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Kyle Busch Dodges Last-Lap Melee to Finish 3rd at Talladega

October 8th, 2012 by
Kyle Busch leads the pack at Talladega on Sunday. Copyright 2012 Autostock Images

Kyle Busch leads the pack at Talladega on Sunday. Copyright 2012 Autostock Images

Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 18 M&M’s/Interstate Batteries® Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR), rallied from a pit road speeding penalty that put him a lap down and managed to make it through a 24-car pileup on the last lap to finish third in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Good Sam Roadside Assistance 500 Sunday at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway.

“We had a really, really fast M&M’s Camry today and drove up toward the front a few times,” said Busch, who earned his third top-five finish in 16 starts at Talladega, including his April 2008 win at the 2.66-mile oval.

Kyle Busch wears a shirt designed by his wife, Samantha, to raise money for Breast Cancer research.

Kyle Busch wears a shirt designed by his wife, Samantha, to raise money for Breast Cancer research. Copyright 2012 Autostock Images

After starting 13th, Busch tucked into the draft and ran consistently within the top-10 for the first 60 laps of the 500-mile race. But as he made a green flag pit stop on Lap 60, he was ticketed for speeding on entry to pit road, which required a return trip down pit road for a drive-through penalty. Having lost the draft, Busch was caught and put a lap down by the pack on Lap 75. But Busch and the M&M’s team never gave up, as he sat at or near the front of the pack until the M&M’s team caught the break it needed on Lap 139. As the caution waved for debris, Busch was beneficiary of the “lucky dog,” when NASCAR rules allow the highest-running car one lap down around the pace car and back on the lead lap.

“I probably led more laps at the front of the field without leading those laps because I was the tail-end guy. But all in all, our guys had some good pit stops, and we gained some spots. It was a typical Talladega day. I’m just glad and thankful that I was able to get out through the wreck with no damage and make it through unscathed.”

Busch restarted 13th on lap 187 and took the bottom line behind the No. 24 car of Jeff Gordon. As the pack roared through turn four for the final time, chaos developed in front of them, with 24 cars involved. Somehow, Gordon and Busch dove to the bottom and made it through the mess, bringing home a top-five finish.

“I was on the bottom,” said Busch of his last-lap move to stay out of the melee. “I was about seven, eight rows back on the bottom. We were slow. We were the slowest lane. I don’t know what happened up front. I think the 14 (Tony Stewart) was the first thing I saw get turned sideways, and then I think he ended up upside-down going over (Greg) Biffle, and I could see him outside my right window, but I shot for the apron as best I could to just get away from everything. I dodged the cars that were coming down the banking and coming back to the infield, so we made it through with our M&M’s Camry. We made it through unscathed and finished third, so not too bad.”

Busch’s JGR teammates – Denny Hamlin, driver of the No. 11 Toyota Camry, and Joey Logano, driver of the No. 20 Toyota Camry – finished 14th and 32nd, respectively. Both were caught in separate accidents.

Future Team Interstate member Matt Kenseth won the Good Sam Roadside Assistance 500 to score his 23rd career Sprint Cup victory, his second of the season and his first at Talladega.

Hamlin is representing Team Interstate in this year’s Chase for the Sprint Cup, and he left Talladega holding on to third place in the standings with 2,156 points, 23 points behind Chase leader Brad Keselowski.

 

NHRA Drag Racing: Edwards Suffers Shake in First Round

Mike Edwards and his Penhall/K&N/Interstate Batteries Pontiac in ReadingTeam Interstate’s Mike Edwards continued to battle adversity in the Countdown to the Championship with another mechanical problem in the elimination rounds Sunday.

Edwards qualified his Penhall/K&N/Interstate Batteries Pontiac GXP to the No. 8 starting position, and things looked positive at the start of the first elimination round when he clocked an amazing reaction time of 0.019 seconds. Unfortunately, he had a violent tire shake for the second week in a row and had to abandon the run.

Edwards retained his sixth-place spot in the standings.

Position

 Driver

Points

01

Allen Johnson

2,442

02

Jason Line

2,333

03

Erica Enders

2,316

04

Vincent Nobile

2,292

05

Greg Anderson

2,218

06

Mike Edwards

2,181

07

Ron Krisher

2,129

08

Larry Morgan

2,125

09

V Gaines

2,117

10

Jeg Coughlin Jr

2,114

Next week: NASCAR comes to its hometown of Charlotte for the Bank of America 500. NHRA drag racing takes a break until Oct. 25-28.

 

By James Pecht (177 Posts)

James Pecht writes about franchising, battery technology, tips, racing and company culture for Interstate Batteries.


Posted in Racing
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