2009-11-12 / Sports

The Other Busch Wins Texas Race

By Gerald Hodges THE RACING REPORTER

Kurt Busch Kurt Busch FT. WORTH, Texa – Kyle Busch had the fastest car and the lead, but with two-laps remaining in Sunday’s Sprint Cup Dickies 500, he ran out of fuel. Brother Kurt, who was running second, assumed the lead and went on to victory lane.

Kurt had pitted two laps later than Kyle and most of the other drivers, so he still had fuel when Kyle, Dale Earnhardt Jr., David Reutimann and others ran out.

“I knew we had the fuel mileage to get to the end,” said Kurt Busch. “I was confident. I knew that Kyle couldn’t make it. We were fast and were playing cat and mouse with Kyle on the restarts.

“For us to come away with the win and knock him off his sweep, it’s bittersweet.”

It was Kurt’s first win at Texas Motor Speedway, and his second of the 2009 season.

Denny Hamlin finished second.

“We had a really good car, but we had some problems on pit road,” said Hamlin. “We just dropped so many spots on pit road that we couldn’t get near the front. I hit the wall and killed our car, but the good part about that was I was able to save fuel, and that’s what got us here.”

The top-10 finishers: 1. Kurt Busch, 2. Denny Hamlin, 3. Matt Kenseth, 4. Mark Martin, 5. Kevin Harvick, 6. Tony Stewart, 7. Clint Bowyer, 8. Greg Biffle, 9. Jeff Burton, 10. A. J. Allmendinger

Kyle Busch had won both the Camping World Truck and Nationwide Series races at TMS, and appeared to be headed for his third win of the weekend before losing fuel pressure on the track and finishing 11th.

Chase leaders Jeff Gordon and Carl Edwards were victims of a Juan Montoya mishap. Edwards hit the outside wall, and wound up with a DNF, while Gordon finished 13th.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. had a good run, before running out of fuel on the backstretch with three laps to go. His car stalled on pit road and he finished 25th.

The Championship Chase took a dramatic turn as points leader Jimmie Johnson was bumped by Sam Hornish on lap 3, and pushed into the outside wall. Johnson’s car was almost a total wreck. When his team was able to get it repaired and he returned to the track, he was 120 laps down.

“I hate that we gave up all those points, but Sam just lost it,” said Johnson. “I wish he could have waited a little longer before losing it, but that’s just the way it was.”

Johnson’s lead dropped from 181 down to just 73 points over teammate Mark Martin, with two races remaining.

Top-12 Chase Contenders: 1. Johnson-6297, 2. Martin-6224, 3. J. Gordon-6185, 4. Kurt Busch- 6126, 5. Stewart-6119, 6. Montoya 6061, 7. Biffle-6050, 8. Hamlin 5975, 9. Newman-5973, 10. Kahne-5898, 11. Edwards-5857, 12. Vickers-5777

Kyle Busch gets Texas Nationwide win

Kyle Busch scored his eighth Nationwide win of the season at Texas and increased his points lead to 272 over rival Carl Edwards with just two races remaining. All Busch needs to do is finish 15th or better next week to clinch the title.

Top-10 points leaders after 33 of 35: 1. Kyle Busch-5374, 2. Edwards 5102, 3. Keselowski-5082, 4. Leffler-4349, 5. Allgaier-3831, 6. Bliss-3818, 7. S. Wallace-3726, 8. Keller-3701, 9. Gaughan-3678, 10. Annett-3395

Hornaday to wrap up fourth truck title

Last season, Ron Hornaday battled Johnny Benson to the last lap of the last race in the Camping World Truck Series, but finished second to Benson, by seven points.

This year, it’s different. Whether for lack of competition, or the sheer strength of his Kevin Harvick Inc. team, Hornaday has run away with the title..

He has finished no worse than seventh in the standings since joining the group in 2005 and gave the organization its first title in 2007. The group has worked together to earn 19 wins during the span, and Hornaday has beand come the series-leading winner with 45 victories.

Both Hornaday and crew chief Rick Ren continually point out the Harvicks’ work ethic and their commitment to looking forward instead of backwards when it comes to making changes or recovering from a setback. They simply refuse to dwell on what might have been. Instead, they look over any mechanical failures, dismiss any incidents that were out of their control and move on to the next race.

It has clearly been a winning formula. Hornaday has 82 top- 10 finishes since joining the team, 55 of them top fives, as well as the wins.

Top-10 points leaders after 23 of 25: 1. Hornaday-3657, 2. Crafton-3460, 3. Skinner-3302, 4. Bodine-3150, 5. Braun-3089, 6. Scott-3050, 7. Sauter-3033, 8. Peters 3009, 9. Starr-2987, 10. Crawford 2928

“Danica Mani” overtakes NASCAR

The talk this past weekend in the media center at Texas Motor Speedway focused more on Danica Patrick, the open-wheel Indycar racer, than on aspects of the NASCAR Chase.

Patrick’s NASCAR future was a hot topic this week, and most Sprint Cup drivers believe her arrival would be a good thing.

Even Eddie Gossage, president of TMS, got into the discussion.

“She is a figure that has grabbed the American attention and I think she’ll be really good for NASCAR if she comes here,” said Gossage. “At the same time as an IndyCar promoter, I really hate to lose her more over there than I would like to gain her over here because she is an incredibly valuable, marketable icon for IndyCar racing.”

Dale Earnhardt Jr. and his JR Motorsports team are negotiating with her about driving a partial Nationwide Series schedule in 2010, and he believes there’s competition to land Patrick.

“We’ve been talking to her,” Earnhardt Jr. said. “Other teams are talking to her as well. She’s really serious about coming to NASCAR. A lot of people, I guess, thought that it was just a media hoax or her kind of blowing smoke.”

“She’s really serious about it, she’s going to do it with somebody. We’re working on details and trying to be part of that puzzle. We’ll know more in the future.”

Weekend racing: All three of NASCAR’s major series will be in action at the 1.0-mile Phoenix Raceway.

Friday, November 13, Camping World Lucas Oil 150, race 24 of 25; starting time: 7:30 p.m. (EDT); TV: Speed Channel.

Saturday, November 14, Nationwide Series Arizona 200, race 34 of 35; starting time: 4 p.m. (EDT); TV: ESPN2.

Sunday, November 15, Sprint Cup O’Reilly Auto Parts 500, race 35 of 36; starting time: 2:30 p.m. (EDT); TV: ABC.

Racing trivia question: Which driver has the most Sprint Cup championships?

Last week’s question: Wendell Scott, the early African-American driver, won one major NASCAR race. Where did he win it? Answer. Jacksonville, Fla., in 1963.

You may contact the Racing Reporter at: hodgesnews@earthlink.net.

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