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Kurt Busch wins Coca Cola 600

by Pete McCole
Monday, May 31, 2010

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Kurt Busch celebrates his 2nd straight win in two weeks at Charlotte
Rhonda McCole/AR1.com
Kurt Busch took his million dollar payday from his last week’s all star race victory, let it ride, and cashed in with his first career Charlotte Motor Speedway victory in Sunday night’s Coca Cola 600.

In a familiar sight, it was cars owned by famed Indianapolis 500 veterans Roger Penske and Chip Ganassi duking it out for a Sprint Cup victory just hours after the two owners battled for supremacy in the Indianapolis 500.

While Ganassi’s driver Dario Franchitti took the honors at Indy, in was Penske’s car in Victory Lane at Charlotte.

Busch beat out a hard-charging Jamie McMurray to chalk up his second win of the season and the 22nd of his career, becoming the seventh driver to pull off the two week sweep.

“Roger, this one is for you,” said Kurt Busch in a salute to his venerable car owner. “I thought about that Ganassi car behind me. He hasn’t going to get by me.

“This has been a dream come true, to be able to wrap up this special weekend, to put a bow on it with this Coca-Cola 600 win. It's a prestigious race, a tough race, and most of all it's a team race. This was a race for the ages too.  Things fell into our hands, especially at the end.”

Kyle Busch came home third, followed by Mark Martin and David Reutimann.

Kurt Busch dominated the race, leading 252 of the 400 laps, taking the lead from Jeff Gordon on a restart following the final round of pit stops on lap 378 and holding off McMurray over the final 19 laps.

“McMurray kept us honest,” said Kurt Busch. “He was right there at the end. It wasn't like we faded back into the pack; he just separated himself from the pack to come and get us. He taught me a couple things about my line. I needed to adjust it. It helped us stay out in front of him at the end.”

Both drivers had big incentives to give their car owner’s a Coca Cola 600 victory.

For McMurray, it was a run at history – no car owner had ever won both Indy and Charlotte in the same day. For Busch, it was to give redemption to Penske, who saw all three of his drivers stumble in the Indy 500 earlier in the day.

“I'm happy to race for him and bring him home wins, especially on a day like today when he didn't get it at Indy and we beat a Ganassi car today to win it,” said Kurt Busch. “That's something special. To do it for Roger, to beat Ganassi, that's what it's all about.”

McMurray was in Kurt Busch’s mirror all night, swapping the lead at least four times through the last half of the race.

McMurray was leading as the field came to pit road during the eighth and final caution with 22 laps to go, but ended up coming out third behind Kurt Busch and Matt Kenseth.

On the restart, Kurt Busch quickly blasted past Jeff Gordon – who did not pit – while McMurray came around the outside of Gordon to take second.

From there, the race as on, with McMurray slowly chipping away at Kurt Busch’s lead.

McMurray began to close the gap in the final laps, but ran out of time as Kurt Busch crossed the finish line by .737 seconds.

It was McMurray’s second runner-up finish in the last three races and his best finish at Charlotte since winning his first career Sprint Cup victory in just his second start back in October of 2003.

“It's unfortunate that the caution came out,” said McMurray. “The car had so much speed in it that I was only having to drive about 90%, I was still able to run a 10th and a half or so quicker. The car just had really good speed in it tonight.

“I knew whoever came out ahead on that last pit stop between Kurt and I, if somebody didn't screw up, that would be the race winner. It would take me too many laps to run Kurt down. You get within 10 or 12 car lengths, you stall out. I just didn't have enough time in the end.

For Kyle Busch, it was another night filled with fireworks, and not the ones in Victory Lane.

One week after tangling with teammate Denny Hamlin in the All Star race and trading barbs in the media all week, Busch looked to repeat his come-from-behind performance in Saturday’s Nationwide Series race, rebounding from a pit road collision and a speeding penalty to put himself in contention for the win late in the race.

On the final restart, Kyle Busch came flying through the field with a three-wide maneuver resulted in contact with Jeff Burton, sending Burton to the pits with a cut tire.

After the checkered flag, Burton came to Kyle Busch’s car to make his displeasure with Kyle Busch’s aggressive driving known.

“Kyle (Busch) made it three-wide on the restart because the guys on the bottom didn’t have the tires and he’s trying to make something happen, which I don’t have a problem with,” Burton said later. “So he runs into me and cuts my tire down, then I have a problem with it.

“He’s real aggressive, that’s cool. But when he starts affecting me with his aggressiveness, I just will not put up with it. I’ve been around here long enough. I just will not tolerate it.”

Kyle, for his part, had his own take on who was to blame for the three-wide scrum.

“After the race (Burton) was just real mad at me,” said Busch. “He said I didn't race him with enough respect, if I'm not going to give him respect, he's not going to show me any.

“I said, Look, man, last restart of the race. You have to go, make some bold moves. It wasn't me that made it three-wide - it was your teammate (Clint Bowyer). Have a chat with him. I would be more than happy to sit with Jeff Burton and talk with him about it and for him to point out on a replay to me.”

Defending series champion Jimmie Johnson continued to struggle after posting two DNF’s in the last five races.

Johnson, a perennial favorite at Charlotte, pounded the wall on lap 274 and spent over 50 laps in the garage getting repaired, ending up finishing 37th. 

Results

FIN

ST CAR DRIVER MAKE SPONSOR PTS/BNS LAPS STATUS
1 2 2 Kurt Busch Dodge Miller Lite / Vortex 195/10 400 Running
2 27 1 Jamie McMurray Chevrolet Bass Pro Shops / Tracker 175/5 400 Running
3 9 18 Kyle Busch Toyota M&M's Pretzel 170/5 400 Running
4 11 5 Mark Martin Chevrolet Carquest / GoDaddy.com 160/0 400 Running
5 6 00 David Reutimann Toyota Aaron's Dream Machine / Armed Forces Foundation 160/5 400 Running
6 15 24 Jeff Gordon Chevrolet DuPont Stars & Stripes 155/5 400 Running
7 10 33 Clint Bowyer Chevrolet Cheerios / Hamburger Helper 151/5 400 Running
8 33 98 Paul Menard Ford Serta / Menards 142/0 400 Running
9 1 39 Ryan Newman Chevrolet U.S. Army 143/5 400 Running
10 16 17 Matt Kenseth Ford Jeremiah Weed Southern Style Sweet Tea Vodka 139/5 400 Running
11 23 29 Kevin Harvick Chevrolet Shell / Pennzoil 130/0 400 Running
12 4 9 Kasey Kahne Ford Budweiser Armed Forces Tribute 127/0 400 Running
13 8 20 Joey Logano Toyota The Home Depot 129/5 400 Running
14 18 43 A.J. Allmendinger Ford Best Buy Credit Card 121/0 400 Running
15 26 14 Tony Stewart Chevrolet Office Depot / Old Spice 123/5 400 Running
16 31 99 Carl Edwards Ford Scotts GrubEx 115/0 400 Running
17 14 77 Sam Hornish Jr. Dodge Mobil 1 112/0 400 Running
18 7 11 Denny Hamlin Toyota FedEx Office 114/5 400 Running
19 32 78 Regan Smith Chevrolet Furniture Row Companies 106/0 400 Running
20 37 12 Brad Keselowski Dodge Penske Racing 108/5 400 Running
21 39 19 Elliott Sadler Ford U.S. Air Force 100/0 400 Running
22 24 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Chevrolet National Guard Honoring Our Soldiers / Amp Energy 102/5 400 Running
23 3 56 Martin Truex Jr. Toyota NAPA Batteries 99/5 400 Running
24 35 6 David Ragan Ford UPS 96/5 400 Running
25 12 31 Jeff Burton Chevrolet Caterpillar 88/0 400 Running
26 28 37 David Gilliland Ford Taco Bell 90/5 398 Running
27 25 21 Bill Elliott Ford Motorcraft / Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center 82/0 397 Running
28 41 38 Travis Kvapil Ford Long John Silver's Baja Fish Tacos 79/0 397 Running
29 13 83 Casey Mears Toyota Red Bull 76/0 396 Running
30 21 82 Scott Speed Toyota Red Bull 73/0 395 Running
31 38 71 Bobby Labonte Chevrolet TRG Motorsports 70/0 395 Running
32 40 16 Greg Biffle Ford 3M Nexcare 67/0 394 Running
33 36 7 Robby Gordon Toyota Robby Gordon Motorsports 64/0 394 Running
34 43 46 J.J. Yeley Dodge Jake Owen Raborn Foundation 61/0 393 Running
35 42 34 Kevin Conway * Ford Wings / Extenze 58/0 393 Running
36 34 47 Marcos Ambrose Toyota Kingsford / Bush's Beans 55/0 375 Running
37 5 48 Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet Lowe's Memorial Day Tribute 57/5 364 Running
38 20 42 Juan Montoya Chevrolet Target 49/0 306 In Pit
39 19 87 Joe Nemechek Toyota FrontRowJoe.com 46/0 46 In Pit
40 29 164 Todd Bodine Toyota Gunselman Motorsports 43/0 41 In Pit
41 22 36 Johnny Sauter Chevrolet Tommy Baldwin Racing 40/0 37 In Pit
42 30 55 Michael McDowell Toyota Prism Motorsports 37/0 34 In Pit
43 17 66 Dave Blaney Toyota Prism Motorsports 34/0 25 In Pit

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