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Kyle Busch puts Toyota in Victory Lane yet again

Sprint Cup race at Watkins Glen
Sunday, August 10, 2008

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Kyle Busch leads Dale Earnhardt Jr. in the No. 88 car.  Earnhardt led the most laps but Busch took the win
John Harrelson/Getty Images for NASCAR
Kyle Busch scored his eighth win of the 2008 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season, lengthened his point lead, and swept all two (actually three) road course races of the year with a win in Sunday's Centurion Boats at The Glen at Watkins Glen International.

Busch ran away from his overweight and out of shape Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Tony Stewart to the checkered flag to notch another road win to go with his triumph at Infineon Raceway back in June.

It was Busch's third NASCAR road win of the year with a Nationwide Series victory at Mexico City back in March also under his belt.

Busch is the first driver in NASCAR history to win three road course events in a season. He now has 16 victories in NASCAR's top three divisions this season.

After a restart on Lap 86 of 90 in the Centurion Boats at The Glen, Busch held off victory-starved JGR teammate Tony Stewart by 2.275 seconds to claim his eighth victory of the season. Once he clinches a spot in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, he will be the top seed regardless of what happens in the four races before the Chase field is set Sept. 6 at Richmond.

The win was the 12th of Busch’s career, and it negated the comments of his former Hendrick Motorsports teammates, Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon, who said they had seen weakness in the No. 18 team, based on lackluster performances in the past two races, at Indianapolis and Pocono.

“I’m sorry, what slump?” Busch said on his radio after crossing the finish line of the 2.45-mile road course. “They can keep trying to play these mind games. We’ll just keep winning.”

Crew chief Steve Addington also marveled at the notion that a two-week downturn in performance could indicate vulnerability in his team.

“I can’t believe it,” Addington said. “We don’t win a race in three or four weeks, and we’re in a bad slump?”

Marcos Ambrose, who picked up his first NASCAR victory in Saturday’s NASCAR Nationwide Series race, worked his way through the field from the 43rd starting position to third at the finish in his third Cup start. Juan Pablo Montoya came home fourth, followed by Martin Truex Jr. and Kevin Harvick.

“Kyle ran an awesome race today,” said Stewart, who will leave JGR at the end of the season to drive for his own team, Stewart-Haas Racing. “He never made a mistake today, and he was fast in all the right spots.

“I can’t be disappointed with a second-place finish to a teammate like that. He’s been on fire this year. ... You’d cut off one of your legs almost to have the kind of year he’s having.”

A wild wreck in Turn 11 stopped the action on Lap 82 in what had been a relatively tame race to that point. Contact from the Toyota of Michael McDowell sent David Gilliland’s Ford spinning out of control into the guardrail. Sam Hornish Jr. slid sideways, driver’s-side-first, into the barrier of sand barrels dividing the racetrack from pit road.

Bobby Labonte limped away from his damaged No. 43 Dodge after the crash, which also damaged the cars of Michael Waltrip, Dave Blaney, Joe Nemechek, Max Papis and Reed Sorenson. Labonte was transported from the infield care center to a local hospital for further evaluation.

McDowell and Gilliland were called to the NASCAR trailer after the incident to discuss the aggressive driving that triggered the wreck.

After a stoppage of more than 43 minutes, the race restarted on Lap 86 with Busch leading Stewart to the green flag, followed by Ambrose, Montoya, Truex, Denny Hamlin and Harvick.

Notes: Jimmie Johnson had one of the strongest cars Sunday, but a flat left rear tire forced the No. 48 Chevrolet to make an early pit stop on Lap 42. Johnson rallied from the setback to finish seventh. ... Busch swept both Cup road course races this season, having won at Infineon Raceway in June. He also won on the road course at Mexico City in the NASCAR Nationwide Series this year and finished second to Ambrose in Saturday’s NASCAR Nationwide race at The Glen. ... Ambrose’s third-place finish was the first top five for the Wood Brothers since Ricky Rudd finished fourth at Bristol on Aug. 27, 2005. ... Dale Earnhardt Jr. waited one lap too long to pit and got caught when the caution came out on Lap 64. Forced to pit under the yellow, he restarted 32nd on Lap 67, finished the race in 22nd and dropped from second to fourth in the Cup standings.

Results

FIN

ST CAR DRIVER MAKE SPONSOR PTS/BNS LAPS STATUS
1 1 18 Kyle Busch Toyota M&M's 195/10 90 Running
2 9 20 Tony Stewart Toyota The Home Depot 175/5 90 Running
3 41 21 Marcos Ambrose Ford Little Debbie 165/0 90 Running
4 25 42 Juan Montoya Dodge Big Red Slim Pack 165/5 90 Running
5 16 1 Martin Truex Jr. Chevrolet Bass Pro Shops / Tracker 155/0 90 Running
6 11 29 Kevin Harvick Chevrolet Shell / Pennzoil 150/0 90 Running
7 10 11 Denny Hamlin Toyota FedEx Ground 146/0 90 Running
8 4 48 Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet Lowe's 147/5 90 Running
9 35 84 A.J. Allmendinger Toyota Red Bull 138/0 90 Running
10 3 99 Carl Edwards Ford Office Depot 134/0 90 Running
11 19 2 Kurt Busch Dodge Miller Lite 130/0 90 Running
12 13 17 Matt Kenseth Ford DEWALT 127/0 90 Running
13 30 01 Ron Fellows Chevrolet Bass Pro Shops / Red Head 124/0 90 Running
14 7 9 Kasey Kahne Dodge Budweiser 121/0 90 Running
15 20 19 Elliott Sadler Dodge Best Buy / Garmin 118/0 90 Running
16 18 26 Jamie McMurray Ford Crown Royal 115/0 90 Running
17 5 31 Jeff Burton Chevrolet AT&T Mobility 112/0 90 Running
18 17 83 Brian Vickers Toyota Red Bull 109/0 90 Running
19 22 5 Casey Mears Chevrolet CARQUEST / Kellogg's 106/0 90 Running
20 37 10 Patrick Carpentier * Dodge Charter Comm. 103/0 90 Running
21 8 16 Greg Biffle Ford 3M 100/0 90 Running
22 2 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Chevrolet National Guard / AMP Energy 102/5 90 Running
23 12 07 Clint Bowyer Chevrolet DIRECTV 94/0 90 Running
24 42 45 Boris Said Dodge Marathon American Spirit Motor Oil 91/0 90 Running
25 6 24 Jeff Gordon Chevrolet DuPont 88/0 90 Running
26 34 00 Michael McDowell * Toyota Champion Mortgage 85/0 90 Running
27 31 7 Robby Gordon Dodge Jim Beam 82/0 90 Running
28 14 12 Ryan Newman Dodge Kodak 79/0 90 Running
29 27 15 Paul Menard Chevrolet Quaker State / Menards 76/0 90 Running
30 32 77 Sam Hornish Jr. * Dodge Mobil 1 73/0 90 Running
31 40 6 David Ragan Ford AAA Insurance 70/0 90 Running
32 28 41 Reed Sorenson Dodge Target 67/0 90 Running
33 26 44 David Reutimann Toyota UPS 64/0 88 Running
34 33 66 Scott Riggs Chevrolet State Water Heaters 61/0 88 Running
35 15 8 Aric Almirola Chevrolet U.S. Army 58/0 88 Running
36 23 28 Travis Kvapil Ford Hitachi Power Tools 55/0 88 Running
37 36 96 P.J. Jones Toyota DLP HDTV 52/0 88 Running
38 39 78 Joe Nemechek Chevrolet Furniture Row Racing 49/0 86 In Pit
39 43 55 Michael Waltrip Toyota NAPA AUTO PARTS 46/0 82 Running
40 24 38 David Gilliland Ford DISH Network Turbo HD 43/0 81 Running
41 29 22 Dave Blaney Toyota Caterpillar 40/0 81 In Pit
42 21 43 Bobby Labonte Dodge Cheerios / Betty Crocker 37/0 81 In Pit
43 38 70 Max Papis Chevrolet Haas Automation 34/0 81 In Pit

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