Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Kyle Busch holds off Zephyrhills' David Reutimann to win inaugural Sprint Cup race at Kentucky Speedway

SPARTA, Ky. — Kentucky Speedway's inaugural Sprint Cup race was a sellout.

Yet there were ticket holders who never got to see Kyle Busch win the Quaker State 400.

An untold number of fans were turned away Saturday night as traffic problems caused by more than 100,000 fans backed up for hours the only interstate to service the track.

Busch, who won Thursday night's NASCAR truck race at the track, took early command Saturday, leading 105 of the first 114 laps. He was so far out front, he even maintained his lead during a round of green-flag pit stops.

"This is cool, man. This (win) is right up there with the best of them," Busch said after taking the lead in the Cup standings by four points over Carl Edwards. "The way we ran (Saturday) was just awesome. We got the tires we wanted and the fuel that we needed, and that's what won us the race.

"We were right there all night. These guys were phenomenal on pit road. We unloaded really strong off the truck. We really didn't have a whole lot of work we had to do to it."

Clint Bowyer blew a tire on Lap 261 to bring out the final caution. On the restart on Lap 266, Busch easily moved out front, but David Reutimann of Zephyrhills tracked down Jimmie Johnson over the final stretch to finish second.

"You can always say if you had one more lap," Reutimann said after his best finish since winning at Chicagoland last season. "We haven't really done much this year to make some noise. It was a total team effort, just a little short at the end."

With 50 of the 267 laps to go, Brad Keselowski held a sizable advantage, followed by Busch, Johnson, Matt Kenseth and Tony Stewart.

On Lap 254, Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s left-front tire blew as he exited pit road from a fuel-only stop to bring out the fifth caution. On the restart on Lap 260, only seven cars remained on the lead lap led by Busch. Behind him were Johnson, Kenseth, Kurt Busch and Reutimann.

Said Johnson: "We had a solid race car and drove up through the field a few times. (Kyle Busch) was just a little bit better."

Halfway through the 267-lap race, Kyle Busch was out front followed by Edwards, Kurt Busch, Kasey Kahne and Johnson.

Keselowski took the lead for the first time on Lap 142 and led 42 of the next 44 laps.

David Ragan's No. 6 Ford dropped oil on Lap 152 to bring out the third caution of the race. Kyle Busch regained the lead on the restart on Lap 158.

Jamie McMurray's engine blew on Lap 200 to bring out the fourth caution.

On the restart on Lap 210, Keselowski led, followed by Kyle Busch and Johnson.

"It was a fun night," Kyle Busch said. "It was a tough night."

It was even tougher for the fans struggling to get in.

Halfway through the race, cars were still trying to park, but they were turned away. Safety officers needed to change the traffic pattern to an outbound flow for the end of the race.

The speedway's Facebook page was covered with criticism from angry fans, and many fans spelled out their long trek to the track via Twitter.

Late Saturday the speedway released a statement acknowledging "challenges related to traffic" and planning for improvements next season.

The 66,000-seat grandstand capacity was expanded to 107,000 for the race, but no roads were added in or out of the speedway.

Kyle Busch holds off Zephyrhills' David Reutimann to win inaugural Sprint Cup race at Kentucky Speedway 07/09/11 [Last modified: Sunday, July 10, 2011 12:29am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. What we've learned from the Bucs' and Bills' playoff droughts


    Is it possible for the Buccaneers and Bills to be any farther off the NFL's radar? You get the feeling schedule-makers didn't think twice about putting this one down for 1 p.m. Sunday — the let's-hope-no-one-notices time slot.

    [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times]
  2. College football game-day guide, Week 8


    Derwin vs. Lamar

    Florida State Seminoles defensive back Derwin James (3) breaks up the pass intended for Miami Hurricanes wide receiver Ahmmon Richards (82) in the third quarter of the game between the Florida State Seminoles and the Miami Hurricanes at Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee, Fla. on Saturday, Oct. 7, 2017. The Miami Hurricanes beat the Florida State Seminoles 24-20.
  3. Sorry, Nebraska, Scott Frost appears interested in staying at UCF

    Scott Frost has UCF undefeated with an important game at Navy next. [Getty Images]
  4. Tampa Bay Downs full of high-paying races this season


    OLDSMAR — Tampa Bay Downs is green like never before.