By admin | April 9, 2010
By Richard Allen
At one point in the Bashas’ Supermarkets 200 NASCAR Nationwide Series race at the Phoenix International Raceway, Kyle Busch delivered a sucker punch to about half the field. Then he landed a haymaker to his primary competitors near the end of the race. And in victory lane, he scored a stinging jab to the chin of NASCAR.
The action reached a fever pitch in one of the most exciting Nationwide races in recent memory with just over 50 laps remaining. On a restart, Busch looked as if he attempted to sucker 2nd place Brad Keselowski into jumping the start, which would have caused Keselowski to incur a black flag penalty. Instead, it was just about everyone else who took a hit. The field stacked on top of each other when the leader, Busch, did not go at the moment he was supposed to. A multi-car wreck ensued.
After a ten minute red flag, it was time for another restart. This time NASCAR deemed that Keselowski was to be the leader. As the cars approached the flagman’s stand, Busch appeared to nail the gas well before the proper restart point. In turn, NASCAR forced him to suffer a drive thru penalty. That dropped the driver of the #18 Toyota back to the 20th position, seemingly out of contention for the win.
In the meantime Keselowski powered out to a commanding lead only to have Joey Logano run him down and pass by. At the time of the Logano pass, Keselowski was heard to say, “If I get a caution I’ll win this race,” over his in-car radio.
As luck would have it, there was a caution for debris with just over ten laps remaining. In the ensuing pit stops, some teams opted for two tires while other took on four tires.
Logano’s crew went with a two tire stop to maintain track position. However, as he was leaving his pit stall his car was struck by that of Busch who was just coming in.
On the final restart the ingredients were in place for an exciting finish and that is exactly what took place. Busch restarted in 10th with four fresh Goodyears and powered his way by the cars with only two new tires. The cars of Carl Edwards, Kevin Harvick, Greg Biffle, Logano and Keselowski went two and three wide for a number of the final eight laps. But in the end it was Busch who claimed the win with Harvick second and Keselowski third.
In his televised victory lane interview Busch could not help but take a jab at NASCAR over the restart confusion and penalty levied against him. “I paid NASCAR back by winning,” he said, implying that the sanctioning body had been out to get him after the restart hijinks of earlier.
Touché, Mr. Busch.
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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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