By Mike Schmaltz and Jeff Hibbs
From the Kentucky Speedway
SPARTA, Ky. (September 2011) Kyle Busch deepened his legacy in the Kentucky Speedway record books July 9 by becoming the first four-series race winner in track history after scoring a 0.179 of second victory over David Reutimann in the inaugural NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quaker State 400 while a track-record crowd of more than 107,000 cheered on.
Kentucky Speeday photo.
Kyle Busch celebrates
his Sprint Cup victory
Busch and his No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing machine led a race-best 125 of 267 laps, including the last 11. The 26-year-old, one of 10 race leaders on the historic night, assumed the point on the 43-car field for the sixth and final time under the fifth caution period of the night when Reutimann rolled his No. 00 Michael Waltrip Racing ride to the pits for service on Lap 257.
The JGR star survived the final restart on Lap 266 and raced away to his second Kentucky Speedway victory in three nights. His previous Commonwealth wins came on Thursday night in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series UNOH 225; June 19, 2004, in a 300-mile NASCAR Nationwide Series event; and on May 10, 2003, in a 205-mile ARCA Racing Series race.
Busch has now led 1,060 Sprint Cup Series laps this season along with 704 of the 1,819 career Kentucky Speedway laps hes raced in 10 starts across four series.
This is cool. This is right up there with the best of them. The way we ran tonight was awesome. It was a fun night, a tough night. Pit strategy can go either way, but Dave (Rogers crew chief) made the right call and got us the tires we wanted and the fuel that we needed. Thats what won us the race, Busch said after becoming the first NSCS driver to win from the pole position this season by nailing down his third victory, 10th top-five and 11th top-10 finish of the campaign through 18 starts.
Reutimann pocketed his first top-five and second top-10 finish in his past seven starts this season.
Its been awful season for us. At the end of last year it felt like we were making some gains. This year we havent had the results weve been looking for. It (tonight) feels great, it feels good. Second is still second, but its certainly a lot closer to than we have been in the last month or so, Reutimann said.
Five-time and defending NSCS champion Jimmie Johnson took the Quaker State 400 checkered flag third for Hendrick Motorsports. Stewart-Haas Racings Ryan Newman placed fourth. Carl Edwards rounded out the race top five. Both Newman and Edwards are previous winners at Kentucky in NASCARs other racing series.
Keselowski wins Nationwide Series race
Brad Keselowski leaned on pure power provided by a brand new No. 22 Penske Racing Dodge on July 8 to lead the final 131 of 133 laps en route to taking his first career Kentucky Speedway victory by 1.180 seconds over Kevin Harvick in the NASCAR Nationwide Series Feed The Children 300 in front of 52,000 fans.
The Rochester, Mich., driver jousted with Harvick and his No. 33 Kevin Harvick Inc. Chevrolet through the first quarter of the race before gaining the upper hand for good on Lap 68. He took the lead from Joe Nemechek, who kept his No. 87 NEMCO Racing car on the track following the second of five caution periods of the night on Lap 66.
Keselowski muscled up from that point, survived three caution periods in the closing 99 laps and a fuel scare during a series track record 64-lap green flag run to the finish line that brought him his first NNS victory of the season along with his seventh top five and 11th top-10 finish.
He ended the night having lead a race-high 132 laps and now owns four top-five NNS finishes at Kentucky in as many starts.
This car was awesome. The boys at Penske Racing spent some extra hours on it and it feels good. I think we got more in the hopper. To see this team start coming along feels great.
The guys at Discount Tire have been behind me, supporting me. They made this program possible so we could win the championship last year. (We) got banned from it this year, so now were just out here having fun.
If you keep doing the right things long enough, you will be rewarded and today was a day of reward. I cant wait to see a bunch of the Discount Tire guys this week bring them home a trophy, Keselowski said.
Harvick brought home his third NNS top-five and fourth top-10 finish of season in his ninth start. The winner of the inaugural Kentucky Speedway 300-mile NNS event closed out his second top-five and third top-10 series finish in his third overall series start at the track and his first since 2006.
He also battled tight fuel mileage down the stretch as well as a bit of confusion from the pit box regarding the right time to take his final pit stop of the race.
I knew I had a good lap to two laps that I had saved under caution because I came right out of the pits (on lap 138) and started saving gas. They never told me on the radio that I needed to do anything until eight or nine laps to go. We just have to learn to race better, Harvick said.
Joe Gibbs Racing driver Kyle Busch followed up the previous nights Kentucky Speedway NASCAR Camping World Truck Series UNOH 225 victory with a third-place showing that marked his third career top-five NNS finish in the Commonwealth. He additionally charted his 11th top-five and 12th top-10 series finish of the season in his 14th start.
Kasey Kahne crossed the Feed The Children 300 finish line fourth with his first career Kentucky NNS start and Elliott Sadler closed out his series track debut with a fifth-place showing.
Sadler picked up his ninth top-five and 13th top-10 finish of the season along with the series points lead.
Kyle Busch barrels to Truck Series victory
Kyle Busch on July 7 powered his No. 18 Kyle Busch Motorsports machine to a worst-to-first NASCAR Camping World Truck Series victory by .302 of a second over Penske Racings Parker Kligerman at Kentucky Speedway in the UNOH 225 in front of 28,000 fans.
Busch, who qualified eighth, was sent to the back of the 36-truck field after missing the pre-race drivers meeting and driver introductions that followed the sixth hour of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice that afternoon but methodically rallied to the lead for the first of two times on Lap 61.
The 26-year-old Las Vegas driver engaged in an entertaining top-two battle with Johnny Sauter in the No. 13 ThorSport Racing truck. Also in the mix were Justin Lofton in the No. 46 Eddie Sharp Racing truck and Richard Childress Racing teammates Austin Dillon and Joey Coulter.
Busch, who led a race-best 61 laps, grabbed the lead for the second and final time on Lap 134 after Sauters truck broke a rear axle during a Lap 125 pit stop and further benefitted from a bit of racing luck on Lap 138 when the hood of Dillons truck popped and blocked his vision.
With leading challengers eliminated, Busch held strong through the sixth and seventh caution periods of the race in the final seven laps and delivered a green-white-checkered flag victory that marked his fifth in the series this season as well as his first in the series at Kentucky Speedway.
8, 2009 ARCA Racing Series Kentucky winner, grabbed his second consecutive runner-up finish this season and now owns two top-five and four top-10 finishes.
We battled the conditions all night. Just as the temperatures kept dropping, the rubber that the (Sprint) Cup cars laid down really messed up the track from when we had practiced and because of that, the groove was constantly moving around. The first half of the race, we ran on the bottom, and the second half, we ran at the top. Then, we kept switching back and forth during the last 10 laps, he said.