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Kurt Busch wins Zippo 200

NASCAR Nationwide at The Glen
Saturday, August 13, 2011

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Busch leads Busch
Many expected Kurt Busch to be competitive when he stepped in for an injured Brad Keselowski in today’s Zippo 200 NASCAR Nationwide Series race but he made the most of the opportunity and punched his ticket to Gatorade Victory Lane.  Kurt battled his younger brother Kyle throughout the race as the Busch brothers lead every lap of the 17th Annual Zippo 200 at The Glen, with the elder Kurt (No. 22 Ruby Tuesday/Discount Tire Dodge), taking the win ahead of Jimmie Johnson (No. 7 Jimmie Johnson’s Anything with an Engine Chevrolet) and Joey Logano (No. 20 GameStop Toyota).

The brothers swapped the lead six times, with the younger Busch’s No. 18 Z-Line Designs Toyota) leading four times for 48 of the 85 laps. Earlier in the day, Kyle claimed the pole for Sunday’s Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips at The Glen.

Pole-sitter Kurt raced his brother Kyle hard, but fair throughout the 200-mile event. Kyle had to make an unscheduled pit stop on lap 17 after an off-course excursion blocked his radiator with grass. This stop put Kyle off sequence with the other drivers. By the end of the race, he was forced to conserve fuel and eventually pit for a splash-and-go on lap 78. He was able to battle back to finish a strong fourth.

Johnson was able to overcome two unscheduled trips through pit lane due to a fuel can that stayed connected to his car when he left the pits after his first stop. He and his crew thought the penalty was a drive-through penalty and did just that as soon as they were notified. Unfortunately, the proper execution of the penalty was a stop-and-go trip down pit road. NASCAR forced Johnson to take that penalty promptly. With crafty race strategy and determined driving, Johnson was able to put himself in position to take advantage of a late-race caution, resulting in a podium after a Green-White-Checker finish.

New York native Tim George Jr. (No. 21 Applebee’s/Potomac Family Dining Chevrolet) drove a solid race to finish 21st, one place better than he qualified. Ron Fellows (No. 5 Canadian Tire Chevrolet) was the highest placed of the Nationwide points-eligible drivers, bringing his machine home in seventh place.

With a 15th place finish, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (No. 6 RickyvsTrevor.com Ford) kept his NASCAR Nationwide Series points lead, with 816 points, 10 ahead of  Reed Sorensen (No. 32 Dollar General Ford) who finished 13th.

The average speed of the Zippo 200 at The Glen was 106.582 mph. Kurt Busch’s margin of victory was 0.974 seconds.

Kyle Busch was the fastest of the fast on Saturday as he posted a blistering 1:09.767 (126.421 mph) lap which was over one second faster than Jeff Gordon’s qualifying record of 1:10.798 (124.580 mph) which was set in 2003. Gordon, inducted into the Legends of The Glen in Friday, had his qualifying record smashed by 15 drivers during qualifying for Sunday’s 2011 Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips at The Glen.

Busch, who qualified on the front row for the Nationwide Series Zippo 200 at The Glen earlier in the day said, “We felt like we were pretty good unloading off the truck and we kept it up all weekend. The lap was pretty good. It was a clean lap. I was able to get the throttle down and accelerate out of the corners real well.”

A.J. Allmendinger (No. 43 Best Buy Ford) put his machine on the outside of the front row, commenting: “I was a little conservative in the “Bus Stop”, that’s probably where I lost time to Kyle.”

Marcos Ambrose (No. 9 Stanley Ford), tabbed by many of his competitors to be the man to beat, said: “I under-drove it a little bit. I’m really confident for the race. It will be interesting for the race to see how strategy and brakes and fuel mileage work themselves out.”

Defending champion Juan Pablo Montoya (No. 42 Target Chevrolet) will start from the fifth position, one spot behind five-time defending NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet).

Five-time Watkins Glen International winner Tony Stewart (No. 14 Office Depot/Mobile 1 Chevrolet) starts from the seventh position while four-time winner, and fellow Legend of the Glen, Jeff Gordon (No. 24 DuPont/Drive to End Hunger) will take off from 17th.

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