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Busch posts first road win

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          NASCAR NEWS - Thursday, June 26, 2008
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Busch posts first career road win, fifth of season
By Sporting News Wire Service

SONOMA, Calif. - Jeff Gordon was shocked that Kyle Busch 
was able to keep his car on the racetrack for 112 laps 
Sunday. 

But at this point, nothing Busch does should surprise us. 

Busch led 78 of the 112 laps and pulled away from runner-up 
David Gilliland and Gordon during a green-white-checkered-
flag finish to win Sunday's Toyota/Save Mart 350 at 
Infineon Raceway. 

Busch, the series points leader, picked up his first win 
on a road course, his fifth victory of the season and the 
ninth of his career. Busch increased his lead in the Cup 
standings to 103 over second-place Jeff Burton, who kept 
his streak of 16 consecutive top-15 finishes alive with 
a 13th-place result at the 1.99-mile, 12-turn venue. 

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Gordon came home third after emerging unscathed from a 
melee involving Jamie McMurray, Tony Stewart and Kevin 
Harvick on Lap 105 of the scheduled 110-lap race. Clint 
Bowyer was fourth, followed by Casey Mears and last 
year's winner, Juan Montoya. 

"I'm kind of shocked," said Gordon, a five-time Infineon 
winner who fought handling problems early in the race. 
"He [Busch] went by me at the beginning, and his car 
looked about as bad as mine was. It was sliding all over 
the place. 

"To get the car up front and being able to maintain that 
position -- if you can keep the car on the racetrack, you 
get credit from me. If he can win here, he's probably 
going to think he can win anywhere -- and maybe he can." 

After Stewart, Harvick and McMurray spun away their chances 
for victory, Busch led the field to a restart on Lap 108, 
but a wreck involving Stewart, Scott Pruett and Denny 
Hamlin deep in the field brought out the sixth caution of 
the race and sent the event to two laps of overtime. 

After disappointing practice sessions and a 30th-place 
qualifying effort in the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota, 
Busch's team made wholesale changes to the car. 

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"When we were here on Friday, I thought it was going to be 
a miserable weekend," Busch said. "I was wondering which 
tire barrier I was going to put it in. But we came so far. 
We've never turned a racecar around so much. We came from 
30th to 13th during that first green-flag run before the 
first caution -- that was pretty cool. 

"It was a pretty good race, considering how we thought 
we were going to be, with the way we unloaded. We changed 
everything." 

Busch was strong enough to pull away from his pursuers on 
every restart. Hampering Gilliland's and Gordon's efforts 
to catch him was a slick track made more treacherous by 
automotive fluids and oil-dry from earlier incidents.

"There was so much stuff on the racetrack," said Gilliland, 
who posted the best finish of his Cup career. "It was super 
slick on the last lap, so as far as challenging for the 
lead -- it was everything I could do to stay on the 
racetrack." 

The first caution, for debris in Turn 11, occurred during 
a cycle of green-flag pit stops and scrambled the running 
order, completely changing the complexion of the season's 
first road-course event. On the winning end of the exchange 
were Busch, Montoya, Stewart and Gordon, who already had 
come to pit road under green. 

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Foremost among those hurt by the yellow flag was Jimmie 
Johnson, who had passed pole-sitter Kasey Kahne for the 
lead on Lap 5 and held the top spot for 27 laps. Johnson 
hadn't pitted when the first caution flag flew and was 
shuffled back to 12th after stopping under caution. 

Busch inherited the lead for a restart on Lap 33 and 
dominated the race until he pitted from the top spot on 
Lap 69. Johnson and Carl Edwards again got caught out 
during that cycle when a caution for a wreck involving 
the Robby Gordon, Kurt Busch and Max Papis interrupted 
the pit sequence on Lap 70. 

After pit stops under caution, Kyle Busch had the lead 
again and held it through four subsequent yellow flags 
and the restart for the two-lap shootout on Lap 111. 

Notes: Johnson, the two-time defending points champion, 
finished 15th and held onto the fifth spot in the Cup 
standings, but he's now 326 points and four victories
behind Busch, his former teammate at Hendrick Motorsports. 
...With an eighth-place finish -- his first top-10 in
nine starts at Infineon -- Matt Kenseth took over 12th 
in the championship standings, supplanting Harvick (30th 
on Sunday), who fell three positions to 13th. 

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