Kurt Busch Clocks in with a Record-Setting NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Martinsville Victory
MARTINSVILLE, Va. - Kyle Busch captured his second NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Martinsville Speedway victory in his No. 41 Stewart-Haas Racing machine and set a new NASCAR record by becoming the sixth different race winner in the opening six events of a series season in the Chase Era by taking the checkered flag 0.263 of a second Jimmie Johnson in the No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports ride.
"I didn't know if we'd be able to do it. The No. 48 car is king here - him or the 24. The old theory is if you can't beat 'em, join 'em. We have a Hendrick chassis prepared by Stewart-Haas Racing. Hendrick Motorsports and Chevrolet, thanks to those guys.
"I've been on this journey for awhile. Every time you come to Martinsville you draw a line through it; like 'there's no way I'll be able to challenge those Hendrick guys or challenge for a top-10'.
"Stewart-Haas gave me a team to do it. Now, I know what I need to do on Saturdays: don't even practice. Just show up and race on Sunday. That way, I won't dial out the car! It's a dream come true to have Gene Haas call you and tell you that he wants you to drive and he wants to go for trophies and wins. It's an unbelievable feeling to deliver," Busch said after collecting his first series victory since Oct. 2, 2011 at Dover International Speedway along with his 25th in the series through 477 starts since 2000.
Busch raced 13th on Lap 125 of the 500-mile short-track test. He worked his No. 41 through the pack and to the lead for the first of three times on the afternoon by passing Dale Earnhardt Jr.' s No. 88 on Lap 243. The No. 41 gave up the lead to Johnson's No. 48 on 245 but remained stout and within range of the leader the remainder of the way.
The No. 41 rode in third on Lap 375. Busch guided it to the lead and past Johnson's No. 48 with 27 laps remaining. Johnson took the lead back 10 laps later, but would be forced to battle a loose racecar through the closing laps.
Busch stayed in the battle, drove past Johnson on Lap 490 and led the remaining 11 laps.
Johnson, who held the lead for a race-best 11 times for a race-best 296 laps, closed out his 25th Martinsville NSCS event with his best result of the season along with his second top-five and fourth top-10 finish of his 14th NSCS campaign.
"It had been real loose and we were hanging on there. When he got back by me, I was hopeful he would use his stuff up and I would get back by him. I did and I couldn't hold him off. I just kept getting looser and looser. That's all I had. I was just a little too loose to get the win. I hate it. We had a very fast racecar," Johnson said.
Dale Earnhardt Jr., Joey Logano and Marcos Ambrose completed the race top five. Earnhardt assumes the series championship lead after picking up his fourth top-five finish of the season.
The series returns to our speedway June 28 for the fourth Quaker State 400 presented by Advance Auto Parts. Single-race tickets, weekend ticket packages, weekend camping and infield Kroger Fan Zone passes can be purchased through the respective pages of this website, by calling (859) 578-2300 or by visiting our ticket office at 1 Speedway Drive in Sparta, Ky., just off Interstate 71 Exit 57 and Ky. Hwy. 35 N.
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