BROOKLYN, Mich. (Aug. 21, 2007) -- Kurt Busch and his Pat Tryson-led Miller Lite Dodge team laid low in the trenches at Michigan International Speedway during two days of inclement weather, but when it came time to hit the battlefield on Tuesday,...
BROOKLYN, Mich. (Aug. 21, 2007) -- Kurt Busch and his Pat Tryson-led Miller Lite Dodge team laid low in the trenches at Michigan International Speedway during two days of inclement weather, but when it came time to hit the battlefield on Tuesday, no team could deny them their second win of the 2007 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup season.
Busch, Tryson and the No.2 Penske Dodge emerged with a 0.496-second victory over Martin Truex Jr. when the checkered flag fell in overtime at the 2-mile track on Tuesday afternoon.
"First, I want to thank all the race fans who showed up here today," Busch said immediately after climbing from his winning PSC-111 Dodge Charger. "It is absolutely a statement as to how strong our sport is to have these many thousands of fans up there in the stands on a Tuesday afternoon. Thank you so much."
With his 17th career victory, Busch extended his Chase-eligible points lead over Dale Earnhardt Jr. in 13th to 163 points.
"This was an unbelievable performance for my Pat Tryson-led Miller Lite Dodge team and they deserve the credit," Busch said. "We started 15th and felt we had a very strong car from the very beginning. The way the race started, with the fog, the red flag and all, we just held our own until things started sorting out.
"After the competition yellow, we began to feel things out and figured we had a pretty competitive car. We were a tick on the tight side at the beginning, but Pat suggested playing around with the air pressures and that was just what we needed.
"I can't say enough about the great work Pat did on the box and the guys did on pit road here today. We either gained spots or held our own during every pit stop and Pat said our guys were consistently churning out 12.5 and so [12.5-second] stops all day long and you can't ask for better than that."
Dense fog saw Tuesday's race again hampered by the elements. The scheduled 10 a.m. Tuesday start turned into a 10:10 a.m. green/yellow start and the field was brought to a complete stop on lap 9 only 15 minutes later.
The fog lifted enough for adequate vision by the officials and spotters at 10:50 a.m. The engines were re-fired, the cars sent back onto the track, and they finally received the clear green signal at 11:02 a.m. on lap 13.
A spin involving Juan Pablo Montoya and Chad McCumbee on lap 14 brought out the second of eight yellow flags on lap 14.
Busch fell back as far as 16th prior to the lap 31 competition yellow and the ensuing pit stop. After pitting on lap 32 for four tires, air pressure [-1 lb. LR] and wedge [-1/2 round] adjustments, the No. 2 car was 13th on the lap 35 restart.
After the pit stop under the competition yellow, Busch displayed race-winning etiquette that was beyond comparison. After climbing into the top-10 on lap 39, it was only a matter of time before Busch powered his way into fifth on lap 55.
"That thing looks so sweet off of turn 2," spotter Jesse Walker radioed on lap 58.
"That's our big money spot," Busch shot back.
Busch had made it up to second when he had to pit under green on lap 71. The stops cycled around on lap 74, with Matt Kenseth leading and Busch running second.
Mark Martin's oil-leaking engine brought out the race's fourth yellow on lap 88 and Busch lined up behind Kenseth again for the lap 93 restart. Only 11 laps later, it was Busch and Kenseth battling for the lead, with Busch gaining the lead again on lap 108.
Busch would go on to lead four times for 92 laps [most laps led] en route to an overtime [green/white/checker] win by 0.496 second over runner-up Martin Truex Jr.
With Dale Earnhardt Jr. finishing 12th and Penske Racing teammate Ryan Newman 16th, Busch took control of the 12th...and final...Chase eligible points position by 163 over Earnhardt Jr. [13th] and 171 over Newman [14th] with three races remaining to determine the 2007 Chase players.