Kyle Busch wins 9th Nationwide race of '08
After a long night that included several cautions and two red flags for rain, Busch took the lead following a round of pit stops with 30 laps to go and held on through three late caution flags to notch his ninth win of the season in the Nationwide season.
Brian Vickers was third, followed by Clint Bowyer and Carl Edwards.
“It was a phenomenal night for us, my car was pretty strong. We weren’t that strong yesterday, we had some motor issues, thankfully all that worked out,” said Busch. “This has been one of those phenomenal seasons for us here on the Nationwide side, how many times do you have a season like this?”
Burton elected to take four tires during his final stop and dropped back to ninth place, but quickly moved back up to slide into second with 15 laps to go.
Busch pulled out to over a one second lead over Burton until a final six-car melee with eight laps to go bunched up the field to give Burton once last run at Busch.
Busch pulled away on the restart and held the low line over the final four laps and easily topped Burton by .662 seconds at the line.
“This was the best car we had all year,” said Burton, making his last Nationwide Series start of the season. “We closed the gap on (Busch), but he was doing a great job, every win they’ve got they deserve. They’ll be another fight – to this point they’ve had the better of us, but we won’t quit.”
Busch faced some criticism following the race for brake checking during the final three restarts – directly leading to the multi-car crash on lap 192.
“I was under the impression I was getting brake-checked,” said Vickers. “I had my front tires locked up and I was running second or third at the time.”
Busch flatly denied that he was brake-checking, saying he did Burton a “favor” by closing up the gap before the restart.
“I didn’t brake check, I kept the same speed I’ve been running the whole time coming up to the restarts,” said Busch. “I looked in my mirror and saw Burton back about a car-length and he started inching forward. I wasn’t going to let him have the momentum on me, so I waited until he was on my back bumper and I stopped and then I went.
“I don’t think I did anything wrong, I actually think I did Jeff Burton a favor because NASCAR’s rules says if you hang back more than a car length, you may be black-flagged.”
“Until NASCAR makes a rule that you have to maintain a steady speed, (brake checking) is going to continue,” said Burton. “This isn’t the first time, it’s been going on for a long time. I hate to put it on NASCAR, but they make the rules, if he doesn’t get in trouble for doing it, then he’s not doing anything wrong.”
Bowyer’s fourth-place finished allowed him to retain the series points lead by 196 points over Edwards.
Q&A with the race winner
How does it feel to win tonight?
“It's definitely pretty awesome to be back in victory lane especially at Lowe's Motor Speedway, one of my favorite tracks. Really got to thank NOS Energy Drink, Z-Line Designs, all these guys on this Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota. It was just phenomenal tonight. It was a lot of fun out there to race those guys and have a great win for us. You know, to be back in victory lane feels awesome.”
How good was your race car?
“The car was phenomenal. It could go anywhere you wanted it to. I could run the top. I could run the bottom. I managed to stay on the bottom just so I didn't burn up the right front tire. Really want to thank the fans for sticking around tonight. I know it was a long show with the rain delays and whatnot. I'm glad they all hung out. And, of course, the ones on TV, as well.”
Did you have some issues on the restarts?
“You know, you're not supposed to leave any room behind you, or in front of you I should say on (Jeff) Burton's part. He was back there about a car length, a car length and a half, or so. And I could see him carrying up to my rear bumper and he had the momentum and I wasn't going to let him have the momentum on the restarts cause he'd pull low and pass me getting into (turn) one. So, I waited until he got to my rear bumper and then I went. He had to stop and I went. That's what jumbled up the field back there and everything. I apologize to those guys back there, but I got a race to win, too.”
What does it mean for you to win again at Charlotte?
“It was a phenomenal night for us. That car was pretty strong -- we didn’t think it was that strong yesterday. We felt like we had some motor issues with it so we changed the ignition and some stuff -- the distributor, carburetor and all that. It seems as though it all ran well today so thankfully it all worked out and that NOS Energy Drink Toyota was just fast. It was pretty phenomenal to drive -- a lot of fun and a great race car to be able to run on the top, run on the bottom and pass cars any which way we needed to. Fortunately, it was pretty hard to make a mistake on pit road on what to do with it -- we could take two tires or no tires and just pretty much stay out front. The car was fast enough that it could hold its own pace.”
Do you think you should have competed for the NNS championship?
“No -- it’s a lot more fun to not have to worry about points and just go out there and race for wins. I was thinking about that while I was out there -- where I would be if I just gave myself a 10th-place finish in the races that I missed -- that I could calculate the points and see where I was. I don’t know where that would put me. It’s a lot easier to go out there and race everybody and all the competitors for wins instead of having to concentrate on a particular guy or a particular couple guys and seeing what they do week in and week out. It’s probably no different in the ‘Chase,’ but at least this year I don’t have to worry about racing for the championship anymore -- we can just worry racing for wins and getting up there to get a couple more before the year’s out.”
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