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Kyle Busch Gives Toyota First Sprint Cup Win

NASCAR Sprint Cup at Atlanta
Sunday, March 9, 2008


For the first time since 1954 a foreign car manufacturer has won in the NASCAR Sprint Cup series as Kyle Busch claims the win at Atlanta for Toyota, placing an exclamation mark on Toyota's NASCAR experiment.

Gibbs Racing teammate Tony Stewart was second, followed by Dale Earnhardt, Jr, Greg Biffle and Jeff Gordon.

Kyle Busch gives Toyota their first Sprint Cup win.
Photo: Toyota
His nickname is "Rowdy." They call him that because he runs his Joe Gibbs Toyota wide open.... all the time.

"Go or Blow!" That's Kyle.

And he did just that Sunday at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Start to finish, the young driver from Las Vegas kept his foot in the gas to win the Kobalt Tools 500. He became the first driver to win a NASCAR Craftsman Truck and a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race in the same weekend.

He turned back a number of challengers during the sunny afternoon, including runner-up and teammate Tony Stewart in another Toyota.

It was a grueling Sunday for NASCAR's best drivers, who fought the steering wheel all day trying to get a handle on the slippery Atlanta surface.

Busch's win was the first for one of the really nice guys in the sport, crew chief Steve Addington, who worked his way through the NASCAR ranks to his current position. Addington worked in several of the sport's development tours en route to matching up with one of the sport's youngest stars. In fact, Busch became the youngest winner ever for this event.

Trailing the two Gibbs drivers was popular Dale Earnhardt, Jr., who said it was the hardest he has ever driven and added, "but that's the way it should be."

Kyle Busch "Snickers" the field at Atlanta.
Photo: Toyota
Greg Biffle was fourth and two-time champion Jeff Gordon was fifth.

Rounding out the top 10 were Clint Bowyer, Kevin Harvick, Matt Kenseth, Brian Vickers and Jeff Burton.

The ninth-place finish for Vickers came on the heels of not qualifying for last week's race in Las Vegas. His Red Bull Toyota fought back from being a lap down to crack the top 10.

It was a miserable day for Elliott Sadler, who caused three caution flags in a row when his car lost grip and spun.

Carl Edwards looked to make it three Sprint Cup wins in a row and appeared to be in good shape to do so, taking the lead on lap 168, but with just 50 laps to go blue smoke billowed out from Edwards’ Ford, ending his day.

“You can’t ever say what was going to happen” said Edwards after climbing from his car, “but I think we were going to win that race, I was just having a blast”.

Edward's day goes up in smoke.
Photo: CIA Stock Photo
Earnhardt took the lead on the first lap and left Gordon and the rest of the field in the dust. His National Guard Chevrolet slid smoothly through the corners, and his lap times were more than half-a-second quicker than his rivals.

Busch moved from the sixth starting spot to second place in just a few laps but even Busch, who likes to run wide open every lap, couldn't keep up with Earnhardt's torrid pace.

J.J. Yeley suffered the first penalty of the cold, sunny afternoon when he entered pit road too fast for an unscheduled stop.

A caution for debris on the 38th lap slowed the field but Earnhardt had lapped half the field at that point.

On the restart, Earnhardt picked up where he left off.... at the front of the pack. Young Busch was next in line, but dropped back a considerable distance.

Edwards was next, trailed by Harvick, Gordon, Denny Hamlin, Jeff Burton, Clint Bowyer, Daytona 500 winner Ryan Newman, Martin Truex, Jr. and defending NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson, who had his worst day in recent memory at Las Vegas last Sunday when he was never a contender.

Next Up - Bristol Motor Speedway
Juan Pablo Montoya, who finished fifth here in Atlanta last March, had moved from 19th to 11th by the 60th lap.

Busch took the lead on the 60th lap when Earnhardt complained about losing the handle on his machine. The field spread out all around the 1.5-mile tri-oval at this point in the race.

While Busch sped away to a big lead, Earnhardt dropped to third when Edwards sailed past him. Edwards, however, couldn't hold the position. Both Earnhardt and Harvick passed him within a few laps.

Another caution for debris slowed the action at 84 laps and all the leaders pitted again.

Busch took over again when racing resumed and Hamlin took over the second spot behind him. Earnhardt was third, Kevin Harvick fourth and Gordon fifth.

Earnhardt moved around Hamlin for second a few laps later. On lap 116, Kasey Kahne lost grip on his Dodge in turn four, bringing out the third caution flag of the day.

It was Busch and Earnhardt again with Harvick, Bowyer and Gordon behind them. Stewart, who started 32nd, had worked his way up to sixth position.

On lap 129, Harvick moved past Earnhardt for second place. Earnhardt dropped to fourth behind Bowyer.
Shortly after the halfway point, when the field made its first green-flag pit stops, Bowyer came out leading with Busch second and Harvick third. Rounding out the top 15 were Hamlin, Edwards, Gordon, Earnhardt, Stewart, Jeff Burton, Ryan Newman, Kenseth, Montoya, Bobby Labonte, Johnson and Biffle.

The last time a foreign manufacturer won in the NASCAR Sprint Cup series was 1954 when Al Keller won for Jaguar at a race in Linden, NJ.  Keller's only other NASCAR win also came that year, but while driving a Hudson at Ogelthorpe Speedway at Savannah, GA.


1 6 18 Kyle Busch Toyota Snickers 195/10 325 Running
2 32 20 Tony Stewart Toyota Home Depot "10 Years Strong" 170/0 325 Running
3 2 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Chevrolet AMP Energy / National Guard 170/5 325 Running
4 13 16 Greg Biffle Ford Jackson Hewitt 165/5 325 Running
5 1 24 Jeff Gordon Chevrolet DuPont 160/5 325 Running
6 7 07 Clint Bowyer Chevrolet DIRECTV 155/5 325 Running
7 8 29 Kevin Harvick Chevrolet Shell / Pennzoil 146/0 325 Running
8 38 17 Matt Kenseth Ford DEWALT 142/0 325 Running
9 35 83 Brian Vickers Toyota Red Bull 143/5 325 Running
10 15 31 Jeff Burton Chevrolet AT&T Mobility 134/0 325 Running
11 29 2 Kurt Busch Dodge Miller Lite 130/0 325 Running
12 5 43 Bobby Labonte Dodge Cheerios / Betty Crocker 132/5 325 Running
13 11 48 Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet Lowe's / Kobalt Tools 124/0 325 Running
14 12 12 Ryan Newman Dodge ALLTEL 121/0 324 Running
15 22 11 Denny Hamlin Toyota FedEx Ground 118/0 324 Running
16 19 42 Juan Montoya Dodge Wrigley's Big Red 115/0 324 Running
17 39 5 Casey Mears Chevrolet Kellogg's / CARQUEST 112/0 324 Running
18 28 66 Scott Riggs Chevrolet State Water Heaters 109/0 324 Running
19 20 15 Paul Menard Chevrolet Energizer / Menards 106/0 324 Running
20 30 00 David Reutimann Toyota Aaron's Dream Machine 103/0 323 Running
21 3 1 Martin Truex Jr. Chevrolet Bass Pro Shops / Tracker 100/0 323 Running
22 10 8 Mark Martin Chevrolet U.S. Army 97/0 323 Running
23 14 6 David Ragan Ford AAA 94/0 323 Running
24 26 7 Robby Gordon Dodge Valvoline / Jim Beam 91/0 323 Running
25 33 77 Sam Hornish Jr. * Dodge Penske Truck Rental 88/0 323 Running
26 9 9 Kasey Kahne Dodge Budweiser 90/5 322 Running
27 42 28 Travis Kvapil Ford Zaxby's 82/0 322 Running
28 43 44 Dale Jarrett Toyota UPS 79/0 322 Running
29 34 84 Mike Skinner Toyota Red Bull 76/0 322 Running
30 31 38 David Gilliland Ford 73/0 321 Running
31 23 40 Dario Franchitti * Dodge Fastenal 70/0 321 Running
32 16 22 Dave Blaney Toyota Caterpillar 67/0 321 Running
33 27 55 Michael Waltrip Toyota NAPA AUTO PARTS 64/0 321 Running
34 25 41 Reed Sorenson Dodge Target 61/0 321 Running
35 37 96 J.J. Yeley Toyota DLP HDTV 58/0 320 Running
36 41 01 Regan Smith * Chevrolet DEI / Principal Financial Group 55/0 320 Running
37 17 78 Joe Nemechek Chevrolet Furniture Row Racing 52/0 320 Running
38 21 10 Patrick Carpentier * Dodge Cintas 49/0 320 Running
39 36 70 Jeremy Mayfield Chevrolet Haas Automation 46/0 318 Running
40 24 26 Jamie McMurray Ford IRWIN Industrial Tools 43/0 317 Running
41 40 45 Kyle Petty Dodge Paralyzed Veterans of America 40/0 313 Running
42 4 99 Carl Edwards Ford Aflac 42/5 274 Out of Race
43 18 19 Elliott Sadler Dodge Best Buy / Garmin 34/0 257 Out of Race

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