Solid finish allows Kyle Busch to gain on top 12
Monday, Aug. 10, 2009
WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. - Time is running out for Kyle Busch to qualify for the Chase for the Sprint Cup.
But more results like his fourth-place finish in Monday’s rain-delayed Heluva Good! at the Glen could well change the course of his season.
Busch was passed by eventual winner Tony Stewart with 24 laps remaining at Watkins Glen International and nearly drove of the course while trying to regain the lead. He had to settle for fourth but was able to shave off nearly half of the deficit he faced to qualify for the Chase. There are now four races left to set the field.
“That’s what we needed. We needed a solid day,” said Busch’s crew chief, Steve Addington. “We wanted to win it and we put ourselves in position to win it.”
Busch was in good position - with plenty of fuel unlike some of the other race leaders - for a long green-flag run to the finish.
A violent six-car wreck on Lap 63 required a nearly 20-minute red flag for NASCAR to clean up debris. On the restart on Lap 67, Stewart got around Busch for the lead after the first turn.
“We sat there on that red flag and I don’t know whether the (air) pressures got down on the tires and it just wouldn’t turn there on the restart,” Addington said. “Kyle got a little frustrated, but he calmed down and got us a good, solid finish.”
Busch remains 13th in the series standings but trails 12th-place Matt Kenseth by 58 points. He had trailed Greg Biffle, who was in 12th entering Monday’s race, by 101.
“That wore me out right there. I could barely hang onto fourth,” Busch said immediately after the race. “It was great for all the team guys. They did a great job this weekend.
“We fought hard. It was three times harder than I had to drive here last year, and last year we spanked them.”