Busch Earns Fourth-Place Finish on Monday in Texas FORT WORTH, Texas (April 19, 2010) - Miller Lite Dodge driver Kurt Busch finished fourth in today's Samsung Mobile 500 here at Texas Motor Speedway and climbed to ninth in the NASCAR Sprint Cup...
Busch Earns Fourth-Place Finish on Monday in Texas
FORT WORTH, Texas (April 19, 2010) - Miller Lite Dodge driver Kurt Busch finished fourth in today's Samsung Mobile 500 here at Texas Motor Speedway and climbed to ninth in the NASCAR Sprint Cup point standings after the Steve Addington-led team's strong effort.
"I felt like we had a nice, conservative race today," Busch said of today's battle that was postponed after rain washed out yesterday's originally scheduled event. "We put four tires on at the end and I think that was the right call for us. I don't think that we quite had the speed like we did here last fall (when he won the Dickies 500).
"I'm real happy with my guys," added Busch. "The pit stops were great. I'd be running 12th and they got me out seventh. We'll take this fourth-place finish in our Miller Lite Dodge and hopefully get back on a roll in the upcoming weeks."
Busch started today's race from the 11th spot and spent most of the race running within the top 10. The Miller Lite Dodge's handling conditions ran the gamut from too tight to too loose during the majority of the race, with Addington and crew continuously massaging their chassis with air pressure, wedge and track bar adjustments.
The "Blue Deuce" ran as far back in the pack as 20th after pitting during the third caution of the race on Lap 100. Addington's call to keep Busch out on the track 15 laps later during the fourth yellow flag period gave the team the track position they needed and it paid long-term dividends.
Busch only fell out of the top 10 during one long green-flag run for the remainder of the race. Addington was able to keep his driver out during a stretch of green-flag pit stops to officially lead Lap 287 and pick up the five-point bonus for doing so.
Jeff Gordon appeared to have the strongest car here today and looked to possibly be headed to his second straight April Texas race win until David Reutimann's blown engine brought out the sixth caution of the race on Lap 311 and put the victory in peril.
As has been the case so many times this season, strategy on pit road came into play during the closing laps in determining today's race winner. Busch, Addington and crew joined the majority of teams that went with four tires during their ensuing trip to pit road. When the field lined up for the Lap 316 restart, the first six drivers were on only fresh right-side tires on the double-file restart. Jimmie Johnson was seventh and leading the remaining drivers who had four fresh Goodyear Tires.
The action got frantic in a hurry up front, with cars running four-wide through Turns 3 and entering Turn 4. That situation proved to be too tight exiting Turn 4 with Greg Biffle on the inside, Gordon in the middle and Tony Stewart on the outside. Gordon and Stewart were trying to give each other room, but Stewart finally got out of shape and got hard into Gordon, triggering a melee that would involve a dozen cars. Busch was fortunate in just clearing the fiasco.
After a 20-minute red-flag period to clean the track, the race went back to green with 13 laps remaining. Jeff Burton led, with Denny Hamlin second, Dale Earnhardt Jr. third, Kyle Busch fourth, Johnson fifth, Matt Kenseth sixth, Kurt Busch seventh, Kasey Kahne eighth, Biffle ninth and Kevin Harvick 10th.
Hamlin had the horses to get by Burton for the lead and hang on for the remainder of the race. With nine laps to go, Hamlin led, with Kyle Busch second, Earnhardt third, Kurt Busch fourth and Burton fifth. Johnson had fallen to sixth momentarily, but staged an incredible charge back up to second in the closing laps.
At the stripe, it was Hamlin, still recuperating from knee surgery done only 19 days ago, taking the win by 0.152-seconds over Johnson. Kyle Busch finished third, with Kurt Busch fourth and Kahne fifth. Mark Martin, Harvick, Earnhardt, Martin Truex Jr. and Biffle rounded out today's top-10 finishers. Penske Racing teammate Brad Keselowski finished 14th, while teammate Sam Hornish Jr. finished 19th.
"That was a real battle out there," crew chief Addington said. "The guys did an awesome job all day. Kurt (Busch) did a great job hanging in there for us. Our car was on a knife. We'd go tight or loose on just small adjustments. That was a little frustrating. We'll figure this thing out and get it better."
After eight races have been put into the 2010 record book, the Miller Lite Dodge driver has climbed back up to ninth in the Sprint Cup point standings. With 999 points, Busch trails leader Johnson by 249 points. He is 141 points behind second-place Kenseth and only 29 points behind fifth-place Gordon.
The Sprint Cup tour now heads to Talladega Superspeedway, the massive 2.66-mile Alabama track for next weekend's second restrictor-plate race of the season.