Burton surges to NASCAR Busch Series win
It was just a matter of time.
With fresher tires, on a 10-lap dash to the finish Saturday night, Jeff Burton retook the lead from Kyle Busch in a side-by-side duel on Lap 143 and spent the final seven laps of the Camping World 300 NASCAR Busch Series race expanding his advantage.
Burton crossed the finish line 2.859 seconds ahead of Busch to win the 150-lap event at the 2.0-mile California Speedway. The victory was Burton's third in 15 NASCAR Busch Series starts this season and the 25th of his career, pushing him past one of his idols, Tommy Houston, to fourth on the all-time series win list.
Busch Pole winner Denny Hamlin ran third restored the No. 29 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet to the lead in the series owner points standings by 68 points.
"Kyle Busch is hard to get around," Burton said. "I knew we had a lot better tires, followed by Jimmie Johnson and Clint Bowyer. Kasey Kahne, reigning series champion Kevin Harvick, Jamie McMurray, Robby Gordon and top-finishing rookie David Ragan completed the top 10.
Driving a brand new chassis, Burton , and that made my job easier, but by no means did I consider it a 'gimme,'" Burton said.
Busch inherited the lead on Lap 127, after Hamlin spun in Turn 2 to bring out the fifth caution of the race, and Burton pitted from the lead for the fuel he needed to finish the race. Burton restarted sixth on Lap 131 and had worked his way into second within two laps when a multi-car wreck involving Matt Kenseth, points leader Carl Edwards, Brian Vickers, Kelly Bires and Stephen Leicht slowed the field for the sixth time on Lap 132.
Burton established his dominance after passing Vickers for the lead on Lap 63, as the two cars were in the process of lapping Mike Wallace through Turn 4. Burton went to the high side to complete the pass, and within three laps, the driver of the No. 29 Chevrolet had opened a lead of 1.035 seconds on the Toyota driver.
The following lap, however, brought a spectacular crash in Turn 1 that sent driver Brad Keselowski to the infield care center on a gurney. Contact between the cars of J.J. Yeley and AJ Allmendinger sent Allmendinger's No. 42 Dodge down the track and into Keslelowski's No. 88 Chevrolet.
The impact turned Keselowski sideways and sent him hurtling into the outside wall. A split second after the impact, Allmendinger's Dodge slid up the track beneath Keselowski's Chevy and launched its rear wheels above the barrier. The car slid on its side, trailing flames, before sliding down the track and coming to rest. Eric McClure's No. 0 Chevy also was a casualty of the wreck.
Rescue workers helped a shaken Keselowski from the car. The driver complained of pain in his foot while being wheeled to a waiting ambulance. Keselowski was airlifted to a local hospital for X-rays and further observation.
NASCAR red-flagged the race for 28 minutes to clean up the damage.