Kurt Busch Finishes A Strong Sixth At New Hampshire LOUDON, N.H. (Sept. 14, 2008) - Miller Lite Dodge driver Kurt Busch started 20th and finished a strong sixth in today's Sylvania 300 here at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, using the strong...
Kurt Busch Finishes A Strong Sixth At New Hampshire
LOUDON, N.H. (Sept. 14, 2008) - Miller Lite Dodge driver Kurt Busch started 20th and finished a strong sixth in today's Sylvania 300 here at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, using the strong effort to advance to 18th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup point standings.
"It was a good run for the Miller Lite Dodge, "said Busch, who also finished in the top 10 last Sunday at Richmond, Va. "We felt like we had something good from last week and we tried it again this week. It (the car) ran better. We're still struggling at the end of the race keeping up with the race track. I don't think it's anybody's fault. We just have to work on something different, but what we've been having lately, it felt good the last two weeks."
The day began under questionable racing conditions, with rain showers hitting the one-mile oval in the early hours of the morning and continuing until just before 11 a.m. The track crew did a superb job in getting the surface dry enough to race only a few minutes later than scheduled.
Busch showed potential from the drop of the green flag. After starting on the outside of the 10th row, he was up to 12th when NASCAR officials threw a "competition yellow" on Lap 35. Busch's Pat Tryson-led crew decided to go with right-side tires only during their Lap 37 pit stop under the caution. The 8.624-second stop vaulted Busch up to fifth for the Lap 40 restart.
The No. 2 "Blue Deuce" Dodge would remain a staple among the top-10 competitors for the remainder of the race. Numerous air pressure, track bar and wedge adjustments were made during the 300-lap battle, but most were for subtle changes trying to loosen up the chassis as the laps wound down.
"It wasn't too bad a day for our Miller Lite Dodge," Tryson said of the team's seventh top-10 finish of the season. "We started out really good early in the race, but once the track rubbered-up, we got a little bit too tight. We tried to free the car up a bit, but just not quite enough. Overall, it wasn't a bad day. We just need to keep on building on the two top-10s we've had in a row.
"Hey, we were first in our class," Tryson added with a broad smile. "We were the highest-finishing 'non-Chaser' and the highest-finishing Dodge here today and that's not too bad."
Up front, the race turned into a showdown between Chase drivers Jimmie Johnson in a Chevrolet and Greg Biffle in a Ford. Johnson appeared to have the upper hand over the final 100 laps, but the eighth caution of the race on Lap 284 set up a 13-lap das to the finish, Biffle was able to get under Johnson for the lead with 11 laps to go and held on for a 0.505-second victory over the two-time and defending series champion.
Carl Edwards finished third, with Jeff Burton fourth and Dale Earnhardt Jr. fifth. Busch, Martin Truex Jr., Tony Stewart, Denny Hamlin and Kevin Harvick rounded out today's top-10 finishers. There were 21 cars on the lead lap at the checkered flag. Penske Racing teammates Sam Hornish Jr. and Ryan Newman finished 30th and 36th, respectively. Hornish was running two laps down at the finish, while Newman was credited with completing 285 of the 300 laps.
Busch climbed to 18th in the point standings after 27 races have been put into the 2008 record book. With 2,772 points, he is 405 points behind 13th-place Kasey Kahne, 182 points behind 15th-place Truex and 136 points behind Newman, who holds down the 17th spot with 2,908 points. Hornish is currently 35th in driver points with 2,015 points.
Kyle Busch had mechanical problems early in today's race, relegating him to a 34th-place finish and dropping him from first to eighth in the Chase for the championship, with nine races now remaining to determine the title-holder.
Edwards and Johnson are currently tied for the lead with 5,220 points, Biffle is up to third with 5,190 points, while Earnhardt and Burton are tied for fourth with 5,170 points.
The NASCAR Sprint Cup tour now heads back to the "Monster Mile," Dover International Speedway, for the 28th of 36 points-paying races on the 2008 schedule.