Kyle Busch Wins in Michigan
From TrueSpeed Communication:
In the closing laps of Sunday’s Pure Michigan 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Kyle Busch was Outrageously Dependable® as he held off five-time and reigning Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson to score a 23 career victory and his fourth of the 2011 season.
The driver of the No. 18® Interstate Batteries® Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing passed Johnson on lap 188 and began pulling away as the laps wound down in what was scheduled to be a 200-lap event. But on lap 198, Jamie McMurray and Busch’s older brother, Kurt, were involved in an accident that brought out a caution and set up a green-white-checkered finish.
Busch positioned his Interstate Batteries “White Hot” Camry on the outside of Johnson’s Chevrolet as the field approached the green flag. When the green flag waved, Busch punched his accelerator and inched ahead of Johnson’s machine as the duo entered turn one. By the time Busch exited turn two, he had cleared Johnson’s machine and pulled away for a .568 of a second margin of victory.
“It feels really good to win here at Michigan,” Busch said. “We’ve been trying so hard the last few times here. Our teammate (Denny Hamlin) has been able to do it but, unfortunately, we haven’t. Good to put it in victory lane, especially for Norm Miller (chairman of Interstate Batteries) and everybody at Interstate Batteries.”
The victory was Busch’s first in the Sprint Cup Series at Michigan, but the fourth for primary sponsor Interstate Batteries. The Dallas-based company took the checkered flag three times at the 2-mile oval with former JGR driver Bobby Labonte in June 1995, August 1995 and August 1999.
“For us, it’s special in a lot of ways,” said J.D. Gibbs, president of JGR. “For Norm Miller, Interstate Batteries, that whole team there was our first sponsor 20 years ago. And 20 years later you’re in victory lane with them and that is special. Obviously, the whole M&M’s partnership as well. It’s a big deal for JGR.”
Interstate Batteries now has 25 Sprint Cup victories as a primary sponsor – 21 came with Labonte, two with former JGR driver Dale Jarrett and two with Busch. The last victory as primary sponsor for Interstate came via Busch in July 2008 at Daytona International Speedway.
“How about Interstate Batteries – our founding sponsor at Joe Gibbs Racing,” said Crew Chief Dave Rogers. “Finally got a win for Norm Miller, it’s been so long. When I started at Joe Gibbs Racing, Interstate was the only primary sponsor we had. To be a crew chief with the Interstate Batteries Camry today is such an honor – thank you Norm, appreciate it man.”
Busch’s victory was his series-best fourth of the season and helped him clinch a spot in the 12-driver Chase for the Championship. With 23 of 36 races complete, Busch leads the championship standings and he has 799 points and a 10-point cushion over second-place Johnson.
Busch’s JGR teammates – Joey Logano, driver of the No. 20 Toyota Camry and Hamlin, driver of the No. 11 Toyota Camry – finished 21st and 35th, respectively.