|Kyle Busch grabs first career win in Fontana|
By Linda Przygodski - Motorsport.com
September 4, 2005
Kyle Busch survived a series of late race cautions and a green/white/checkered finish to secure his first career Nextel Cup series win. Busch led a race high 95 laps and managed to break his curse of second place finishes. The win makes Busch, at 20, the youngest all-time winner in the NASCAR cup series.
"Sometimes a blind squirrel can find his nuts," said an elated Busch.
Busch first took the lead on lap 152 and swapped the top spot a couple of times before getting back to the front at lap 244. An otherwise mind- numbing race at California Speedway leapt alive as the 250 lap event drew to a close. One car crashes and tedious racing plagued much of the races first 240 laps but with 10 to go the racing suddenly got interesting.
A debris caution at lap 240 saw most of the field pit but Robby Gordon and Jeff Green stayed out grabbing the two top spots. Busch was going to fake a pit, but suddenly the field all went with him, so the team decided to come in for service.
Busch was a little too hot entering his stall and crew chief Allen Gustafson quickly made the decision to take just two-tires. That was the race winning call of the event. On the restart Busch sailed past Gordon and Green but just as he looked poised for his first career win a multi-car crash set up a green/white/checkered finish.
At lap 244, Robby Gordon, Scott Riggs, Jeff Burton and Scott Wimmer got together setting up the three lap final battle. Busch jumped out to a healthy lead on the restart and easily wheeled the No. 5 Chevy to Victory Lane unchallenged.
"It's unbelievable," said Busch who donated his winnings to the Hurricane Katrina relief fund. "For how much joy we're able to share here. I still want to dedicate it to all those guys down there in Louisiana and Mississippi."
Greg Biffle was second. It was a great momentum race for the No. 16 Ford who had already locked a place in the chase for the championship coming into California. Biffle won the event here earlier this year.
"We wanted to win here tonight," Biffle said. "Kyle (Busch) got a great restart, great job by those guys tonight. They deserve it. Just a great job by my guys in the pit. We adjusted the heck out of that racecar tonight."
Brian Vickers earned his fifth top-5 of the season with third.
"Everyone did a great job," said Vickers. "It was a good night overall. I tried to sneak up on the leaders, but it took too long. After the last stop, I was able to pick off a bunch of guys, but in the end, we just ran out of time.
"But, I am happy with the result."
Carl Edwards and Tony Stewart complete the top five.
"We got back up to fourth and that is pretty exciting," said Edwards who sat on the pole and led until he spun the No. 99 Ford on lap 47. "I had a really good time. My guys did a great job. The pit stops were perfect."
Tony Stewart, Greg Biffle, Jimmie Johnson, Rusty Wallace and Mark Martin have locked positions one through five in the chase for the championship. Sixth place Kurt Busch will clinch as soon as he starts the race at Richmond.
Among those still mathematically alive are Jeremy Mayfield (-497), Carl Edwards (-556), Matt Kenseth (-631), Jamie McMurray (-641), Ryan Newman (- 642), Jeff Gordon (-671) and Elliott Sadler (-693).
"It was a hell of a night," said Gordon who fell from 10th to 12th in standings. "It's just one of those nights. You'll have those good nights when things will happen. We thought we had it at one time. I don't know if we just got a bad set of tires, over adjusted or what.
"We were looking really good and then things just went backwards. We struggled back and forth all night."
There were 11 cautions for 44 laps and 30 lead changes among 12 drivers.