fuel strategy call in the pits and some help from Mother Nature to win the rain-shortened Lenox Industrial Tools 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Sunday.
Busch was on a different pit strategy than most of the leaders and was able to stay out on the race track during a caution with 25 laps to go. He paced the next 10 laps before rain hit. NASCAR brought the cars to pit road but after a brief delay called the race.
It was Busch's first win of the season.
"Sometimes it's better to be lucky than good," said Busch, who started 26th. "It's been raining all weekend and we saw the forecast. We were more on a fuel strategy and trying to save some fuel. We might not be the fastest car and maybe we didn't deserve to win but the record books will show we won."
Busch was inside the top 20 for most of the day but didn't challenge for the lead until the late-race caution.
"That's what racing is all about," Busch said. "Sometimes it's strategy instead of speed."
The late-race caution helped a couple of other drivers that have struggled this season. Michael Waltrip was on the same strategy as Busch and finished second. It was only top 10 finish of the season so far while J.J. Yeley finished third for his only top-10 finish this year.
Martin Truex Jr. finished fourth and Elliott Sadler rounded out the top five with his best finish of the year.
Casey Mears enjoyed a competitive day. He started 24th but worked his way through the field during the first half of the race and took the lead for the first time this season on lap 88. He paced 53 laps and finished seventh.
Tony Stewart jumped from his 28th place starting position to lead a race-high 132 laps. Stewart, who was looking for his first Sprint Cup Series win since Watkins Glen last August, pitted under a late caution and couldn't make up the track position that it cost him. He came home with a disappointing 21st place finish.
"It's just been the oddest year I've seen with this race team," Stewart said. "It's disappointing for all of us. It's just frustrating but there is nothing you can do."
Jimmie Johnson started 23rd but quickly got inside the top 10. He was challenging Stewart for the lead before the late caution came out and slipped back to a ninth place finish.
Points leader Kyle Busch started 27th and was on the lead lap when he was spun by Juan Montoya just after the field took the caution on lap 279. He finished 24th and his lead over Jeff Burton slipped to 67 points.
"I don't know what his beef is, but NASCAR should probably fix it," Busch said about the contact with Montoya. "I knew it was going to be a miserable day and just tried to make the most of it."
Rookie Patrick Carpentier became the first Canadian in more than 50 years to win a Sprint Cup Series pole. He led four laps before dropping back in the field and finished 32nd.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jamie McMurray got together coming onto pit road and brought out the caution on lap 271. Earnhardt dropped to the apron to come onto pit road when McMurray barrelled into the back of his car. David Ragan was also caught up in the wreck.