To the Point: Brian Vickers led the most laps while running a one stop fuel mileage strategy, but Ryan Newman made a bold outside pass for the lead as the last caution flew with six laps remaining. Newman held off one final charge from road course ace Robby Gordon, who also passed Vickers, and took the win. Vickers ended up third, followed by Tony Stewart and Martin Truex Jr., the first of the Busch regulars in fifth.
Who Should Have Won: Any Buschwhacker or road course ringer. I know that answer is a little different, but let’s face facts. Few of the Busch Series veterans have been able to keep up with the invasion of the Cup drivers so far this season and the Busch youngsters are seriously lacking in road course experience. Given those two factors, what chance do they really have against either the Cup drivers or the road course experts? I don‘t like it either, but that‘s my answer.
Three Questions You Should Be Asking After the Race Weekend
1) Should the Busch Series even be running road courses given that many of their regulars appeared lost turning both right and left, or is that an argument for exactly why the Busch Series should be running them? Remember, many of these drivers plan to move to Cup someday where there are two road course races per year. Should they get that experience while still in the Busch Series?
2) Preparing cars and drivers for a road course can be an expensive proposition for Busch teams. Should they bother with the expense to try to keep up, or should they put less emphasis on these races since the Cup teams and drivers who have been running them every year clearly have an even larger edge than usual at these tracks?
3) This doesn’t relate directly to the race, but Chip Ganassi announced on Friday that Busch Series driver Reed Sorenson would be moving up to the Nextel Cup Series in 2006 after only one full season in Busch. Is Sorenson ready for this move, or is it too soon?
Worth Noting/Points Shuffle:
Mexico native Jorge Goeters, who made his Busch Series debut in March in Mexico City, finished ninth.
Paul Menard finished eighth, continuing an amazing streak in which Menard has finished in the top ten in eight of the last nine races.
Menard, Truex, and J.J. Yeley in tenth were the only Busch Series regulars to finish in the top ten.
The top five in points remain unchanged, but Martin Truex Jr. extended his lead over Clint Bowyer to 122 points. Reed Sorenson trails by 215 points in third. Bowyer had a rough weekend that included an engine change before the race and soldiered on to a 15th place result. Sorenson blew an engine during the race and finished 41st.
Another top ten result from Paul Menard moves him up to ninth on the season. He passed Ashton Lewis Jr., who falls to tenth in points.
“That was a lot of fun…I volunteered to drive this race because I really don’t have a lot of road course experience. The team gave me a fast car, and that made all the difference.” Brian Vickers, No. 5 Lowe’s Chevrolet
“It’s so much fun racing out there at this track, I was either running by myself out there or running like a madman with what seemed like 20 cars going into the same corner together.” Paul Menard, No. 11 DEI Chevrolet
“It’s really too bad there aren’t more tracks like this on the schedule. The racing is really good and it’s a great change of pace.” Paul Menard
"The first 20 laps or so everything appeared to be going smoothly. But then I couldn’t downshift from third to second gear. That was a problem, but we were still holding our own. Unfortunately, the transmission problem became a bigger issue towards the end of the race when I lost second gear completely. Considering the McDonald’s Ford was limping at the end, I feel we came away with a respectable finish." Jason Keller, No. 35 McDonald’s Ford.
Next Up: It’s on to high banks and multi-groove racing at Michigan International Speedway on Saturday. The Domino’s Pizza 250 is scheduled to start at 3:00 PM EST and will be broadcast live on TNT.
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