Fuel stop seals Busch’s win

AutoTrader NZ
Published 3 September 2020

Busch had put his #5 Hendrick Chevrolet Monte Carlo into the lead for the first time on lap 195 but a series of quick full-course yellow caution periods held him back.
The Hendrick team chose to give up the lead and take on fuel on lap 211, a stop that gave Busch enough gas to stay out front and score his third Nextel Cup win.

“I asked Alan (Gustafson, crew chief) when we came in on that last stop and was wondering if we had enough fuel to get to the end if there was overtime and he said I was fine, then he told me to save gas,” said Busch. “So, I didn’t know what to think.
“But, man I want to thank all these guys. They didn’t have to sweat as much today as they did the last two days preparing this thing. They did an awesome job for me.”
Carl Edwards (Ford Fusion) was a winner in the fuel game too, after overtime slowed many of the lead cars at the end as they strove to conserve fuel and avoid making a splash-and-dash pitstop.

“It was fun to say the least,” said Edwards who also won Saturday’s Busch race before coming home second behind Busch on Sunday. “Who’d have thought we’d run second in a Cup race here at New Hampshire. We never run good here.”

Greg Biffle (Ford) was third. “I burned my right front tyre off and hurt my brake pads trying to pass Denny Hamlin. We got three-wide on the restart. You know, lapped cars play a factor here. I got trapped. He trapped me down there and I had to go to the bottom (line on the track). It’s unfortunate, I had a really good race car and I kind of burned my right front tyre up messing with him, then fell back some. We came back at the end. I just took care of the throttle and fuel mileage came around for us.”

Mark Martin (Ford) and Kevin Harvick (Chevy) completed the top five.

“We had a really good handling car,” said Martin. “It wasn’t the fastest out there but it was good enough that we could skip (stops for) tyres. Sometimes you can’t have it all, but if you can just have the handling. We took just gas the last two stops so we were at a disadvantage with tyres.”

Pole winner Ryan Newman led until lap 11 when Brian Vickers went past. The first caution fell at lap 19 when Travis Kvapil hit the wall. Newman retook the lead and held it until lap 26 when Jeff Burton passed him.

Reigning champion Tony Stewart passed him and was leading on lap 91 when Newman (who was a lap down) slid up the track and hit his Chevy.

Vickers took the lead at the restart was still leading when Bobby Labonte’s Dodge Charger spun, triggering a yellow.

Dodge racer Reed Sorenson was leading on lap 153 when Bifflegot past. Green flag pitstops began on lap 180 with about half the field having pitted when a caution flew on lap 188.
Kyle Busch led on the restart at lap 195, and led through the seventh and eight cautions. He pitted for fuel only during the eighth, but several cars stayed on the racetrack Bowyer leading on the restart on lap 214.

Bowyer was still out front when Kurt Busch and David Stremme collided on lap 234. Bowyer led on the restart but Elliott Sadler got past and led five laps before Kyle Busch took the lead. Busch led on the restart after caution 10.

As Sadler began to drop back through the field, Busch began to open a solid lead. He was ready to take the checkered flag when Bowyer, Kvapil and Vickers crashed causing the 11th caution and a setting up a green/white/chequer finish.

During the pace laps, Michael Waltrip and Kvapil got together causing heavy nose damage on the No. 55 Dodge and delaying the restart. Who could get to the end on fuel was the big question as the race restarted in overtime on lap 307.

Sadler’s Ford was the first to limp to pitroad, Hamlin the second, as Kyle Busch pulled away
to take his first win of the 2006 season.