BUSCH Dollar General 300Final
Burton captures Dollar General 300Oct 13, 2007 - 3:48 AM By Bruce Martin PA SportsTicker Contributing Editor
CONCORD, North Carolina (Ticker) - Jeff Burton went from 'worst to first" to score his fourth NASCAR Busch Series win of the season in Friday night's Dollar General 300 at Lowe's Motor Speedway.
Burton, who had to drop to the rear of the field because of an engine change, didn't let that affect his drive to victory as he easily defeated Kyle Busch by 1.598 seconds. It was his 26th career Busch Series victory and his third Busch win at Charlotte.
Burton won the race with an average speed of 120.268 miles per hour.
"We broke an engine on Thursday and I can't remember the last time we broke an engine in the Busch car," Burton said. "They changed the engine, oil tank and oil lines and we went out cold turkey. Whenever you start in the back and win a race it's a real big deal.
"It was a fun night."
The top-three finishers were in Chevrolets with Dale Earnhardt Jr. finishing third.
Aric Almirola was fourth and Denny Hamlin finished fifth, giving Chevrolet a top-five sweep.
Burton hit the gas pedal when the green flag waved with 12 laps to go and Earnhardt on his tail, and his Chevrolet was too strong for Earnhardt as he began to pull away.
"That caution gave us enough time to cool the tires a little," said Burton's team owner, Richard Childress. "That allowed us to pull away for the win."
Kyle Busch moved into second place when Earnhardt's car began to fade with 10 laps to go.
"It was a good night for us," Busch said. "We were able to get the top side to work for us and then everybody else tried that. We tried to battle with Jr. and with Jeff Burton but we didn't have enough to get up there at the end."
Earnhardt preferred to run the high line around the treacherous Lowe's Motor Speedway and with a healthy dose of Speedi-Dri on the track to clean up rear-end grease from another car, the Chevy driver was unable to keep up.
"The Speedi-Dri was all over the corner but there was still grip up there," Earnhardt said. "That caution was so long it gave (Burton) a chance to get his tires cooled off. After that, he just took off and it was turning really good. That's where he beat everybody. That's the first race where I felt like I knew I was going to win and didn't."
It was also the end of another chapter for Dale Earnhardt Jr. driving for Dale Earnhardt Inc.
"That was my last Busch race with DEI," he said. "It's always cool to win and I was trying really, really hard to win. I think I have a good chance again tomorrow (in the Nextel Cup Bank of America 500)."
Carl Edwards could have clinched the 2007 Busch Series title, but he was involved in a multi-car crash with fellow Cup "Chasers" Jimmie Johnson and Matt Kenseth on lap 132.
"Jimmie got loose," Edwards said. "I was going to miss him, but somebody just got me in the left rear. I did the best I could to save it because I didn't want to just lock it down right there. So many guys were racing so hard I didn't want to get hit and I ended up wrecking it."
Edwards will have to wait until the Busch race at Memphis in two weeks before he can possibly wrap up the title.
"We had the fastest car," Edwards said. "All the way to the infield care center I thought to myself, 'Man, we should have stayed out in the lead,' and then I just saw the leaders wrecked, so I don't know if there was a safe place out there on that deal.
"It's Friday the 12th - that's close enough to bad luck."
Edwards has a 638-point lead over David Reutimann, who finished 12th, for the Busch driver's title. But Richard Childress Racing has a 116-point lead over the No. 20 entry of Joe Gibbs's Racing and 180 points over Edwards' No. 60 Ford at Roush Fenway Racing, setting up the possibility of different teams winning the driver's and owners title.
The only other time that happened was in 2003, when Brian Vickers won the driver's title for Hendrick Motorsports and Childress won the owner's title when Kevin Harvick and Johnny Sauter were running the Busch Series for RCR.
"Any time you can win any kind of championship it gives the guys at the shop some pride to guys at the shop," Childress said. "A few years ago when Brian Vickers won the driver's championship and we won the owner's championship it was still special. And, our party was bigger than theirs so that was special, too."
Burton led the race one time for 61 laps, just one more lap than Edwards, who was in front three times. Greg Biffle started on the pole and led six times for 53 laps.
- Dollar General 300 Preview Oct 12