(WOMR file photo)
Kurt Busch held off Jimmie Johnson over the final 12 laps and went on to win Sunday’s Sprint Cup race at Martinsville Speedway. The victory was Busch’s first of the season, second at Martinsville, and first as a driver for Stewart-Haas Racing.
This was his first win since the fall race at Dover in 2011, 83 races ago! And it came after trouble in the pits, just 44 laps into the 500-lap race, that caused him to tell his crew their day was over.
The lead went back and fourth between a number of drivers during the first half of the race. But after the mid-point of the event, “Six Pack”, Jimmie Johnson took control.
Johnson took the lead on lap 288. Thereafter, nobody was able to put serious pressure on him until Kurt Busch moved in on about lap 435, and that pressure lasted all of two laps.
A couple laps later, Clint Bowyer moved in, and with 51 laps to go, took the lead when Johnson strayed from the bottom of the track. Once in the lead, Bowyer began to pull away from the field.
But with 41 laps to go, Carl Edwards spun to bring out a caution.
On the ensuing pit stops, Bowyer had big trouble. Retaking the lead was Johnson, while Bowyer dropped to 10th for the restart, which came with 35 laps to go.
On the restart, Logano made a move for the lead but could not complete the pass. He fell to third and Busch moved to second. With 28 laps to go, Busch got under Johnson and took the lead. Johnson just did not have anything left for KuBu and finished the race in second place.
Is this the beginning of a resurgence for this former Sprint Cup champion? Could his fall from grace, over the last four years, taught Kurt a lesson or two? Could we be witness to a “new Kurt Busch? Did Gene Haas see something in Kurt that all the other owner failed to see, or had given up on? Could KuBu now be considered a threat to win his second championship?
There are many more questions than there are answers at this juncture of the 2014 season. However, some of those questions may have answers by the time that the season rolls into Richmond in September. Stay tuned, race fans!
Check out the unofficial results of the STP 500.
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM WORKING ON MY REDNECK!