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Kurt Busch gives boss Sunday split

CONCORD, N.C. — Kurt Busch used a lightning fast final pit stop to chase down the leaders and give team owner Roger Penske a coveted Memorial Day weekend victory.

That the win came in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway, and not at his beloved Indianapolis Motor Speedway, probably didn't matter to Penske.

After all, it came at the expense of Chip Ganassi, Penske's top rival in open-wheel racing and the winning car owner of the Indianapolis 500 earlier Sunday.

"Roger, this one is for you," Busch said. "The first person I think about is Roger Penske. This is something that will be front and center in Roger's trophy case that I was happy to deliver."

Busch, who led 252 of 400 laps, and Ganassi driver Jamie McMurray were the class of the field at the end of the longest NASCAR Sprint Cup race of the season. McMurray hoped to give Ganassi a sweep of the two prestigious Memorial Day weekend races. Earlier Sunday, Dario Franchitti won at Indy, and after the celebration, Ganassi flew to North Carolina to catch the second half of the NASCAR race.

He arrived in time to see McMurray, the Daytona 500 winner, work his Chevrolet through the field and ultimately take the lead from Busch.

But a late caution for Marcos Ambrose's crash with 24 laps to go took it out of McMurray's hands. After pit spots, he was beaten back onto the track by Busch and Matt Kenseth. Jeff Gordon was the first of three cars not to pit, and restarted as the leader with 19 laps remaining.

Busch blew past the three lead cars and pulled away. McMurray quickly took second, but ran out of time as Busch held on to sweep the May races at Charlotte. Busch won the nonpoints All-Star race last weekend.

"I thought about the Ganassi car behind me," Busch said in Victory Lane. "He wasn't getting by us."

Ganassi, who became the first driver Sunday to win the Daytona 500 and the Indianapolis 500 in the same season, didn't seem to mind the defeat.

"It was a great race, Jamie did a great job," he smiled. "My old buddy Penske beat me tonight."

Kyle Busch rallied from a mid-race crash on pit road to finish third in a Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing. Mark Martin finished fourth and defending race winner David Reutimann of Zephyrhills was fifth for Michael Waltrip Racing.

As Kurt Busch celebrated, his younger brother was getting an earful on pit road from a furious Jeff Burton.

Burton was eighth on the final restart, running right next to Kyle Busch, when contact between the two cars ruined any chance for a solid finish for Burton. He faded to 25th and confronted Busch after the race.

"Kyle made it three-wide on the restart, trying to make something happen, which I don't have a problem with," Burton said. "So he runs into me and cuts my left-rear tire, then I have a problem with it. He's real aggressive. That's cool. But when he starts affecting me with his aggressiveness, I just will not put up with it. I've been around here long enough. I just will not tolerate it."

Four-time defending series champion Jimmie Johnson was running fourth when he inexplicably hit the wall, and Denny Hamlin, running fifth, had to weave low through the grass to avoid him. Both cars suffered considerable damage and NASCAR called for a caution that sent everyone to pit road.

Johnson wrecked a second time later and finished 37th.

PIT ROAD INJURY: A crewman for Greg Biffle's team went to a local hospital after getting hit by Tony Stewart on pit road. Stewart ran into Kevin McDowell, the right rear tire changer on the No. 16 Ford, during a late pit stop. Television replays showed McDowell slumping to the concrete in pain after Stewart hit him leaving his pit stall.

fast facts

Up next

Gillette 500, 1 p.m. Sunday, Pocono (Pa.) Raceway

TV: TNT

Kurt Busch gives boss Sunday split 05/30/10 [Last modified: Monday, May 31, 2010 12:23am]
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