The Frontstretch: Frontstretch Breakdown: Dollar General 300 by Toni Montgomery -- Monday October 17, 2005

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Frontstretch Breakdown: Dollar General 300

Toni Montgomery · Monday October 17, 2005

 

In A Nutshell: Make it five in a row for Ryan Newman in the Busch Series. Newman made it look easy as he dominated Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Elliott Sadler gave it one final shot in the end, but he just didn’t have the horses to catch Newman’s Penske power plant and finished second. Paul Menard, Carl Edwards, and Sterling Marlin rounded out the top five.

Who Should Have Won: Ryan Newman. No question about it. Newman easily had the best car all night and on those few occasions when anyone could mount a challenge, treacherous track conditions wiped them out. Kyle Busch looked like he might have something before the speedway bit him. Tony Stewart took his shot too and found the wall for his troubles. Elliott Sadler and Paul Menard had strong cars but just weren’t in the same class as Newman. So when is Newman going for the six pack?

Three Questions You Should Be Asking After the Race Weekend
1) It seemed like every driver that dared to pass on the low side wrecked. Combined with the tire eating track, is there anything NASCAR could have done to save this race?
2) The SAFER barrier got a rigorous on-the-job test. Are you convinced of its benefits yet given that there were no serious injuries in this crash fest?
3) How is anyone going to stop Ryan Newman?

Worth Noting/Points Shuffle:
It’s a new track record folks. For cautions and caution laps that is. The Dollar General 300 saw the yellow flag wave 14 times and a total of 67 laps run behind the pace car. That beats the old record of 13 cautions and 54 laps.
This race was a game of "Survivor" that saw a large number of the usually speedy Buschwhackers crash. That’s good for the Busch regulars who for the most part stayed out of trouble. If you include double dipper Carl Edwards, 10 Busch regulars finished in the top 15 spots, including seven of the top 10. Of the 24 cars on track at the finish, 19 were on the lead lap.
The always strong Paul Menard was the best of the Busch Series in third. Jason Leffler took sixth, with Jon Wood seventh, Ashton Lewis Jr. eighth, and Justin Labonte tenth. Points leader Martin Truex Jr. battled an ill handling car all night but hung on for 11th. Also notable are Brent Sherman in 13th, Aaron Fike in 14th, and Kevin Hamlin in 15th.
Martin Truex Jr. can breathe a little easier after this one. Championship rival Clint Bowyer crashed early and finished 33rd. Truex now leads by 120 points in the championship battle.
Pretty quiet week in the top ten. The only change was Jason Keller moving from 10th to eighth. Keller finished 18th in the Dollar General 300, but finishing was something the two drivers ahead of him in points, David Green and Greg Biffle, failed to do. Green slides back to ninth and Biffle falls to 10th.

Quotable:
"This is a very serious problem. We are very lucky no one got seriously injured. It was only a matter of time before our tire was going to blow. It was a game of Russian Roulette and we lost. What else is there to say? This car was good enough to win the race"¦ I was just cruising around, trying to save my stuff for the end of the race. Pretty scary stuff." Greg Biffle
"I felt a vibration a few laps before the tire blew. I really thought it was my brakes and not the tire. I guess I was wrong. Once I felt the tire blow, I just held my breath, because I knew I was going to hit the wall hard." Kevin Harvick
"After I passed the #32 car, Jason Leffler tried to fit into a hole that wasn’t big enough and he tagged my left rear quarter-panel, which sent me wrecking and spinning down the frontstretch through the tri-oval. The AutoZone Ford sustained a lot of front end damage, but my guys did a great job to get it repaired so that we could get back on track to try and gain as many points as possible. We’re in a tight battle for fifth place in the driver points with #20 Denny Hamlin, who also had problems tonight, and we couldn’t afford not to capitalize on that." Kenny Wallace
"I learned a lot just following the guys who had been around the track before. We probably had a 20 to 25th-place car but we ended up 15th because we were able to make all the laps and survive all the wrecks. It was a good night, we accomplished all our goals." Kevin Hamlin
“We merely survived tonight. Not much else to say. We had something mechanically wrong with the car and it was a struggle.” Jason Keller
"This is the best car that I’ve ever driven. It was a solid run and we needed it. My guys have been working hard and I haven’t been giving them the finishes and the starts that they deserve. This is a good finish and something for us to build on." Brent Sherman
"It was a rough night out there, a lot of big hits and we were lucky enough to stay out of trouble and get the finish we have been looking for. It was a long night; I didn’t realize that 200 Laps could take that long. I’m glad that everyone that wrecked was able to walk away, this track just never slowed up all night." Justin Labonte

Next Up: The Busch boys stand alone for the last time this season as they make a solo trip to Memphis. The Sam’s Town 250 can be seen on TNT starting at 3:30 PM ET on Saturday, October 22nd.

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