Busch Wins 3M Performance 400Share
Kurt Busch was in a drought and almost out of the Race for the Chase just over a month ago, but he stormed back and neither rain nor fog could slow him down at Michigan International Speedway on Tuesday. Busch took the lead with 30 laps remaining and held off the remainder of the field to win the 3M Performance 400 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race two days after its originally scheduled start last Sunday had been deterred by constant rain. It was the first time that a NASCAR NEXTEL Cup race had been rained out at MIS since August of 1977. It was also the first time in the modern era (since 1972) that a NASCAR Cup race had been postponed two consecutive days because of bad weather. For Busch, it was the second victory in the last three NEXTEL Cup races. Over 238 points behind the 12th and last position in the chase for the championship field, Busch is now 12th. He leads 13th-place Dale Earnhardt, Jr., by 163 points. Earnhardt finished 12th but dropped another 63 points behind Busch with just three races remaining before the 10-race season-ending chase. "For all the fans to be here on a Tuesday - I'm sure some of them might not have a job when they show up for work tomorrow morning," Busch said. "There's some diehard fans in this area and I'm sure Roger (Penske, team owner) knew that when he bought this place (in 1973). The heart that NASCAR fans have and their drive to be out here and give up a little family time or whatever it might have been, to see them here at the track was incredible. And to have a great finish like we did, going all the way to a green-white-checkered, the fans got their money’s worth. "To just get the race under way was a relief. It was a smooth and steady day for us. We had to race some guys hard to move forward. All of the restarts at the end challenged me to be at my best," Busch continued. Busch, who also won at the two-mile oval in 2003, finished almost a half second ahead of Martin Truex, Jr., who had to start at the back of the 43-car field after his team was forced to make an engine change following Happy Hour last Saturday. Truex was joined at the back of the pack by DEI teammate Earnhardt, whose car had to undergo a transmission change after practice last Saturday. Both drivers moved smartly up through the field, Earnhardt actually leading for a lap when all of the leaders pitted. Truex ran a solid second for the last 20 laps, but could never run down Busch. “On the last green flag pit stop we lost the clutch, couldn’t get off pit road and lost a couple of laps," Truex said. “I was happy with the car. It was easy to stay out at the end instead of pitting with some of the others because with of the clutch problem, so we just went to digging and I had a lot of fun at the end. I could smell the victory, but congratulations to Kurt and the Penske crew.” Jimmy Johnson finished third, followed by Matt Kenseth, Denny Hamlin and Dave Blaney. The race started under yellow and was red-flagged after 10 laps because of thick fog that hampered race officials and team spotters from seeing the cars on the backstretch. The race resumed 32 minutes later with the green flag finally waving at 11 a.m., one hour after the scheduled starting time. Busch was cruising in the lead with nine laps remaining when Jeff Gordon spun out when he was tagged in the back by Kenseth. “I don’t blame Matt for that,” Gordon said, who finished 27th after running in the top five most of the day. “My car was very loose, slid up the track and I saw Matt in my mirror and tried to get out of his way, but he had too much momentum.” With two laps remaining, Greg Biffle spun out, forcing a caution flag and calling for a green-white-checkered one-lap shootout once the track was cleared. Busch jumped ahead and went unchallenged to triumph after winning at Pocono Raceway two weeks ago. Michigan International Speedway and NASCAR would like to thank fans who attended events throughout the past five
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