Kyle Busch wins inaugural Kentucky race|
Sparta, KY (Sports Network) - Kyle Busch became the first Sprint Cup Series
race winner at Kentucky Speedway with an impressive performance in Saturday
night's Quaker State 400.
Busch, the pole sitter, held off David Reutimann and Jimmie Johnson in a two-
lap shootout to the finish. An incident involving Clint Bowyer with six laps
to go setup the two-lap sprint.
After the restart, Johnson challenged Busch for the lead, but Busch pulled
away and then cruised to his third Sprint Cup win of the season and the 22nd
of his career.
"This is cool, man; This is right up there with the best of them," Busch said.
"I haven't won the big one, so this is as good as it gets right now."
Busch dominated most of the 400-mile race by leading 125 laps. He took the
lead for the final time after a round of green-flag pit stops concluded with
11 laps to go.
"It was a fun night and a tough night," he said. "I thought pit strategy would
kind of go either way. There at the end, [crew chief] Dave [Rogers] made the
right call to get me the tires I wanted and the fuel that I needed. That's
what won us the race."
Busch is now one victory away from 100 wins total in all three of NASCAR
national touring series (Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Camping World Truck). He
won the truck race at Kentucky on Thursday and then finished third in Friday's
Nationwide event here.
Reutimann passed Johnson for second on the final lap. He recorded his first
top-five finish of the season.
"We really haven't done much this year to make any noise," he said. "It was a
total team effort, great pit stops and great calls by [crew chief] Rodney
Childers, but we just came up a little short at the end."
Johnson, the five-time defending series champion, wound up third. After the
race, Johnson admitted he didn't see the white flag and thought there was one
more lap remaining.
"I thought we had one more," he said. "The 00 [Reutimann] was coming and got
by me, so I was hopeful I would have a shot at fighting for second. I thought
the win was kind of gone at that point."
Ryan Newman finished fourth, followed by Carl Edwards and Matt Kenseth.
Brad Keselowski led a total of 79 laps and appeared to be Busch's biggest
challenge for the win, but Keselowski faded in the closing stages to finish
seventh. He also dealt with a faulty team radio for a majority of the race.
"I led a bunch of laps, and I'm really proud of my team for that," Keselowski
said. "I would've liked to get a better finish. We were better than we ended
David Ragan, who won his first Sprint Cup race last weekend at Daytona, Kurt
Busch and Jeff Gordon completed the top-10.
With the win, Busch took a four-point lead over Edwards.
One lap after making his final scheduled pit stop, Dale Earnhardt Jr. blew his
left-front tire, which forced the fifth caution with 14 laps left. Earnhardt
Jr., who did not change tires on his scheduled stop, fell two laps behind
before finishing 30th.
The inaugural Sprint Cup race had a sellout crowd of more than 107,000, but
major traffic issues on the roads leading into the 1.5-mile track, located
roughly 40 miles south of Cincinnati, prevented several fans from making the
Fans were still trying to get to the track halfway through the event, but
traffic personnel turned them away to create an outbound flow of traffic after
the race concluded.
Speedway officials said they will quickly address the issue in hopes of
preventing the same problems for next year's race here.
07/10 00:28:05 ET