Kyle Busch, in the No. 18 Toyota, got his third victory of the season in strong fashion Saturday night at Darlington Raceway. Busch also set a new record, becoming the youngest winner in Darlington Raceway history, at the age of 23. Busch, who had...
Kyle Busch, in the No. 18 Toyota, got his third victory of the season in strong fashion Saturday night at Darlington Raceway. Busch also set a new record, becoming the youngest winner in Darlington Raceway history, at the age of 23. Busch, who had contact with the wall many times throughout the night stretched out his points lead over second place to 79 points and continues to be the car to beat in the Cup garage.
"Fortunately for me, I've got a great race team with Joe Gibbs Racing and of course Toyota Motors, all these guys, Steve Addington, Chris, Geoff Price, everybody else, Wesley, all the guys on the team that do such a great job in putting these things together every week," said Busch.
"They build them as strong as they can for me because I like to knock the walls down with 'em. Fortunately for me I had one of those good pieces tonight. We were able to come through for a win," he added.
Even though Busch continues to dominate, there is no love lost between himself and how he feels about NASCAR fans. "I'm here to race. I'm here to win. If I win, just makes 'em more upset and crying on their way home." It appears that maybe Busch is getting used to his new role in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series after last week's run-in with Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Carl Edwards and the No. 99 Ford put on an impressive show as the team battled all the way from 36th to finish second Saturday night. Although Edwards hasn't been as noisy off the track as Ky. Busch, he has been as strong on the track, and is tied with Ky. Busch now for the most wins in the series this year, with three. Edwards though, made up three positions in the driver standings, now sitting seventh, and continues to keep the pressure on for victories.
"I mean, first of all, I'm definitely disappointed to finish second; not win the thing. But our whole crew did a great job. We were 43rd on the sheet when we came here first practice. I was down in the dumps. I was feeling terrible. I didn't like the new surface and I was frustrated," said Edwards. " To come out of here with a second place finish... I mean, Kyle had the fastest car. I mean, he was pretty unbeatable tonight. To finish second, beat the rest of the field, that's pretty good from where we came from, coming here."
Although his season has been somewhat mediocre, Jeff Gordon picked it up a notch and brought the No. 24 Chevrolet home in the third position, moving up to tenth in the driver standings in the process. "You know, we've been doing everything we can, testing, trying to figure it out with all the tools that we have at Hendrick Motorsports. You know, we're definitely still missing a little something that we're going to keep working on."
Gordon added, "I can tell you one thing: it wasn't aerodynamics tonight 'cause Kyle hit the wall. I can't tell you how many times he tried to give this race away by slamming the wall. His right side was destroyed. So I know it wasn't aerodynamics tonight." It was another solid night at Darlington for Gordon, as his worst finish in the last four events here is third.
Earnhardt Jr. continued to show strength in his No. 88 Chevy as he brought home another top-five at Darlington finishing fourth. "Well, we had a real good car all weekend and when the race started, I knew we weren't exactly like we had been," he said.
"Tony (Eury) Jr. just told me right after the race we changed a lower A-frame, and that might have changed how the car rolled over and traveled and stuff. We were off a little bit all night, weren't really that good," Earnhardt Jr. added.
Although Earnhardt Jr. was quick in practice and had a top-five car, he wasn't too happy with his result due to circumstances. "Track position was everything, you could not pass, period. That's the worst I've ever seen it, as far as trying to be able to pass, I gotta hand it to my team, they worked hard, we worked hard, finished top-five, pretty happy with that." Earnhardt Jr. remained third in the driver standings following Darlington.
Rounding out the top-five was the No. 6 Ford of David Ragan, who earned his second top-five in the past three races. Ragan put on a solid drive from 15th and with his fifth place finish, vaulted two positions in the driver standings to 12th place overall.
Sixth was the No. 17 of Matt Kenseth as the team and Kenseth both look to make a late season charge back to the top-12 before New Hampshire. Kenseth currently sits 20th overall in the driver standings.
Denny Hamlin rebounded after spinning his No. 11 off the front end of Martin Truex Jr. early in the race. With his seventh place finish, Hamlin jumped two spots in the driver standings to sit fourth overall now.
Behind him was the No. 28 of Travis Kvapil who continues to show promise and put together strong runs in his car with limited funding. Kvapil has been having a great season and is currently 18th in the driver standings.
Ninth was the No. 22 Toyota of Dave Blaney who desperately needed a good points finish. Blaney and the No. 22 team were only 71 points behind 35th in the Owner Standings and with Sam Hornish Jr. and the No. 77 team finished 38th, Blaney was able to lock his car and team back into the top-35.
Finishing in the tenth position was the No. 31 of Jeff Burton who continued his streak of being the only driver in the Cup series this year to complete every lap. Burton lost points to Ky. Busch in the driver standings but still sits second, only 79 behind Busch.
Eleventh was the No. 26 of Jamie McMurray who has been struggling all season and tonight, he got a good finish.
Another car that was needing a good finish and found it was the No. 2 of Kurt Busch who brought his car home 12th. Busch was also the highest finishing Dodge of the day.
Defending Cup champion Jimmie Johnson finished a quiet 13th after starting 3rd and after having an early incident with Hamlin and in the closing laps, the race long alternator problem saw him drop further down the leaderboard.
Martin Truex Jr. rallied to finish 14th. Clint Bowyer broke his streak of top-ten's but still had a solid finish in 15th after starting 38th.
Part-time driver Mark Martin brought the No. 8 Chevy home in 16th. Scott Riggs put together a great run for the No. 66 team and finished 17th.
Bobby Labonte was 18th, David Reutimann 19th, and David Gilliland was 20th after making hard contact with the wall during the race.
Tony Stewart rebounded to finish 21st, two laps down, after being involved in an incident with the No. 19 of Elliott Sadler on lap two.
Michael McDowell in the No. 00 Toyota was the highest finishing rookie in 28th and sub driver Sterling Marlin, for Dario Franchitti, finished a disappointing 34th after starting 14th in the No. 40 Dodge.
After leading 85 laps, the No. 16 of Greg Biffle suffered an engine failure and was relegated to a last place finish of 43rd at Darlington.
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series now heads to Lowe's Motor Speedway for a the All-Star Weekend.