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Kyle Busch Captures Wild Auto Club 400
- Updated: March 23, 2014
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.
|1||14||18||Kyle Busch||Interstate Batteries||Toyota||206||$324,531||Running||5||47|
|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|
|8||18||47||AJ Allmendinger||Charter Communications||Chevrolet||206||$127,853||Running||0||36|
|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|
|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|
|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|
|25||43||40||Landon Cassill||CRC Brakleen||Chevrolet||205||$90,960||Running||4||0|
|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|