First-Lap Incident Spoils Busch's Day At Dover

September 22, 2008

DOVER, Del. (Sept. 21, 2008) - The highlight of Miller Lite Dodge driver Kurt Busch's race at Dover International Speedway in Sunday's Camping World RV 400 occurred when he took the green flag from the fourth starting spot. An incident on the first lap of the 400-lap battle ended any chances of doing any better.

"Our day pretty much ended on the first lap out there," the 2004 series champion explained. "I thought I gave him (David Gilliland) the high line and plenty of room getting into the corner - he just washed up into me.

"We got back out and got the Lucky Dog (free pass to get back on the lead lap), but we just weren't handling well enough to stay up on the lead lap. It was just on the razor's edge - loose, tight, loose, and tight. We lost more laps when we had to pit late in the race to cut off the right-rear quarter panel. Looking at our Miller Lite Dodge after the race and seeing all the damage, I guess we should be proud just to be running at the finish."

The early race altercation saw Busch hit pit road for repairs immediately. Forced to spend additional time in the pits to clean up the rear bumper area, the No. 2 Dodge was already a lap down on the Lap 5 restart. But when Patrick Carpentier spun in Turn 4 on Lap 12, Busch received the free pass and returned to the lead lap.

Fighting a continuously ill-handling Dodge, leader Matt Kenseth put Busch back down a lap on Lap 118. A 120-lap period of all green-flag racing saw leader Jimmie Johnson put the "2 car" down a second Lap on Lap 275.

Damage to the right-rear section of the car from the early incident produced flapping sheet metal with 85 laps remaining. NASCAR officials "black-flagged" Busch, sending him back down pit road under the green and costing the team another three laps.

At the checkered flag, Busch was credited with a 34th-place finish, completing 394 of the 400 laps.

The battle up front for the win came down to a three-way tussle between Roush Racing drivers Greg Biffle, Matt Kenseth and Carl Edwards.

Johnson was leading on the Lap 298 restart after the eighth caution period of the race, but he soon fell back. Edwards controlled the top spot until both Kenseth and Biffle got around on Lap 378.

The spirited battle between teammates got perhaps a little too close. With Kenseth leading and running the high line and Biffle chasing and running the low groove, Edwards again entered the picture on Lap 391. Biffle was running on the outside of Kenseth and the two touched with eight laps remaining.

Biffle was able to clear Kenseth on Lap 394 and went on to lead the remaining laps, leaving Kenseth behind to battle Edwards for the runner-up spot.

At the checkers, it was Biffle taking his second win in as many weeks by 0.934 seconds over Kenseth, with Edwards third, Mark Martin fourth and Johnson fifth. Kevin Harvick was sixth, pole-winner Jeff Gordon seventh, Clint Bowyer eighth, Jeff Burton ninth and Michael Waltrip rounding out the top-10 as the highest-finishing Toyota driver.

Ryan Newman finished 13th, completing all 400 laps and was the highest-finishing Dodge driver, while Penske Racing rookie competitor Sam Hornish Jr. finished 42nd, completing 304 of the 400 laps.

Edwards leads the standings in the "Chase" with eight races remaining to determine the 2008 NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion. With 5,390 points, he leads Johnson and Biffle, tied for second, by 10 points. Jeff Burton is fourth with 5,308 points. On the other end of the list, Kyle Busch experienced his second devastating race in a row. Blowing an engine after only 172 laps here today, Busch was relegated to a 43rd-place finish and he trails leader Edwards by a whopping 210 points.

The Sprint Cup tour now heads to the Kansas Speedway for next Sunday's running of the Camping World RV 400 on that 1.5-mile oval. The race, a 267-lap, 400.5-mile battle, has a scheduled 1:00 p.m. CDT starting time and features live coverage by ABC-TV and MRN Radio.