The Frontstretch: Frontstretch Breakdown: Sam's Town 300 by Toni Montgomery -- Sunday March 12, 2006

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Frontstretch Breakdown: Sam's Town 300

Toni Montgomery · Sunday March 12, 2006

 

In A Nutshell: It seems like Green/White/Checkers is becoming the norm for the end of a race in the Busch Series these days. All Kasey Kahne had to do was continue to keep Matt Kenseth at arms length and the race was his, but a caution for a blown engine with two laps to go set up the dash to the checkers. Kenseth got one more shot and may have had the faster ride, but Kahne didn’t give up without a fight and held on for the win. Kenseth settled for second and was followed across the line by Kevin Harvick, Greg Biffle, and Carl Edwards to round out the top five.

Who Should Have Won: Kasey Kahne made his case in convincing fashion when he held off Matt Kenseth for the win. Kahne, Kenseth, and Kevin Harvick had the three best cars all day and took turns dominating segments of the race. Kenseth led from the start to the first series of green flag pit stops. Thanks to good pit strategy, Kasey Kahne took over once the pit cycle was complete. He led until Kevin Harvick flexed his muscles and took over. When Harvick’s car tightened up in the late going, Kahne drove by on lap 178 and drove it the rest of the way home. Fitting that by the end of the day, those three drivers finished in the top three.

Three Questions You Should Be Asking After the Race Weekend:
1) Should there be a separate trophy and/or prize money for the highest Busch regular finisher in the race?

For the second straight race, Buschwhackers took all of the top ten spots again, as the highest Busch regular came home 11th. It’s the second time this season in only four races that the Busch regulars were shut out of the Top 10 and the best cut of the purse money.

2) Kasey Kahne held on this time around, but many a driver has lost a race they dominated on a green/white/checker finish. So what’s better? Letting a guy who has dominated all night win under caution, or possibly opening the door for someone else to steal it with a shootout finish?

3) We’ve discussed the effects of Buschwhackers taking starting spots, wins, and the best purse money in the Busch Series, but what about the effects to the costs of the Busch regulars from Buschwhackers running them over on the track?

It’s bad enough that the Busch regular teams can’t get the best of the prize money to help cover their costs, but it’s even worse when they have to bring their cars back in pieces, as was the case after several on-track incidents Saturday. That’s even more of an expense, and I’d be more than frustrated when the damage comes at the hands of an impatient Buschwhacker.

Worth Noting/Points Shuffle:
Kevin Harvick and seventh place finisher J.J. Yeley are the only two drivers to score Top 10s in all four races this season. Harvick is four for four on Top 5s as well.
The best of the Busch regulars was Jason Leffler with an 11th place result.

Maybe the Buschwhackers should be more careful. Two of the five cautions came out when Buschwhackers ran over Busch regulars. Michael Waltrip bumped Anthony Foyt IV, who spun without hitting anything. A more serious incident occurred when Jamie McMurray hit John Andretti and sent him into the inside wall and back up the track into the path of Tim Sauter. Both drivers were uninjured, but both cars were destroyed. The remaining cautions were for debris, oil on the track, and a one car spin by Tracy Hines.

Kevin Harvick remains the leader in the Busch Series points standings. He holds the top spot by 42 points over new second place man Denny Hamlin. J.J. Yeley falls to third and trails the leader by 47 points. Jamie McMurray, who it was mentioned may be considering a full time run due to his strong showing in points, remains in fourth with Clint Bowyer staying in fifth.
Carl Edwards jumps up two spots to take over sixth while Raybestos Rookie contender Burney Lamar falls from sixth to tenth. Jason Leffler’s top of the Busch regulars finish keeps him in seventh place. Lamar’s drop also moves Jon Wood up one spot to eighth and Jason Keller from tenth to ninth.

Buschwhacker Watch:
Buschwhackers in this race: 14
Starting spots taken by Buschwhackers YTD: 59 of 172
Buschwhackers finishing in Top 10: 10
Buschwhackers finishing in Top 10 YTD: 31 of 40
Races won by Buschwhackers YTD: 4 of 4
Buschwhackers ranked in Top 10 of Busch Series points standings: 6

Quotable:
"That was it, that was the best I could do, and we came up short. It’s hard "" unless he muscles up and spins the tires, it’s pretty hard to pass somebody in two laps in a green-white-checkered, I think, because the tires are all old and hot and your tires are done handling good and all that, so it is hard." Matt Kenseth

"I wasn’t trying to race anybody hard. I was trying to give them the outside lane. Unfortunately, one guy can’t see the outside lane and just drove right into the back of me and crashes you going down the back straightaway. It makes no sense to me. It’s real unfortunate. Maybe he should come pay for the racecar." John Andretti

"This is race number four. It’s going to get better. We’re getting better each week. We didn’t finish where we wanted to, but we showed that we had a better car than that tonight. We’ll learn from this. We’re learning every week. You give us three or four more races and we’ll be up there." Danny O’Quinn, Jr.

Next Up: The western swing comes to a close as the Busch Series heads back east to Atlanta Motor Speedway for the Nicorette 300 next Saturday. Television coverage starts at 2:30 PM ET on FX.

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