The Frontstretch: Busch Breakdown: CARQUEST Auto Parts 300 by Toni Montgomery -- Sunday May 27, 2007

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Busch Breakdown: CARQUEST Auto Parts 300

Toni Montgomery · Sunday May 27, 2007

 

In A Nutshell: Kasey Kahne has had a pretty dismal year so far. So has Casey Mears, for that matter. Goodyear has taken a beating for their hard tire that doesn't wear out at Lowe's Motor Speedway. How interesting that all of those elements came together in the end to brighten at least one Kasey's season considerably. It didn't look like it would be much different than any other week but Kahne's crew chief, Mike Shiplett, made a call for track position when a caution waved with about 50 laps remaining and left his driver on the track. Mears and four others did the same, which proved to be the move of the night at least if your name ended in -asey. Mears never managed to run down Kahne, but the duo did manage to hold off the drivers with fresher tires. Clint Bowyer was the highest finisher among those who did pit in third. Jeff Burton and Regan Smith completed the Top 5.

Who Should Have Won: Kasey Kahne. It's actually a tough call on this one because ten different drivers led the way but Kahne and Kurt Busch spent the most time at the front. Busch would have, well, a Kasey Kahne sort of night, spinning and ending up in the garage before it was over. Kahne, meanwhile, actually had it all come together for him this time.

Three Questions You Should Be Asking After the Race Weekend

1) Should qualifying and practice for this race be held at night?

All of those things happened during the heat of the day, which makes it very difficult to set up a car for conditions you haven't experienced. This is not a new question. It tends to come up every time the Busch Series runs at night.

2) Is Jimmie Johnson just the man at this track or what?

OK, he didn't win but no matter what you think of him you have to admit this is impressive. He spun not once but twice and still finished sixth.

3) Would this have been a two caution race without the Buschwhackers?

It is interesting to note that only two cautions, one for debris and one for Kyle Krisiloff, were not caused by Cup drivers. The other five cautions were brought out for incidents involving Reed Sorenson, Carl Edwards, David Ragan (good for at least one a week it seems), Jimmie Johnson, Kurt Busch, and Mike Bliss.

Worth Noting/Points Shuffle:

Once again, it's a little bit of a dilemma who the highest finishing non-Cup driver is. Regan Smith in fifth runs only part time in Cup but he still runs Cup. Scott Wimmer in ninth doesn't run Cup but he only runs part-time in Busch. If you prefer, move down one more spot to 10th for Stephen Leicht for your highest finishing Busch regular.

Best among the freshmen is the Raybestos Rookie of the Race Marcos Ambrose in 20th.

Welcome back to Busch Series staple David Green who finished 28th.

Carl Edwards has plenty of mulligans and he used one tonight after two spins left him in 17th. He really should talk with Jimmie Johnson about recovering from those better. It's still good enough to leave him with a 423 point lead over second place Kevin Harvick. Dave Blaney moves back up to third, 592 points off the lead. Matt Kenseth moves up one to fourth while David Reutimann drops two spots to fifth after a blown engine sidelined him only four laps into the race and sent him home with a 43rd place result.

Regan Smith moves up two spots to sixth while David Ragan drops one to seventh. Clint Bowyer, Jeff Burton, and Greg Biffle round out the Top 10 and complete a total shutout of Busch regulars from the top of the championship standings. Bobby Hamilton, Jr. is highest ranked among them in 12th.

Buschwhacker Watch:
Buschwhackers in this race: 27
Starting spots taken by Buschwhackers YTD: 277 of 555
Buschwhackers finishing in Top 10: 8
Buschwhackers finishing in Top 10 YTD: 106 of 130
Races won by Buschwhackers YTD: 13 of 13
Buschwhackers ranked in Top 10 in Busch Series points standings: 10

Quotable:
“The drivers who are also racing in tomorrow’s Cup race had a huge advantage because they had two hours of Cup practice today and you’re not going to overcome that, but we got in the groove pretty quick…Many other drivers managed not to finish but I got to the end unscathed which was pleasing. I thought I might have been in trouble a few times, but somehow I took it off the fence and brought it home." Marcos Ambrose

“Mark was on the radio with me tonight and I really appreciated the coaching and encouragement. A lot of people tore up their cars tonight and we were able to stay smooth, stay focused and grab an awesome finish.” Regan Smith

Next Up: The Busch Series takes on the Monster Mile at Dover International Speedway. Coverage of the Dover 200 is scheduled to start at 2:30 PM EDT on ESPN2 on Saturday, June 2nd.

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