Follow me on

Twitter Feed Facebook Feed RSS Feed Linked In Youtube

Kurt Busch beats kid brother Kyle to win the Texas 500, but it's a bad day for Jimmie Johnson, and suddenly it's a title chase again

After the crash on lap three of the Texas 500, NASCAR tour leader Jimmie Johnson heads to the garage for repairs. (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)


   By Mike Mulhern

   FORT WORTH, Texas
   Certainly couldn't call this one boring.
   Confusing, yes. And a bit wild at times too.
   But certainly not boring.
   Kurt Busch impressed the new Dodge execs (whoever and wherever they were over the weekend) by showing Dodge power and good fuel mileage too in stretching his last fill-up till the finish to beat brother Kyle Busch and win Sunday's Texas 500.
   However the real drama may be in the big picture: Tour leader Jimmie Johnson, who seemed a shoe-in for a fourth straight NASCAR championship when the race began, got knocked into the wall only three laps into the race, and his lucky streak ran out.
   Johnson wound up 38th and let rivals – and teammates – Mark Martin (fourth) and Jeff Gordon (13th) back in the title game with two races to go. Johnson lost more than 100 points. Martin, who Phoenix in the spring, goes there this week just 73 points down; Gordon is now 112 down.
   "This could take place at the start of the race at Phoenix…that's what worries me," Johnson said. "It's an ouch. It wasn't as bad as it could have been – we got the car fixed, and Mark didn't win.
   "It's sports, and you've got to play the game. It's a good lesson for everyone. On the media side too. The possibility for this was out there….and it's still out there."


  Kurt, 'the other Busch,' outfoxes his brother to win (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)


Kyle Busch had the dominant car, and older brother Kurt had the only car that could really do anything with him. But the 3-1/2-hour race turned into a gas mileage run at the finish, with several drivers running out (like Dale Earnhardt Jr., while having a good run), and Kyle Busch finally had to pit while leading with three laps go. That left the game to Kurt, who finished a whopping 25 seconds ahead of runner-up Denny Hamlin, in front of a crowd NASCAR called 167,000 on a warm if cloudy late afternoon.
   "I knew what we had for fuel mileage. I trust those guys," Kurt Busch said.
   "That's the first time Kyle and I have raced together for the win like this. I knocked him off the weekend sweep, and so it was sort of bittersweet because I was pulling for him."
   It was also bittersweet in another way, with crew chief Pat Tryson leaving Kurt Busch at the end of the season, just 13 days hence, and moving to the Michael Waltrip camp. "I don't know what the future holds, and neither does Pat. So we have to give it the best we can right now," Busch said.
   Kyle Busch, who led the most laps and was going for his third straight win of the weekend after romping to a Truck win Friday night and a Nationwide win Saturday afternoon, finished 11th. He left the track after the race without comment.
    Johnson, who got collected in a three-wide situation when he was on the outside of David Reutimann and Sam Hornish, kept his cool through it all: "It's still a respectable lead, 73 with two to go.
   "Sam just lost it inside of me. I just got clobbered from the side. I just wish he'd waited a little longer.  He seems to lose control and hit a lot of things in the course of a race. Maybe I could be considered bad for calling it like that…but all I know is I got him by him.
   "We were just in the wrong place at the wrong time. We didn't want this, of course. But we've got two great tracks ahead, and we'll just go to Phoenix and race for it.
    "Right now I'm still optimistic. Hopefully we won't need the points we lost in this race for the championship."
   While Knaus worked for an hour and eight minutes on repairs, Johnson cooled off. "The first 25 or 30 minutes were pretty painful," Johnson conceded.
   "I was thinking about the accident and what I might have done to avoid it. I could have maybe given him more room, but I would probably have hit the wall at a more direct angle.
   "Chad told me first we might have to put the car on the truck, it was damaged so bad. But he got it fixed.
   "It was not a fun car to drive; but we kept up the minimum speed and finished."
NASCAR officials reported a post-race "problem" with Martin Truex Jr.'s car, that it was too low; penalties will be discussed and results announced Tuesday.

After an hour of repairs by Chad Knaus and the crew, Johnson returns to the track (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)

The results of the Texas 500, Race Eight of the 10-race championship chase




Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Enter the characters shown in the image.

© 2010-2011 www.mikemulhern.net All rights reserved.
Web site by www.webdesigncarolinas.com