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Pit blunders cost Mark Martin and Kurt Busch

By admin | March 29, 2010

By Richard Allen

With 150 laps to go in the Goody’s Fast Pain Relief 500 both Mark Martin and Kurt Busch looked certain to have top-10 finishes. Less than forty laps later both were simply trying to salvage what they could of the day.

After a lap 364 caution, the teams of both drivers had issues on pit road that cost each of their cars a good finish.

Martin’s team had an issue with their equipment which resulted in the penalty of sending their car to the rear of the field for the restart. The #5 Chevrolet charged back toward the front of the pack, making it into the top-10, only to have a tire go down which resulted in more pit road time.

After having to restart well back in the pack, it is likely that Martin was having to race much harder than normal. In turn, the brakes and tires were heated more than they should have been. That then led to a tire failure.

Ultimately, Martin finished 21st. He is now 17th in the overall NASCAR Sprint Cup standings.

Busch’s issue came after the same lap 364 caution. Shortly removed from the green flag restart the driver asked crew chief Steve Addington if the wheels on the #2 car were tight. Finally, on lap 387 a loose wheel forced Busch to the pits for a tire change.

The green flag visit to pit road resulted in the loss of two laps. Those troubles resulted in a 23rd place finish for the Dodge driver. Busch held onto his 6th place in the Sprint Cup standings.

Two drivers had the opportunity to post good finishes in Martinsville. However, for both Mark Martin and Kurt Busch it was pit road miscues that derailed their chances.

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Richard Allen is a member of the National Motorsports Press Association. His weekly columns appear in The Mountain Press and The Knoxville Journal.

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