Kurt Busch won at Texas Motor Speedway on
Sunday, taking over the lead with 2 1/2 laps left when his younger
brother's car suddenly slowed on the backstretch after leading 232 of
the 334 laps.
Johnson, the series points leader trying to
become the first Sprint Cup driver to win four consecutive season
championships, wrecked on the third lap.
His crew needed more than an hour to repair
and basically rebuild his No. 48 Chevrolet, but he returned to finish
38th — 129 laps behind Kurt Busch. Johnson's points lead was cut from
184 to 73 over Hendrick teammate Mark Martin, who finished fourth, with
two races left.
"It's still a respectable lead, 73 with two to
go is a good position to be in," Johnson said. "I hate we gave up all
these points. … It's not as bad as it could have been, we could have
Kyle Busch won the Nationwide and Camping
World Truck races at Texas, and was trying to become the first driver
to win in all three of NASCAR's national series on the same weekend. It
was the 28th time he ran all three races the same weekend.
"This is the first time Kyle and I raced each
other hard," said Kurt Busch, who led six times for 89 laps while also
running second behind his brother much of the race. "It's bittersweet,
I was rooting for him, but at the same time this is for us. "
Kurt Busch got his second victory of the
season in the No. 2 Dodge, and 20th of his career, with an average
speed of 147.137 mph. Denny Hamlin finished a distant second, 25.686
seconds behind, and Matt Kenseth was third.
Jeff Gordon, another Hendrick driver who is
third in points, finished 13th after avoiding serious problems of his
own. He cut his points deficit to Johnson from 192 to 112 points,
though he lost ground on Martin.
Kyle Busch had trouble refiring his car after his splash and dash stop and wound up 11th.
Dave Rogers, who made his debut as Kyle
Busch's crew chief in Sprint Cup, said they thought they had enough
fuel to finish the race and described the driver as "frustrated." Busch
didn't talk to reporters.
Coming out of Turn 2 on the third lap, Sam
Hornish got loose after apparently being tapped by David Reutimann.
Hornish made contact with Johnson, who scraped the outside wall. It
looked as if Johnson might save his car before he was hit again by
Hornish, then slammed into the inside wall.
Johnson returned to the track on lap 115, the
front and rear of his car solid black after all the repairs. The front
and rear suspensions and the driveshaft had been replaced, along with
other repairs. Crew members from the teams of Gordon and Dale Earnhardt
Jr. assisted in what looked like a makeshift body shop in the garage.
After finishing second at Texas in April,
behind Gordon, Johnson had another disappointing fall race at Texas
while trying to close out a championship.
Last November, Johnson struggled to 15th
while Carl Edwards gambled on fuel and won by a wide margin. Johnson
left Texas with a 106-point lead in the chase last year, and won by 69
Gordon avoided serious trouble in the second
turn on lap 175, spinning but not hitting anything after Juan Pablo
Montoya and Edwards made contact and spun ahead of him going onto the
When Gordon turned down to avoid the other
cars, he spun himself. He ended up with flat tires and a broken brace
and came into the pit before it was opened, incurring the penalty that
made him restart at the back of the field. He was still in 18th place,
where he was at the time of the accident, when the race restarted.
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