Busch scores the Hat Trick, Wins at the Brickyard

3 months ago oakpark 0

Kyle Busch remained perfect this weekend.. Sweeping both races this weekend at the historic Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
“This is awesome!” Kyle Busch screamed as he crossed the finish line at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and continued a run that has grown from extraordinary to downright other-worldly.

 

Busch held off Kevin Harvick and Joey Logano during three late-race restarts, Busch was able to keep Logano in his rear view mirror to the finish line, winning by .332 seconds to take Sunday’s Crown Royal presents the Jeff Kyle 400 at The Brickyard.

The victory was Busch’s fourth in the last five NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races, all coming after an 11-event absence to start the season, the result of a broken right leg and left foot suffered in a crash during the Feb. 21 NASCAR XFINITY Series race at Daytona International Speedway.

 

“I guess Kyle’s back,” a disappointed Logano said after he race, uttering perhaps the biggest understatement in the modern era of stock car racing.

Harvick finished third, followed by Martin Truex Jr. and Denny Hamlin. Clint Bowyer, Matt Kenseth, Kurt Busch, Kyle Larson and Brad Keselowski completed the top 10.

 

Harvick had the car to beat, but was low on fuel at the end of the race. “Yeah, we had a great day. I think everybody did a great job, just in that, I guess, second or third to last restart where the 22 and 18 were able to get hooked up and kind of drive by us and I lost control of the race there and didn’t really have what I wanted on the restarts once the 18 got control, the speed was too high and I spun the tires on the next one, and just didn’t get the restarts all put together like I needed to. Just didn’t all pan out there at the end, but everybody did a great job all day.”

But the story of the day… weekend.. And the season has been Busch’s near perfect performance since his Daytona accident.

To the suggestion that the accident may have provided additional impetus to his comeback, Kyle Busch replied, “I just think that maybe I’ve found my happy place.

“Happy Gilmore (a movie character) – he found his happy place and he just dominated at the end, so maybe I’ve found that, too. Nothing better than being in Victory Lane. Nothing better than being in Victory Lane for one of the biggest wins of my career.

“I just want to celebrate with my team, my wife and my family.”

A quick inventory of Busch’s accomplishments shows that the driver of the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota is the first to sweep both the Sprint Cup and XFINITY Series races at Indianapolis. Busch won the Lilly Diabetes 250 XFINITY race on Saturday with a last-lap pass of Ryan Blaney.

With the win, Busch gave Toyota its first victory at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, breaking a string of 12 straight wins by Chevrolet at the 2.5-mile track.

Kyle Busch won his 33rd NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race of his career and continued his relentless advance toward the top 30 in the standings and consequent eligibility for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup playoffs. In what now seems a done deal, Busch has six races to overcome a 23-point deficit to 30th-place Justin Allgaier.

“We’re a championship contending team,” Busch asserted. “We just have to be championship eligible. Thank the good Lord for bringing me back when he did. Obviously, thanking him for all the success I’ve had in my life, where I’m at and all my blessings.

“To get me back as quick as he did, to persevere through that and that deficit. We’re still continuing on. We can’t have bad days. I don’t know that any of that matters—we’re going to bask in this moment here.”

Perhaps most astounding is Busch’s ability to win three straight races at three different race tracks using three different competition packages: low-downforce at Kentucky with a 3.5-inch spoiler; standard 2015 rules at New Hampshire with a six-inch spoiler; and high-drag at Indianapolis with a nine-inch spoiler and one-inch wicker.

Logano fell just short of giving team owner Roger Penske, a 16-time Indianapolis 500 winner, and his first Sprint Cup victory at The Brickyard.

“You come to Indy, and it’s all about the win,” said Logano, who took the checkered flag in the season-opening Daytona 500 this year. “You either win or finish last. It doesn’t really matter anywhere in-between. At least that’s the way I race when I come to a track like this. I feel like, at Daytona and Indy, it’s all about getting trophies and rings and making out with bricks.

“Overall, it was a good day, but second hurts. It always does.”

Jeff Gordon’s last race at The Brickyard as a full-time Cup driver—and his hopes for an unprecedented sixth victory at the 2.5-mile track—ended on Lap 50. Racing to the inside of Harvick, Bowyer’s Toyota got loose and spun.

Gordon checked up, trying to avoid Bowyer’s car, but the No. 24 Chevrolet swerved out of control into the outside wall in Turn 3. The resulting damage ended any hope of another Brickyard trophy for the four-time Sprint Cup champion.

“I was underneath Kasey Kahne and we were just racing for position,” Gordon said as his crew worked feverishly in the garage to repair the car. “I saw Bowyer get sideways. I don’t know what caused it. I and Kasey were trying to check up to avoid it. I don’t know if he got loose or we just both got loose together. Then I just lost control and got in the wall.”
Kyle Busch the Winner, kissing the Bricks and smiles with the owner Gibbs
photos by Dan Peters
Gordon finished 42nd and lost one spot to 11th in the series standings. Without a win this season, Gordon is in jeopardy of missing the Chase and can ill-afford another day like Sunday.

This was the first real test of the new changes NASCAR implemented starting at Kentucky. How did the changes to the cars affect the racing today? Harvick summed it up best.

“I think everybody put in a lot of effort to really try to make everything a lot better, spent a lot of money, but I don’t know that we accomplished everything that we were looking to accomplish. Cars are extremely hot inside. That was probably the biggest surprise that crept up on everybody. I know everybody spent a lot of money to get the cars here and put a lot of time and effort into putting the puzzle together. I know my team did a lot of extra work to come to this race after we had already come here and tested and already spent that money to come here and test for a few days, and then to come back and have to race something different was a huge undertaking for the teams for a huge science project that probably didn’t really change that much. But everybody tried real hard, and in the end, I think our goal is more drafting and more pack racing, so we’ll see if we can get to that.”

Chase Elliott in the Napa Chevrolet gained more seat time in his preparation to take the over Jeff Gordon’s seat next year, finishing 18th.

NASCAR moved up the start time by ten minutes because of impending weather later in the afternoon. Good thing they did. Shortly after Busch kissed the “Bricks”, the shy let loose with heavy rain.

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Race –
Crown Royal Presents the Jeff Kyle 400 at the Brickyard
Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Speedway, Indiana
Sunday, July 26, 2015

1. (9) Kyle Busch, Toyota, 164, $424191.
2. (2) Joey Logano, Ford, 164, $367408.
3. (6) Kevin Harvick, Chevrolet, 164, $356825.
4. (13) Martin Truex Jr., Chevrolet, 164, $283170.
5. (17) Denny Hamlin, Toyota, 164, $249875.
6. (7) Clint Bowyer, Toyota, 164, $239498.
7. (23) Matt Kenseth, Toyota, 164, $236326.
8. (14) Kurt Busch, Chevrolet, 164, $206615.
9. (5) Kyle Larson, Chevrolet, 164, $217073.
10. (31) Brad Keselowski, Ford, 164, $233856.
11. (43) Ryan Newman, Chevrolet, 164, $211040.
12. (30) Ryan Blaney(i), Ford, 164, $168540.
13. (1) Carl Edwards, Toyota, 164, $179740.
14. (11) Paul Menard, Chevrolet, 164, $174640.
15. (12) Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet, 164, $209976.
16. (10) Jamie McMurray, Chevrolet, 164, $194531.
17. (18) Sam Hornish Jr., Ford, 164, $194660.
18. (28) Chase Elliott(i), Chevrolet, 164, $158515.
19. (20) Greg Biffle, Ford, 164, $192723.
20. (16) Casey Mears, Chevrolet, 164, $186748.
21. (3) David Ragan, Toyota, 164, $188654.
22. (8) Dale Earnhardt Jr., Chevrolet, 164, $173840.
23. (26) AJ Allmendinger, Chevrolet, 164, $187523.
24. (27) Kasey Kahne, Chevrolet, 164, $170365.
25. (25) Austin Dillon, Chevrolet, 164, $191701.
26. (24) Landon Cassill(i), Chevrolet, 164, $153590.
27. (15) Danica Patrick, Chevrolet, 164, $160490.
28. (4) Tony Stewart, Chevrolet, 164, $179854.
29. (37) David Gilliland, Ford, 163, $172948.
30. (34) Michael Annett, Chevrolet, 162, $151740.
31. (32) Michael McDowell, Ford, 162, $146685.
32. (40) Matt DiBenedetto #, Toyota, 162, $161843.
33. (41) Cole Whitt, Ford, 162, $155482.
34. (39) Brett Moffitt #, Ford, 162, $145635.
35. (29) Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Ford, 161, $153385.
36. (36) Brian Scott(i), Chevrolet, 161, $145285.
37. (21) Justin Allgaier, Chevrolet, 161, $153148.
38. (22) Aric Almirola, Ford, 161, $176386.
39. (38) JJ Yeley(i), Toyota, 160, $135450.
40. (33) Trevor Bayne, Ford, Accident, 155, $176025.
41. (42) Timmy Hill(i), Ford, 111, $127450.
42. (19) Jeff Gordon, Chevrolet, 110, $171986.
43. (35) Alex Bowman, Chevrolet, Engine, 78, $119950.

Average Speed of Race Winner: 131.656 mph.
Time of Race: 03 Hrs, 06 Mins, 51 Secs.
Margin of Victory: 0.332 Seconds.

Caution Flags: 9 for 36 laps.
Lead Changes: 16 among 6 drivers.
Lap Leaders: C. Edwards 0; J. Logano 1-11; C. Edwards 12-31; K. Harvick 32-45; J. Logano 46-61; K. Harvick 62-83; B. Keselowski 84; Kyle Busch 85-92; K. Harvick 93-120; D. Ragan 121-123; B. Keselowski 124; D. Ragan 125-126; B. Keselowski 127-141; K. Harvick 142-152; Kyle Busch 153-161; J. Logano 162; Kyle Busch 163-164.

Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led): K. Harvick 4 times for 75 laps; J. Logano 3 times for 28 laps; C. Edwards 1 time for 20 laps; Kyle Busch 3 times for 19 laps; B. Keselowski 3 times for 17 laps; D. Ragan 2 times for 5 laps.

Top 16 in Points: K. Harvick – 777; J. Logano – 708; D. Earnhardt Jr. – 677; J. Johnson – 675; M. Truex Jr. – 668; B. Keselowski – 638; M. Kenseth – 615; Kurt Busch – 612; J. Mcmurray – 602; D. Hamlin – 591; J. Gordon – 575; R. Newman – 563; P. Menard – 558; K. Kahne – 558; C. Bowyer – 538; C. Edwards – 519.