Busch Scores Career-Best Second-Place Finish at The Glen WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. (Aug. 8, 2010) - In the most solid performance of his 20 career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series road course races to date, Miller Lite Dodge driver Kurt Busch finished second...
Busch Scores Career-Best Second-Place Finish at The Glen
WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. (Aug. 8, 2010) - In the most solid performance of his 20 career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series road course races to date, Miller Lite Dodge driver Kurt Busch finished second in Sunday's Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips at the Glen at Watkins Glen International. The results lifted the 2004 series champ back up to fourth in the point standings and, with four races remaining to determine the 12 teams competing in this year's "Chase," helped solidify the "Blue Deuce" team among that group.
"It was a great run for our Miller Lite Dodge Charger," Busch said of his best career finish on a road course and his first-ever top-five finish here at The Glen. "I felt like our car got better and better as the race went on. We made a couple of adjustments as the race went on just trying to get the back end to cool down. We were sliding around a bit. To race with (Juan Pablo) Montoya and (Marcos) Ambrose, those two guys come from a different world when it comes to racing. I had a blast. Second place today and we got by Ambrose at the end. We battled hard with our Miller Lite Dodge. It feels good to do that on a road course.
"We had a hard fought battle today," added Busch, who has now posted top-five finishes on all the active tracks except Chicagoland and Kansas. "Montoya raced smart and Ambrose was there in the mix. I think where I messed up is when I let Ambrose get in behind me on the last restart. I wanted him and Montoya to battle and take each other out. That would have gotten us a great shot at the win. We were right there in the mix with our car. Steve (Addington, crew chief) made great adjustments. I thought our car got better as the race went on, just sliding the rear end a little bit; just a little too loose. It was great to race with those world-class guys today. A guy from Colombia and Australia, it's neat to see the different world's come together on a road course and see who can come out on top. We finished second. Montoya had a strong car."
Busch started Sunday's race from the fifth spot and was a fixture among the top-five for the entire race. After clearing Carl Edwards and A.J. Allmendinger during a spirited battle out of Turn 1 on a lap 30 restart, Busch ran in second or third for the remainder of the race, except for when the pit stops were cycling around. Although he never led a lap, he was closing the gap on eventual winner Montoya during the final laps. He was able to mount a final charge around Ambrose for second and closed to within 4.735 seconds of Montoya at the completion of the 90-lap battle.
"Like I said, it was a great effort," Busch told the throng of media gathered after the race. "I am real proud of the way our race went today. It didn't seem like there was one single hiccup. We had solid pit stops, solid strategy. Just the way that we came together after yesterday's practice not knowing if we had enough speed. We changed quite a few things on the Miller Lite Dodge. Steve Addington, the guys, are very smart. They're on top of their game. I really enjoyed today's race.
"It gave something to me personally to run good on a road course, but the overall team satisfaction to change as many things as we did between yesterday and today and gain some speed was super," Busch added. "To come up short just to Montoya, to beat Ambrose, racing with those two world class guys, it was fun. I learned quite a bit. There's still some room to grow on road racing.
"It feels good to bring it home in second for Miller Lite and Dodge," said Busch. "We're pulling the banner for Dodge this year. Any time we can have a close shot at victory, that's what Roger Penske always says, 'Put yourself in position to win, you'll get those.' Our spotters all the way around the race track performed great the entire race. It just feels like a perfect day other than the one guy that was a little faster than us."
Finishing behind the top-three drivers (Montoya, Busch and Ambrose) here today and completing the top-10, in order, were Allmendinger, Edwards, Jamie McMurray, Tony Stewart, Kyle Busch, Jeff Burton and Jeff Gordon. Penske Racing's Sam Hornish Jr. came home 14th, while teammate Brad Keselowski finished 20th.
Busch climbed from seventh back up to fourth in the Sprint Cup points after the runner-up finish. With 2,892 points, he trails leader Kevin Harvick by 318 points. He is 135 points behind second-place Gordon and trails third-place Burton by only three points. He has a 10-point lead over fifth-place Jimmie Johnson. After getting crashed out of last week's race at Pocono and seeing his "buffer" over 13th fall from 274 points to 192, that advantage is back up to 261 points with four races until the "Chase" field is decided.
"It was a solid finish," Busch said as he concluded his post-race press conference. "The tough part is a 33rd last week, a second today, you divide that by two, that's 17 and a half. That doesn't get it done when you're in the Chase. It does help ease the pain as far as where we are in points. We came up a bit shy of winning. When you win, you get to take those bonus points with you to the Chase.
"To come up shy of those 10 points, we can't be too upset because Montoya really had us beat today," Busch concluded. "Overall, just for us to finally put a nice exclamation point on a road course race without having anything go wrong, not running out of fuel, not having a flat tire, not getting run over by a Hendrick car, feels pretty good. All right, we're done (laughter)."
The NASCAR Sprint Cup tour now heads back to Michigan International Speedway, where Busch won the Coors Light Pole and finished third during June's first race there.
-source: penske racing