By admin | July 13, 2009
By Richard Allen
The Lifelock.com 400 at the Chicagoland Speedway was more like the Lifeless 400 for the most part. However, Kurt Busch and Jimmie Johnson did do their part to liven things up a bit near the end of the event.
Just after a double-file restart the leaders of the race began to mix things up as the checkered flag was about to come into view. Denny Hamlin, who lined up right behind Johnson for one of the race’s latter restarts, pushed the #48 car hard into turn 1. Johnson slipped high while Hamlin and Brian Vickers went by.
Later, Vickers forced Hamlin high in the same turn. The two Toyotas slid up the banking allowing Mark Martin to make what turned out to be the winning pass.
In the meantime, Busch and Johnson raced side by side down the backstretch as they too attempted to get by Hamlin and Vickers. The #2 and #48 cars made contact and remained locked together throughout turns 3 and 4. As they exited turn 4, Johnson forced Busch into the outside wall. Busch then retaliated by turning his Dodge left and slamming Johnson’s Chevrolet as they raced by the start/finish line.
Busch developed a tire rub and suffered slight damage from the run-in. As a result he fell to a final finishing position of 17th while Johnson took 8th place.
The cool down lap proved to be anything but that for the burning Busch. “The #48 has got one coming to him”, he declared to his crew over the in-car radio. “I promise you that.”
Busch seems like the type of guy who has a long memory. With tracks like Bristol and Richmond coming up on the schedule, don’t be surprised to see these two come together again.
Richard Allen is a member of the National Motorsports Press Association. His weekly column appears in The Mountain Press every Wednesday.
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