August 10, 2008
Kyle Busch crowned "King of the Road" with victory at the Glen
WATKINS GLEN, NY (August 10, 2008) — Kyle Busch completed his road course dominance in 2008 with an incredible eighth win of the season in Sunday's running of the Centurion Boats at the Glen at Watkins Glen International. After leading the 43-car field to the green flag on Sunday, Busch led a race-high 52 laps and held off teammate Tony Stewart in the closing laps to pick up the victory. With today's amazing performance, Busch has deservedly been crowned the new king of road courses, sweeping both Infineon and Watkins Glen in the Sprint Cup Series and also winning a Nationwide Series race in Mexico City.
"I knew he was going to be hard to beat," Busch said of his teammate, Tony Stewart. "I was racing against the same stuff with Tony and Joe Gibbs Racing and Toyota so I knew it was going to be hard to beat Tony. He's such a great friend and such a great teammate and I'm really going to hate to see him leave at the end of the year. He has been so fun to work with this year. I have to thank him, everyone at JGR (Joe Gibbs Racing), all of M&M'S®, Pedigree, Combos. I have to thank the fans because they are the ones that make us race. Everybody out there — I appreciate your support."
The road to victory was again a windy one for Busch and his No. 18 M&M'S Team, made to look easy with a great race car, great communication and great race strategy. The weekend started off with rain showers that washed out practice and qualifying on Friday afternoon. The team got a scare on Saturday, fearing they might have to change engines when Busch missed a shift in practice, driving the tachometer to 11,000 rpm's. After a lengthy diagnosis, the team was able to keep the engine in place and retain their first-place starting spot.
Busch led the field to green but immediately relinquished the lead to Dale Earnhardt, Jr. on lap two. After giving up second place to Jimmie Johnson in the same section of the course, he rode around in third until a green-flag pit stop on lap 23. After pit stops cycled through, Busch moved up to second on lap 29 and regained the lead on the following lap.
Jimmie Johnson began to put a little pressure on Busch at the halfway point, but a flat tire on lap 42 forced him into the pits and widened the margin between first and second. With Tony Stewart now behind him, Busch pulled aside on lap 53 and let his teammate lead a lap to earn five bonus points towards the Chase. Shortly after, Busch pulled into the pits for his last pit stop of the race on lap 55. A few small adjustments and he was on his way.
Busch grabbed the lead for the fourth and final time on lap 65 when Dale Earnhardt, Jr. came in to pit. From there, Busch steadily pulled away from the competition each and every lap. A 43-minute red-flag stoppage with six laps to go delayed the inevitable. A major wreck in turn 11 involving nine cars required an extensive clean-up. But once the green flag was back out, Busch finished his day where he started, in the number one position.
"This year has just been phenomenal," Busch exclaimed. "I just can't thank Toyota enough; I can't thank the guys at Joe Gibbs Racing (enough). It was fun to be able to race out there and I had a great time racing with my friend and my teammate, Tony Stewart there. I'm really going to miss seeing him at the end of the year and wish he would have stayed."
With the win, Busch clinched the top spot in the 10-race Chase to the Sprint Cup Championship. He also set a new NASCAR record for three road-course wins in a season. Busch extended his current points lead to 242 over second place, and increased his win total to 16 for the season across NASCAR's top three divisions.
Behind Busch's eighth checkered flag of the season, Joe Gibbs Racing teammate, Tony Stewart, finished in second place. With the strong finish, Stewart jumped up two spots in the points standings to seventh. Saturday's winner in the Nationwide race at Watkins Glen, Marcos Ambrose, again surprised fans with a third-place result on Sunday. Juan Pablo Montoya finished in fourth, while Martin Truex, Jr. finished the day in fifth.
Denny Hamlin helped to round out a strong day for Joe Gibbs Racing. After a one-two finish by Busch and Stewart, Hamlin brought his No. 11 Toyota home in eighth place. By doing so, he moved up one more place in the points standings to ninth.
The Sprint Cup Series returns to Michigan International Speedway next weekend for the second time this season. ESPN will carry live television broadcast of the 3M Performance 400 at 1:00pm EDT on Sunday, August 17, with the green flag scheduled to wave at 2:00pm. The Motor Racing Network (MRN) will carry simultaneous radio coverage.