It was the first of many races to come at Kentucky Speedway.Ã‚Â After a long court battle with the NASCAR sanctioning body, there was finally a race at Kentucky.Ã‚Â Drivers of course have been here many time to tire test as well as the Truck series and the Nationwide races held here before but this was the inaugural Sprint Cup race for this venue and it did not disappoint the sell out crowd with the on track action.Ã‚Â Kyle Busch set the standard now for this race track being the first driver to win a cup race here, and the first driver to win from the pole this season.Ã‚Â With qualifying rained out on Friday the field was set by the new rules, and the fastest practice times.
“I feel fortunate and blessed that weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re here in victory lane right now and in front of the great state of Kentucky Ã¢â‚¬â€œ all the fans that came out here today,” Busch said. “To win the inaugural one is pretty awesome.”
”This is cool man,” Busch said.Ã‚Â It was certainly a fun night for us,” he said. “CouldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t be happier to be in victory lane. This one ranks right up there with the best of them.Ã‚Â It’s certainly good to know we’re figuring things out.Ã‚Â I’m hoping (No. 100) comes at Loudon (next week)”
As the race wound down it was Busch and Johnson lining up for the final restart but David Reutimann made a charge from the second row passing Jimmie Johnson and challenging for the win but was still Busch by 0.179 seconds at the finish line.
“It feels great, it feels good,” said Reutimann, who drives the No. 00 Toyota for Michael Waltrip Racing. “Second is still second, but itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s certainly a lot closer than we have been in the last month or so. So it felt really good.”
Johnson, who looked really good for the win on the final restart, made a move to get ahead of Busch and it looked like he was going to get there until Busch came on strong in turn 3 and took the lead for the final, and most important time, of the night.
“If I could have stayed inside of him, (it) would have been one heck of a finish to the end,” Johnson said. “He cleared me and went on. Then I had my hands full with the 00 (Reutimann). I think he probably was the best car at the end. If he would have cleared me sooner, I think he would have been up there with (Busch) racing for the win.”
For most of the race it had been looking as if it was going to be the 18 and the #2 Miller Lite Doge entry of Brad Kesolowski fighting at the finish line but a series of restarts at the end kept moving Brad backwards through the line as he ended up on the inside line.
“At the end, the restarts are just a crapshoot,” Keselowski said. “If you get the bottom lane, you’re going backwards. I kept getting in an odd position and just kept getting on the bottom lane. Every restart just kept playing against us. It was a great effort by this race team and that makes me proud. We led laps and were competitive all night.
“So I’m proud of the effort of this race team, but disappointed in the results. It’s just a product of double-file restarts. That’s why drivers hate them — because some tracks are great and they [help us] put on a good show, and then there are tracks like this where it just completely screws your day.”
“It was an incredible Miller Lite Dodge [Saturday night],” Keselowski said. “I led a bunch of laps and I have to thank my team for that. Everyone at Penske Racing has a lot to be proud of. But I would have liked to have gotten a better finish from where we ended up.”
“It was a combination of the bumps on the race track and the being on the bottom [on the restarts],” he said. “When you restart on the bottom lane, not only don’t you not have air on the nose, you don’t have air on the right side of the car. The right-side [air] is what keeps these cars from spinning out. When you don’t have that air, you’re awful.”
This win also puts Kyle Busch up 2 spots and into the points lead with 4 points of Carl Edwards and 10 points over last weeks points leader Kevin Harvick who finished 16th for the night and dropped 2 spots to third in the standings.Ã‚Â Dale Earnhardt Jr. dropped another spot to 8th after a catastrophic tire failure, blowing out his left front tire with only 14 laps to go, moving him back deep into the field to 30th as the last car on the lead lap.Ã‚Â Tony Stewart moved up one spot in the standings to 11th just outside the chase spots, and with no wins so far this season Stewart runs a chance of missing the chase with only 8 races left in the regular season before the Chase.