Kurt Busch helped by rain in needed victory
Kurt Busch recorded his first victory of the season on Sunday when NASCAR called the race early due to rain.
A caution on lap 271 pitted race leaders Tony Stewart, Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson while Busch and crew chief Pat Tryson decided to stay on the track during what would turn out to be the final pit stop of the day.
Busch’s No. 2 car was in the lead when rain hit the speedway on lap 284, forcing NASCAR to red flag the race. After a 15 minute wait, the race was called and Busch was handed his 18th career victory.
"Sometimes it's better to be lucky than good," Busch said. "We were on more of a fuel strategy. We might not have been the fastest car but the record books will show that we won."
While the downpour on Sunday gave Busch’s season a desperately needed boost, the rain continued past Kansas Speedway winner Tony Stewart’s streak of bad luck. The No. 20 car dominated most of the race, leading 132 laps before rain and late race pit strategy spiraled Stewart to a 13th-place finish.
"It has been just the oddest year I have ever seen for this race team," said Stewart. “It's just frustrating. If there was something we could do about it, we'd change it."
Stewart is no stranger to having a possible victory taken away by the rain. Just nine months earlier at Kansas Speedway, the No. 20 car was in position to take the trophy when bad weather brought out a red flag. The race restarted after a long delay, but Stewart crashed.
Busch and Stewart will return to Kansas Speedway on September 28 in the third race in the Chase for the Sprint Cup. According to
“Now that the upper groove has really taken full shape at Kansas Speedway, you can race in the low groove, you can race in the middle, or even up high to keep your momentum built around the outside of the racetrack,” Busch said.” The drivers love the track because of the banking. It’s not a low-bank track and it’s not an extreme high-bank track. It’s a challenging intermediate course that’s not like any other track.”
Catch Busch, Stewart and NASCAR’s other top drivers when they compete in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Kansas 400 (Sept. 28, 2008) and the NASCAR Nationwide Series Kansas Lottery 300 (Sept. 27, 2008).
Kansas Speedway tickets are on sale now and can be purchased by calling 866.460.RACE or logging onto kansasspeedway.com. Parking is always free at Kansas Speedway and fans can bring in one 6x6x12-inch soft-sided cooler with their favorite food and beverage.
To see what Kurt Busch has to say about racing at Kansas Speedway this year, click here. Look under “News” and “Multimedia” for more video.