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article imageNASCAR: Another week, another Busch in Victory Circle

By John Duarte     Mar 31, 2014 in Sports
Martinsville - The Busch brothers made it two wins in a row in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, with Kurt Busch winning in Virginia one week after brother Kyle won in California.
Eighty-three races had come and gone, over the course of two years, since the last time Kurt Busch had stepped into Victory Circle in the Sprint Cup Series. He recalled how close he was early in the season last year and how he came up short. Despite it all, he said his commitment and confidence never wavered.
“It's amazing how many things have to fall into place (to win a race),” Busch said. “I kept trying to find little stones to uncover and rocks to overturn. It was a process.”
Winning the STP 500 was also a process. There were a total of 33 lead changes during the race, with reigning Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson leading the way for 296 of the 500 laps around Martinsville Speedway. Busch saw his chance 11 laps from the end, breezing by Johnson and holding the champ off for the final laps as the two battled in traffic. Busch would cross the finish line approximately one-quarter of a second ahead of Johnson, an eight-time winner at the racetrack.
“That's an epic battle at a short track with a six-time champion to go back and forth and exchange the lead, a couple of taps, a couple of moves, a little bit of a chess game,” Busch said. “I was hoping I had enough rear tires to drive away from him at the end, and I got an arm pump at the end.”
Johnson, never satisfied with finishing second, said he did all he could to get the win, but couldn't run Busch down.
“I ran the rear tires off the car,” he said. “I flipped every switch and knob I could to get the front brake and turn fans off to try to help bring the balance back. But it was still to loose to get the win.”
Busch responded to a comment he had made a few years ago when it seemed like Johnson's No. 48 was always in Victory Circle. Busch said at the time that he would rather lose to any of 41 cars than lose to No. 48. He said it was nothing against Johnson, but was only thinking about what is best fro the fans.
“When you have the same winner time and time again, it can get stale,” Busch said. “When you win as much as he has, he has that target and you want to go there and knock him off his podium. (I felt) I wasn't doing my job well enough to challenge Jimmie for the win and to knock him off the top.”
Busch also addressed a pit-road incident where he came in contact with Brad Keselowski. Busch was trying to get around a mix up in pit lane when Keselowski's car ran into him. He dismissed it as a racing incident, but Keselowski had other ideas.
“Once we were back out running, he (Keselowski) targeted us. He tried to flatten all four of my tires,” Busch said. “That's a punk-ass move and he will get what he gets back when I decide to give it back.”
Once back on the track, the two cars got side-by-side and exchanged paint briefly. Keselowski didn't mince his words when talking about the events.
“He's (Busch) probably the most talented race car driver, but he's also one of the dumbest,” Keselowski said. When told of Busch's comments regarding the incident, Keselowski added, “Tell him to come here. I'm right here. Leave Victory Lane. We'll go.”
Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished third in Martinsville and currently leads the Sprint Cup standings. Matt Kenseth is second and Carl Edwards is third. Kurt Busch becomes the sixth winner in six races this Sprint Cup season and joins five other drivers who have the inside track on making the Chase for the Sprint Cup at the end of the season. Under the format implemented this year by NASCAR, race winners are automatically included in the list of 16 drivers who will make the final Chase for the Sprint Cup. The Busch brothers, Kurt and Kyle, Earnhardt, Edwards, Keselowski and Kevin Harvick have won races so far this season.
The Sprint Cup season now heads for the Texas Motor Speedway and the Duck Commander 500, on April 6, 2014.
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