To The Point: Ryan Newman flexed his Penske power and drove by Greg Biffle with six laps remaining to score the win in Saturday's Busch race at Michigan. Newman did not lead any laps other than the final six, but he stayed near the front and his team adjusted on the car all through the race to give him the best setup of the day when he really needed it. Biffle held off a challenge from Carl Edwards to hang on to second. Edwards finished third followed by Martin Truex Jr., and J.J. Yeley rounding out the top five.
Who Should Have Won: Ryan Newman. Yes, he only led six laps but he motored by Biffle easily when the time came. Clearly he was the class of the field at the right time and had been among the strongest cars all day. An argument could be made for Biffle or Clint Bowyer as well, but both drivers got passed on the race track and neither was able to regain the lead. Bowyer led the opening laps until Biffle got by and Biffle then held the point until Newman took it.
Three Questions You Should Be Asking After the Race Weekend
1) Do Busch regulars stand any chance against Cup supported teams on heavy horsepower tracks like Michigan?
2) The Busch Series championship is beginning to look like it might not be as exciting as in some other recent years with Martin Truex Jr. starting to run off to a big lead. Should the Busch Series use a Chase format and would it be possible to do so with all of the interference created by the Buschwhackers?
3) The newest trend among car owners has been "development drivers." The Busch Series appears to be loaded with young drivers in development deals with Cup teams, and yet there seems to be a shortage of available driving talent at the Cup level. How can this be?
Worth Noting/Points Shuffle:
Ryan Newman makes it two in a row after winning last weekend at Watkins Glen as well.
It’s becoming a regular thing in this spot, but Paul Menard does it again. A sixth place result gives Menard nine top ten finishes in the last ten races.
Martin Truex Jr.’s fourth place result was not as easy as you might think. Truex once again ran into tire troubles in the early going that put him at the back of the field. He spent the rest of the race battling back through the pack to salvage the day.
Clint Bowyer and Reed Sorenson gave up more ground to Truex in the Championship battle. Bowyer ran at the front and led a race high 62 laps but fuel cell problems plagued him in the closing laps. His AC Delco crew could not get fuel into the car on what was to be the final stop of the day, forcing Bowyer to repit when the tank ran dry. Adding insult to injury, having an extra man over the wall forced Bowyer down pit road for a drive through penalty. He ended the day in 30th. Reed Sorenson grenaded an engine for the second week in a row to post a 36th place result. Truex now leads Bowyer by 205 points and Sorenson trails him by 324 points in third.
The only move within the top ten was made by Paul Menard who jumps over David Stremme and David Green to go from ninth to seventh. Green and Stremme slip back one spot each to eighth and ninth respectively.
“That’s pretty disappointing… to lead that many laps and give it up late in the race is a little heartbreaking. Our pit stops were awesome today… these guys having been working their tails off, practicing, and it showed today. We did everything right… had the track position, had a good car on long runs, but that final caution killed us. Ryan (Newman) was so much better on restarts… there wasn’t much I could do. I was flat foot the final two laps, but clean air is so important here we weren’t going to get to him that quickly.” Greg Biffle
“Now that is a good race car. It was brand new when we brought it here to test a week ago Monday and it did really well. We’ll bring this Menards/Moen Chevrolet out to (MIS’s sister track in) California in two weeks. We’ll really be looking forward to that. In the meantime, we’ll have some fun trying to keep our streak alive during our annual Friday night run under the lights in Bristol.” Paul Menard
“We did not come here to run outside of the top 10. The FOE (Fraternal Order of Eagles) Chevy was fastest in final practice and we had a car that could of contended for the win. If we keep putting ourselves in position at the end of the race, one of these days we are going to come home with a win.” Jason Leffler, No. 32 FOE Chevrolet
“Hey, you guys can call me Bo or Luke Duke!” Kevin Hamlin, No. 4 GEICO/Pet Brands Dodge, to his crew after getting hit and spinning through the grass at full speed on a restart. Hamlin made a nice save and was able to continue with just minor damage.
Next Up: It’s Friday night lights for the Busch Series as they take on the cramped confines and high banks of Bristol Motor Speedway. The Food City 250 airs Friday night at 7:30 PM EST on TNT.
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