Start 'N' Park Blog

Kyle Busch Captures Wild Auto Club 400

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Kyle Busch and his Joe Gibbs Racing team used pit strategy to get near the front on a green/white/checker finish to bring home his first win of the 2014 season. Following Busch to the finish line was Kyle Larson, who beat Busch yesterday in the Nationwide Series race, who was right behind the Toyota driver. Kurt Busch, Matt Kenseth and Tony Stewart rounded out the top-5 finishers.

“I think the fans won today, too.  Holy cow, what do you expect when you get a green-white-checkered finish and everybody has to come down pit road for tires.  That right there is a ‘Days of Thunder’ thing right there.  There was two laps to go and everybody is going to pit.  Unbelievable day.  I can’t say enough about Interstate Batteries, M&M’s and Toyota of course — awesome today to be here again in their home town.  And of course Sprint, appreciate them helping us with this sport.  Monster Energy Drink — nothing greater than this to keep the party going all night long and of course the fans.  Hopefully they’re celebrating with us,” said a jubilant Kyle Busch in victory lane.

Kurt Busch and Landon Cassill led the field to the green on the final restart. Cassill quickly dropped back, finishing 25th, and Kurt’s teammate and boss Tony Stewart battled with him for the lead. Brother Kyle got a run to get out front and Larson too was able to slide his way past both drivers.

Tires were the talk of the race as 17 drivers suffered cut tires, including Kevin Harvick who lost two in his Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet. He finished 36th, two laps down to the leaders, and it was a third straight poor finish for him. It seemed that the tires would only last about 15-20 laps, and with the final green flag run starting with 25 laps to go, trouble was brewing.

Jimmie Johnson was well on his way to winning his sixth race at Auto Club Speedway, but lost a tire with five laps to go giving the lead to teammate Jeff Gordon. Gordon looked to be cruising to victory, having backed down his speed due to tire concerns, when Clint Bowyer spun and brought out the caution on lap 198.

“We did an awesome job as a race team.  We did everything we could to win the race today, unfortunately something out of our control let us down.  I had that feeling I thought we were going to win here at my home track once again and just a bummer it didn’t work out.  Spring is Calling this No. 48 is fast and we will come back next week to a very strong race track for this Lowe’s Chevrolet and hopefully get the job done there,” commented Johnson after the race.

Carl Edwards lost a tire, like many other drivers, but recovered to finish in the 10th position. By doing so he was able to leap past Dale Earnhardt, Jr. (finished 12th) and Brad Keselowski (finished 26th) to take the lead in the driver standings. He holds a one point advantage over Earnhardt.

Just prior to the race Denny Hamlin pulled himself out of the event due to a serious sinus infection. Blurry vision concerned Hamlin as he was about to go 400 miles with 43 other drivers. In his place Joe Gibbs Racing put in Sam Hornish, Jr. who was on standby for Matt Kenseth, whose wife is about to have a baby. Hamlin went to a hospital for observations and was given a medical exemption for the race. This means if he wins, he could still be in this year’s Chase. Hornish brought the car home in 17th place.

Next up for the Sprint Cup Series is the Martinsville Speedway. The STP Gas Booster 500 gets underway Sunday, March 30th, starting at 1 PM EST.

Fin St # Driver Sponsor Car Laps Money Status Led Pts
1 14 18 Kyle Busch Interstate Batteries Toyota 206 $324,531 Running 5 47
2 11 42 Kyle Larson Target Chevrolet 206 $233,450 Running 0 42
3 17 41 Kurt Busch Haas Automation Chevrolet 206 $169,905 Running 2 42
4 1 20 Matt Kenseth Dollar General Toyota 206 $202,491 Running 19 41
5 10 14 Tony Stewart Rush Truck Centers Chevrolet 206 $159,538 Running 0 39
6 25 1 Jamie McMurray McDonald’s Chevrolet 206 $148,559 Running 0 38
7 19 55 Brian Vickers TreatMyClot.com Toyota 206 $144,370 Running 1 38
8 18 47 AJ Allmendinger Charter Communications Chevrolet 206 $127,853 Running 0 36
9 30 27 Paul Menard Duracell/Menards Chevrolet 206 $134,309 Running 0 35
10 9 99 Carl Edwards Subway Ford 206 $121,270 Running 0 34
11 20 3 Austin Dillon Cheerios Chevrolet 206 $148,846 Running 0 33
12 15 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr National Guard Chevrolet 206 $111,360 Running 0 32
13 6 24 Jeff Gordon Drive To End Hunger/AARP Chevrolet 206 $145,096 Running 23 32
14 27 10 Danica Patrick GoDaddy.com Chevrolet 206 $109,210 Running 0 30
15 31 13 Casey Mears GEICO Chevrolet 206 $125,968 Running 0 29
16 5 15 Clint Bowyer PEAK Toyota 206 $140,001 Running 2 29
17 13 11 Sam Hornish Jr FedEx Express Toyota 206 $107,410 Running 0 0
18 34 26 Cole Whitt Swan Energy Toyota 206 $94,610 Running 0 26
19 23 7 Michael Annett Pilot Travel Centers/Flying J Chevrolet 206 $111,768 Running 0 25
20 16 31 Ryan Newman Caterpillar Chevrolet 206 $106,110 Running 3 25
21 36 36 Reed Sorenson Tommy Baldwin Racing Chevrolet 206 $107,868 Running 1 24
22 40 23 Alex Bowman Dr. Pepper Toyota 206 $105,057 Running 0 22
23 12 78 Martin Truex Jr Furniture Row Chevrolet 206 $122,718 Running 0 21
24 3 48 Jimmie Johnson Lowe’s Chevrolet 206 $155,521 Running 104 22
25 43 40 Landon Cassill CRC Brakleen Chevrolet 205 $90,960 Running 4 0
26 2 2 Brad Keselowski Wurth Ford 205 $135,143 Running 38 19
27 41 34 David Ragan Taco Bell Ford 205 $100,235 Running 1 18
28 28 51 Justin Allgaier Brandt Professional Agriculture Chevrolet 205 $99,535 Running 0 16
29 33 35 David Reutimann MDS Transport Ford 205 $91,335 Running 1 16
30 8 9 Marcos Ambrose DeWalt Power Tools Ford 205 $117,430 Running 0 14
31 39 83 Ryan Truex Borla Exhaust Toyota 205 $88,885 Running 0 13
32 42 66 Joe Nemechek Land Castle Title Toyota 205 $95,685 Running 1 0
33 35 32 Travis Kvapil SK Hand Tools Ford 205 $87,460 Running 0 11
34 22 17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr Ford EcoBoost Ford 204 $123,085 Running 0 10
35 37 33 Brian Scott White Tail Chevrolet 204 $87,035 Running 0 0
36 4 4 Kevin Harvick Jimmy John’s Chevrolet 204 $127,928 Running 0 8
37 38 98 Josh Wise Trench Shoring Chevrolet 204 $86,664 Running 0 7
38 29 38 David Gilliland Love’s Travel Stops Ford 202 $88,915 Running 1 7
39 7 22 Joey Logano AAA Southern California Ford 195 $116,906 Running 0 5
40 24 16 Greg Biffle 3M Aerospace Ford 193 $117,490 Running 0 4
41 26 5 Kasey Kahne Time Warner Cable Chevrolet 180 88315 Running 0 3
42 32 30 Parker Kligerman Swan Energy Toyota 85 64915 Accident 0 2
43 21 43 Aric Almirola Farmland Ford 68 98351 Accident 0 1