Kurt Busch Takes Victory at AAA400
Auto racing fans like nothing better than nail-biting rivalry right through to the checkered flag, and the AAA400 at Dover International Speedway on Sunday October 2nd provided plenty of action and excitement as Kurt Busch and Jimmie Johnson battled for first place. The race ended with Busch taking first place by 0.908 of a second, and Jimmie Johnson and Carl Edwards coming in at second and third. As the third event in the ten-race Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship, this was the 24th Cup victory of Busch’s career, and his first at Dover International Speedway.
In chilly, overcast weather loyal NASCAR fans at Dover watched as drivers competed for victory. As reigning Cup champion, a position he has held for five years, Jimmie Johnson held the lead for most of the laps of the race, until a double-file restart with 42 laps to go, and a second restart seven laps later, saw Busch move into first place and stay there. Although Johnson never did close the gap between himself and Busch after the restarts, his efforts to do so made for some exciting on-track action.
Jimmie Johnson and Kurt Busch have quite a history on the race track, with close rivalry on the track spilling over into some controversial post-race verbal sparring. However, in a post-race interview on Sunday, Johnson acknowledged that Busch had done a better job than him on the restarts, thereby giving him the advantage. In turn Busch is reported as stating that beating his arch-nemesis was “icing on the cake”, but pointed out that there is still a long way to go in the series and they would be focusing on future events. Both drivers played down the aspect of personal rivalry, with Johnson noting that they had raced “hard and clean”.
Following Sunday’s race the 2011 Sprint Cup standings have Kevin Harvick and Carl Edwards in first place with 2122 points each, while Tony Stewart and Kurt Busch follow with 2113 points each. Jimmie Johnson is in fifth place with 2109 points, followed by Brad Keselowski and Matt Kenseth, both with 2108 points. Eighth place goes to Kyle Busch (2107 points), ninth to Jeff Gordon (2103 points) and tenth spot to Dale Earnhardt Jr. (2088 points). The next event in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series is the Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway on October 9, 2011.