Monday, May 17, 2010

Kyle Busch Propers After Johnson's Pit Road Blunder for Dover Win

Photo Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR

Entering the 12th race of the 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup season, the Autism Speaks 400 at Dover International Speedway started Sunday on the 1-mile concrete oval on a date prior to the two-week Charlotte extravaganza.

Swiping the lead from pole sitting #56 NAPA Toyota of Martin Truex Jr on the start, Kasey Kahne in the #9 Budweiser Ford led the opening 21 laps at Dover International Speedway. Kahne's 1st place would be challenged by his future Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jimmie Johnson. Upon taking the lead, Johnson's early race pace in the #48 Chevrolet Impala echoed as a doomsday signal to the rest of the NASCAR Sprint Cup field.

The only car able to hold a candle to the #48 Hendrick Motorsport was unsurprisingly a member of the Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota team. Kyle Busch in the #18 M&M Toyota Camry would first take the lead of the race during pit stops made under the first yellow flag of the Autism Speaks 400. Holding the top position since the lap 58 restart under green, the long-run stamina of the #48 Lowes Chevrolet proved too much for Busch as Johnson blasted by the Toyota on lap 84.

Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images

With only 5 cautions for 24 laps during the Autism Speaks 400 at Dover, drivers and teams who prepped for long runs possessed a competitive edge for the event. Vehicles dealing with handling issues such as the #88 Chevrolet of Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Red Bull Racing's #83 car wheeled by Casey Mears had a long 400 mile race ahead of them. Of the 5 cautions, 4 were dedicated to single car incidents involving either the #47 Toyota of Marcus Ambrose or the #77 Dodge driven by Sam Hornish Jr. As Hornish brought out the first caution on lap 55, Ambrose brush with the turn 3 wall for the second caution 110 laps later.

Finding trouble moving into the top 20 after a 27th place start, Dale Earnhardt Jr's problems in the #88 Chevrolet approached an unusual turn for the worse when the Hendrick Motorsport driver reported issues turning left his race car. After 6 laps of inspection by the #88 pit crew, Dale Earnhardt Jr returned to the 1 mile race track. Following the extended stay on pit road, there was no report for a reason why Earnhardt Jr's #88 car experienced steering problem.

Leading 225 of 362 laps entering into the final round of race pit stops, Jimmie Johnson had just snatched the lead from Kyle Busch once again 7 laps prior to his stop for tires and fuel. Pitting alongside with 2nd place Kyle Busch, the Hendrick Motorsport and Joe Gibbs Racing crews were in a potential showdown for the race win at Dover. With Busch having already attended pit road for an outstanding stop from his Joe Gibbs Racing crew, Johnson's #48 Chevrolet was dropped off the jack in a near side-by-side drag race with the #18 Toyota. While Jimmie Johnson prevailed over Kyle Busch initially, NASCAR quickly identified the #48 car sped leaving pit road. With Johnson required to serve a drive-through penalty, Kyle Busch went uncontested for the final 35 laps to win the 2010 Autism Speaks 400 at Dover International Speedway. Kyle Busch's 2nd victory of the 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup season, the Joe Gibbs Racing driver is sitting 3rd in the overall series points.

Richard Childress Racing's #31 Chevrolet of Jeff Burton finished 2nd at Dover for his 3rd consecutive top-10 result. Matt Kenseth in the #17 Ford rode a long road from 21th place start to can the 3rd place finisher of the Autism Speaks 400. Denny Hamlin and David Reutimann completed the top-5 in the finishing order at Dover International Speedway.

Serving a costly pit road penalty, Jimmie Johnson would be forced to finish 16th losing more points in the Sprint Cup championship points to leader Kevin Harvick. Losing the race to Kyle Busch, Johnson would also lose his 2nd place spot in points to the driver of the #18 Toyota.

Turning to Charlotte Motor Speedway for the two weeks, the upcoming race is the Sprint All-Star Race on Saturday night of May 22nd, the next points race for the NASCAR Sprint Cup series will be the Coke 600 on Sunday May 30th.

2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup
Autism Speaks 400
Race Results

Pos # | Car # | Driver | Sponsor/Car Make
1) 18 Kyle Busch M&M's Toyota
2) 31 Jeff Burton Caterpillar Chevrolet
3) 17 Matt Kenseth Crown Royal Black Ford
4) 11 Denny Hamlin FedEx Freight Toyota
5) 00 David Reutimann Aaron's Dream Machine Toyota
6) 16 Greg Biffle 3M Ford
7) 29 Kevin Harvick Shell/Pennzoil Chevrolet
8) 99 Carl Edwards Aflac Ford
9) 14 Tony Stewart Office Depot/Old Spice Chevrolet
10) 20 Joey Logano Home Depot Toyota
11) 24 Jeff Gordon DuPont Chevrolet
12) 56 Martin Truex Jr. NAPA Toyota
13) 39 Ryan Newman U.S. Army Chevrolet
14) 43 A J Allmendinger Richard Petty Hall of Fame Ford
15) 5 Mark Martin Chevrolet
16) 48 Jimmie Johnson Lowe's Chevrolet
17) 33 Clint Bowyer Cheerios/Hamburger Helper Chevrolet
18) 12 Brad Keselowski No. 12 Penske Dodge Dodge
19) 2 Kurt Busch Miller Lite Dodge
20) 9 Kasey Kahne Budweiser Ford
21) 98 Paul Menard Zecol/Menards Ford
22) 83 Casey Mears Red Bull Toyota
23) 82 Scott Speed Red Bull Toyota
24) 78 Regan Smith Furniture Row Racing Chevrolet
25) 38 David Gilliland Taco Bell Ford 395 88
26) 6 David Ragan UPS Ford
27) 26 David Stremme Air National Guard Ford
28) 19 Elliott Sadler Stanley Ford
29) 34 Travis Kvapil Long John Silver's-Baja Fish Taco Ford
30) 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. AMP Energy/National Guard Chevrolet
31) 7 Robby Gordon BAMVIP/James Otto/Whitney Duncan Toyota
32) 1 Jamie McMurray Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Chevrolet
33) 37 Kevin Conway # Extenze Ford
34) 77 Sam Hornish Jr. Mobil 1 Dodge
35) 42 Juan Pablo Montoya Target Chevrolet
36) 47 Marcos Ambrose A&P/MDA Toyota
37) 46 J J Yeley Whitney Motorsports Dodge
38) 87 Joe Nemechek NEMCO Motorsports Toyota
39) 71 Bobby Labonte TRG Motorsports Chevrolet
40) 09 Mike Bliss Phoenix Construction/Graceway Chevrolet
41) 66 Dave Blaney PRISM Motorsports Toyota
42) 55 Michael McDowell PRISM Motorsports Toyota
43) 36 Johnny Sauter Tommy Baldwin Racing Chevrolet

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