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NASCAR: Kurt Busch claims Nationwide win at Watkins Glen

Sat, 13 Aug 2011

From start to finish, Saturday afternoon's NASCAR Nationwide Series Zippo 201 at Watkins Glen International was all Busch, all the time. Older brother Kurt won the pole and younger brother Kyle started second and led the most laps. But Kurt won when Kyle gave up the lead with a late-race, green-flag stop for fuel.

A late caution bunched the field for an overtime shootout finish, but Kurt Busch had no trouble leading to the checkered flag. He was in the No. 22 Dodge that Penske Racing teammate Brad Keselowski (broken left ankle) usually drives.

Jimmie Johnson finished second, followed by Joey Logano, Kyle Busch, Carl Edwards and Paul Menard as Sprint Cup regulars dominated. Ron Fellows, Aric Almirola, Trevor Bayne and Elliott Sadler rounded out the top 10. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. finished 15th but still leads Reed Sorenson by 10 points in the standings.

Kurt Busch led the first eight laps of what became an 85-lap race--three more than scheduled. Kyle Busch led lap nine, Kurt led again for laps 10-24, Kyle led again for laps 25-49, Kurt led for laps 50-55 and Kyle led from lap 56 until making his final stop for fuel on lap 77. Kurt led the final eight laps, including the green-white-checkered overtime finish.

Kyle Busch's day went bad early when he ran through some grass and clogged the grille of his Toyota. He made an unscheduled stop on lap 17 for fuel, tires and cleaning, a stop that ruined his two-stop strategy. His fuel-only stop with five laps remaining almost certainly cost him what would have been his 101st NASCAR win.

Kurt Busch expressed confidence in crew chief Todd Gordon's strategy.

“I didn't know about our gas situation and I didn't care,” he said after his third career Nationwide win. “We were going on a two-stop strategy, and it worked out just right for us. I conserved at times, but it's so hard to save fuel on a road course. No matter what, I knew this car would be good at the finish.”

The win was Busch's second at the Glen in three starts in the series at this track, all from the pole. He has three career wins overall in the series. Saturday also marked the 19th win by a Cup regular in this year's 23 Nationwide races; the top-seven sweep was the most dominating performance by Cup drivers in Nationwide this season.


1. Kurt Busch, Dodge

2. Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet

3. Joey Logano, Toyota

4. Kyle Busch, Toyota

5. Carl Edwards, Ford

6. Paul Menard, Chevrolet

7. Ron Fellows, Chevrolet

8. Aric Almirola, Chevrolet

9. Trevor Bayne, Ford

10. Elliott Sadler, Chevrolet


1. Ricky Stenhouse Jr., 816

2. Reed Sorenson, -10

3. Elliott Sadler, -24

4. Aric Almirola, -70

5. Justin Allgaier, -80

6. Jason Leffler, -113

7. Kenny Wallace, -130

8. Steven Wallace, -180

9. Brian Scott, -190

10. Michael Annett, -193

Next: Montreal, Aug. 20

By Al Pearce