Busch Gets Back To His Winning Ways
After finishes of 43rd and 13th the last two races, some wondered if Kyle Busch's early season run was over. Some wondered if this was the start of a slump that hits many drivers during any given season. Some wondered if Kyle and his team had lost their edge. That wondering continued after qualifying 30th this weekend. So much for all that. Kyle Busch got back on track Sunday, winning the Dodge/Save Mart 350 at the Infineon Raceway. It was his fifth win of the season. Busch, by a wide margin, led the most laps (77 of the 112) and stretched his lead in the points standings to 103 over Jeff Burton, who finished 13th.
The race had six cautions for 14 laps. Three of those six cautions occurred after the 100th lap. Because of the late cautions, the race went to a Green-White-Checker finish for the fifth time this season. The biggest incident occurred in one of those late cautions. On lap 106, as Tony Stewart and Jamie McMurray were fighting for position, Kevin Harvick got loose, hitting McMurray and causing a multi-car incident. Other than the cautions, there were several cars that found themselves off course, which is typical of road course racing in NASCAR.
The surprise finish of the day came from David Gilliland. After starting 31st, Gilliland had a career best second place finish. After struggling in mid-pack for most of the day, Jeff Gordon rallied to finish third, moving three spots to sixth in the points standings. Clint Bowyer finished fourth with Casey Mears right behind in fifth. For Mears, it might be a very important finish, considering there are now rumors popping up about his future with Hendrick Motorsports.
Defending race winner Juan Pablo Montoya finished sixth with Ryan Newman in seventh. Roush-Fenway teammates Matt Kenseth and Carl Edwards finished in eighth and ninth respectively. Despite his late race run-ins, Tony Stewart rallied from a 39th place start to finish tenth.
Other notable finishes were Greg Biffle in 11th, Dale Earnhardt Jr. in 12th, Jimmie Johnson in 15th, Jamie McMurray in 18th, Denny Hamlin in 27th, Kevin Harvick in 30th, and Kasey Kahne (who sat on the pole) in 33rd.
There were the usual "Road Course Ringers" in Sunday's race. Usually, they are right there at the top of the race results. This was not one of those days. Of those ringers, Ron Fellows had the best finish in 29th. Of the others, Max Papis finished in 35th, Scott Pruett 37th, and Boris Said back in 41st.
There was one driver making his first start in the Sprint Cup Series, Marcos Ambrose, who was in the running late in the race. Driving the Wood Brothers #21, he was as high as second in the race's late stages. Some late race troubles, however, ended his possible bid to pull the shocking upset. He wound up finishing 42nd.
Before the start of the race, NASCAR paid tribute to a fellow racer. NHRA champion driver Scott Kalitta was killed when his car crashed in a qualifying run for this weekend's event for that racing division. To honor Kalitta, a moment of silence was observed before Sunday's race at Infineon.
For the coming weekend, the Craftsman Truck Series will race Saturday at Memphis Motorsports Park for the O'Reilly 200. The Nationwide Series will also race Saturday. They will be at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway for the Camping World 200. New Hampshire will be the site for Sunday's Sprint Cup Series Lenox Industrial Tools 301.