SPRINT Dodge Challenger 500Final
Kyle Busch wins Dodge Challenger 500May 11, 2008 - 4:46 AM DARLINGTON, South Carolina (Ticker) -- A week after causing a controversial finish, Kyle Busch took all the drama out of Saturday's Dodge Challenger 500 at Darlington Raceway.
In a Toyota, Busch finished nearly four seconds ahead of Carl Edwards' Ford on the egg-shaped, 1.366-mile superspeedway to post his third NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victory of the season and seventh of his career.
"This is pretty awesome," said Busch, who led 169 of the 367 laps. "Darlington showed how tough it is tonight, and it's always gonna be tough. I just have to thank my team."
Jeff Gordon was third, followed by Dale Earnhardt Jr. and David Ragan.
It was a quiet finish in comparison to last week's race at Richmond, when Busch and Earnhardt were involved in a late-race incident, allowing Clint Bowyer to speed past both for the victory. Busch managed to finish second while Earnhardt wound up 15th after spinning out.
On this night, Busch had to overcome brake issues, loose lug nuts and several scrapes against the wall.
"How many times did I hit the wall? I don't know, one, two, three, four, probably five or six," Busch said. "I've got to thank my team, they build them as strong as they can for me 'cause I like to knock the walls down with them."
Even though he was leading, Busch complained about his brakes on lap 136 and how they were "the most pathetic he's seen in his life."
Six laps later he pitted under caution, but was forced to come back to pit road because of a loose lug nut. As a result, he was running 23rd when the race restarted.
By lap 163, Busch charged back from his pit-road mishap and moved into 12th after passing Matt Kenseth. It took 107 more laps for Busch to race his way back to the lead, passing Gordon.
"I can't tell you how many times (Busch) tried to give the race away by slamming into the wall, his right side was destroyed," Gordon said.
From there, Busch was able to retain his lead despite his battered car and cruised to the win.
"We're gonna go through a lot of Mac tools fixing this thing this week," Busch said. "But that's OK. They gave me such a race car."
With the win Busch increased his lead to 79 points over Jeff Burton, who finished 10th. Earnhardt remained third, 134 points behind Busch.
Edwards started 36th but was able to work his way through the field to finish second.
"My hat's off to Kyle and Steve (Addington, crew chief) - they had the fastest car," Edwards said. "We wanted to beat them so bad. I hate second place, but I guess it's good for points."
Four Roush Fenway Racing drivers finished in the top 11. Besides Edwards and Ragan, Kenseth was sixth and Jamie McMurray placed 11th.
The other Roush driver, pole-sitter Greg Biffle, suffered a broken timing belt and finished last despite leading 95 laps.
The belt broke after Biffle was forced to overcome two loose wheels.
"It is really frustrating, but, you know what, I've just come accustomed to expecting it because it's just week after week it's something," Biffle said. "Something breaks. Something falls off. We've got wheels loose. We had wheels loose twice tonight. I don't know.
"I know everybody is trying their hardest. The guys are digging their hearts out, but the fact of the matter is in this sport, in this day and age, you cannot leave the wheels loose - not at a place this fast."
The race was run in record time, thanks to the "Lady in Black's" new blacktop that replaced the rough asphalt prior to the season. It was the track's first re-paving since 1995.
Busch's winning speed was 140.350 miles per hour, breaking the record of 139.958 set by the late Dale Earnhardt in 1993.
- Dodge Challenger 500 Preview May 10