Kurt Busch Overcomes Early Race Skirmish and Scores Martinsville Victory

Photo- Getty Images
Photo- Getty Images

For the first time since 2011, Kurt Busch was in victory lane Sunday afternoon when he held off Jimmie Johnson late in the race at Martinsville Speedway. After a slow start to his season in which Busch failed to finish inside the top 20 for the first four races, the No.41 team has found their comfort zone. Busch has now scored two straight top-three finishes which gives the team lots of momentum heading into the month of April.

Busch was victorious in the end, but his day was anything but uneventful. Early on in the race, a chain reaction on pit road slowed Brad Keselowski down as he tried to avoid Kasey Kahne. Busch tried to squeeze by on the outside; however, he made heavy contact with Keselowski. The damage to the No.2 car forced the team to go behind the wall. Keselowski was not happy with Busch following the incident.

Keselowski was on a mission to hunt Busch down once he made it back into the race. On Lap 86, the two were running nose-to-tail and Keselowski did everything but wreck Busch. Keselowski slammed Busch’s car all the way down the backstretch and let up just before turn 3. The two would find each other again later in the race, but they raced cleanly.

Jimmie Johnson was Busch’s main competition throughout the race. Although the two didn’t battle for the lead until the later stages of the race, Johnson proved to be the car to beat early on as he led many laps.

Until a costly slow pit stop during the final caution of the day, Clint Bowyer looked like he would be the one to challenge Johnson for the win. Bowyer and Johnson exchanged the on numerous occasions starting on Lap 284.

Busch took his first lead of the race with 28 laps to go, only to be passed by Johnson ten laps later. Busch didn’t give up however, as he regained the lead with 11 laps to go.

It was all Kurt Busch from that point on as he took the victory and likely punched his ticket to the Chase.

“I didn’t know if we’d be able to do it. The No.48 car is king here” Busch said following the race. Coming into the race, Johnson had won two of the previous three Sprint Cup events at the track. So beating Johnson is quite the accomplishment for the virtually brand new No.41 team.

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Results via ESPN.com

POS DRIVER CAR MANUFACTURER LAPS MONEY START LED PTS BONUS PENALTY
1 Kurt Busch Chevrolet 500 22 23 47 4 0
2 Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet 500 4 296 44 2 0
3 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Chevrolet 500 26 25 42 1 0
4 Joey Logano Ford 500 3 39 41 1 0
5 Marcos Ambrose Ford 500 17 22 40 1 0
6 Matt Kenseth Toyota 500 6 36 39 1 0
7 Kevin Harvick Chevrolet 500 18 1 38 1 0
8 Aric Almirola Ford 500 20 0 36 0 0
9 Clint Bowyer Toyota 500 12 16 36 1 0
10 Paul Menard Chevrolet 500 21 0 34 0 0
11 AJ Allmendinger Chevrolet 500 15 1 34 1 0
12 Jeff Gordon Chevrolet 500 5 0 32 0 0
13 Carl Edwards Ford 500 8 0 31 0 0
14 Kyle Busch Toyota 500 1 22 31 1 0
15 Austin Dillon Chevrolet 500 34 0 29 0 0
16 Brian Vickers Toyota 500 13 0 28 0 0
17 Tony Stewart Chevrolet 500 7 0 27 0 0
18 Greg Biffle Ford 500 11 18 27 1 0
19 Denny Hamlin Toyota 500 2 0 25 0 0
20 Ryan Newman Chevrolet 500 16 0 24 0 0
21 Martin Truex Jr. Chevrolet 500 31 0 23 0 0
22 Kasey Kahne Chevrolet 500 27 0 22 0 0
23 Justin Allgaier Chevrolet 500 25 0 21 0 0
24 Casey Mears Chevrolet 500 23 0 20 0 0
25 Landon Cassill Chevrolet 500 36 0 0 0 0
26 David Gilliland Ford 499 39 0 18 0 0
27 Kyle Larson Chevrolet 498 28 0 17 0 0
28 David Ragan Ford 497 24 0 16 0 0
29 Cole Whitt Toyota 497 35 0 15 0 0
30 Ryan Truex Toyota 496 38 0 14 0 0
31 Michael Annett Chevrolet 495 40 0 13 0 0
32 Danica Patrick Chevrolet 494 10 0 12 0 0
33 Travis Kvapil Ford 493 29 1 12 1 0
34 Reed Sorenson Chevrolet 492 42 0 10 0 0
35 Josh Wise Chevrolet 492 33 0 9 0 0
36 Alex Bowman Toyota 488 19 0 8 0 0
37 Michael McDowell Ford 474 32 0 7 0 0
38 Brad Keselowski Ford 469 14 0 6 0 0
39 David Stremme Chevrolet 440 37 0 5 0 0
40 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Ford 409 30 0 4 0 0
41 Parker Kligerman Toyota 408 41 0 3 0 0
42 Jamie McMurray Chevrolet 396 9 0 2 0 0
43 Joe Nemechek Toyota 310 43 0 0 0 0
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