Busch Comes Home the Winner in the Zippo 200 at the Glen
August 13, 2011
WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. (Aug. 13, 2011) – Kurt Busch drove the No. 22 Discount Tire/Ruby Tuesday Dodge from the pole to an impressive victory in today’s Zippo 200 NASCAR Nationwide Series race here at Watkins Glen International. Busch, who was named as a late-week replacement for Penske Racing teammate Brad Keselowski behind the wheel of the No. 22 Dodge Challenger, certainly was impressive in his first Nationwide Series start since August 2007 on this same track.
Starting from the Coors Light Pole, Busch led four times for 37 laps in posting a 0.974-second win over runner-up Jimmie Johnson after the race ended with a green-white-checkered finish. Busch now has recorded three wins, eight top-five finishes and 10 top-10s in 12 career starts. He has won three poles. Busch has an incredible 7.3 average start and 7.9 average finish on his career Nationwide Series chart.
“I knew that it was going to be a good finish,” said Busch of his second win in only three career Nationwide Series starts on this winding 2.45-mile Upstate New York road course. “On the restart at the end, all heck could have broken loose. I actually drove it in a little too deep; that right-front tire was cold. I just have to thank this crew for allowing me to step in, they were starting to call me “Buschlowski” because I was wearing Brad’s fire suit. Todd Gordon (crew chief) did an excellent job. This was a fast Dodge Challenger. I’m proud to drive it. Thanks to Ruby Tuesday, Discount Tire and Shell and Pennzoil for allowing me to come over here and have fun. It’s really neat to come over here and sit on the pole and win.”
Busch started from the point and led until brother, Kyle, got around for the lead on Lap 9. But on the very next lap, the elder Busch made a daring move to regain the lead. That set the tone for the remainder of the race. The Busch Brothers battled closely to provide the ultimate competition for the 40,000 fans gathered at the track and the vast audience tuned in on ESPN and MRN Radio.
Kyle Busch got off the track on Lap 16 of his charge and had grass pack in his car’s grill area. That shot his water and temperatures sky high and forced him to pit early on Lap 17. The elder Busch hit pit road on Lap 24 for four-tires and fuel. Eric McClure stalled the next lap and brought out the first yellow flag of the race.
The pitting had sequenced around and Kyle Busch led Kurt Busch on the Lap 29 restart. Ron Fellows was up to third, with Carl Edwards fourth and Elliott Sadler fifth.
Kyle Busch led until having to pit again on Lap 50. Big Brother regained the lead and held it until pitting on Lap 55. When the pit stops cycled around, Kyle Busch had a 1.1-second lead over the No. 22 Dodge on Lap 56. Edwards was third and 3.9 seconds behind the leader.
The suspense was building as it was a known fact that the younger Busch’s No. 18 Toyota could not make the distance and would have to pit again for fuel. Kyle hit pit road after completing 77 laps and Kurt took over the lead with five laps to go.
The No. 22 Dodge appeared to be headed to an easy win at the time, hold a 2.7-second lead over Edwards. However, Mike Wallace spun and Casey Roderick crashed into him to bring out the final caution and force a green-white-checkered finish.
In overtime action, Kurt Busch lined up as the leader, with Edwards second and Johnson third. Busch got a great restart and left the field behind. Johnson finally got around Edwards for second, but could not mount a charge to catch the Penske Racing Dodge on the final circuit.
At the checkers, it was Busch taking the win by 0.974 seconds over Johnson. Joey Logano rallied to finish third, with Kyle Busch fourth and Edwards fifth. Paul Menard, Fellows. Aric Almirola, Trevor Bayne and Sadler rounded out today’s top-10 finishers.
“It was a great win for the Ruby Tuesday/Discount Tire Dodge Challenger,” said crew chief Gordon. “Kurt ran a great race. It got a little hairy with fuel mileage those last few laps. I thought that we were good for at least one green-white-checkered flag. The car was fast. We didn’t have to make too many changes. Once we saw the No. 18 car pit for fuel, I thought that we were in good shape.”
“This is great,” added Keselowski, who spent much of the day providing interesting commentary to the ESPN-TV broadcast of the race. “This deal with Kurt didn’t come together until Tuesday. We left our driver debrief and talked about the Cup weekend at Pocono, I walked up to Kurt and said, ‘Hey Kurt, I think it would be cool if you drove my car this weekend. I just don’t think that I can pull it off.’ He was like a kid in a candy store. His face lit up and I knew that he wanted to drive this car. I knew how bad he wanted to win and I’m glad to see his hard work and passion for the team pay off with a victory.”