NASCAR & Auto Racing

Fresh tires the difference

as Burton takes Busch win

FONTANA, Calif. – Jeff Burton took charge after a restart with 10 laps to go, passing and then pulling away from Kyle Busch to win the Camping World 300 in the NASCAR Busch Series at California Speedway Saturday night.

Burton came to pit road for tires and fuel after Denny Hamlin spun out while running second to bring out a caution on Lap 127. Busch stayed on the track and took over the lead, with Burton lining up fifth on the restart.

Burton had worked his way to second before a multicar wreck on Lap 133 slowed the field again. That put Burton’s No. 29 Chevrolet behind the leader with fresher tires for the restart. On Lap 143, Burton pulled to Busch inside and the two cars ran side-by-side until Burton cleared him off Turn 4 the next time by.

Once he was in front, Burton took off and won by 2.9 seconds.

“Our car was really good,” said Burton, who extended the lead the No. 29 Richard Childress Racing team has in the Busch Series car owner standings. “I am real proud of this team. These cars are a honor to drive.”

It was Burton’s third Busch Series victory of the year, his first since a win in Atlanta on March 17. But in 15 Busch starts this year, Burton now has 10 top-five and 13 top-10 finishes. It was Burton’s 25th career Busch Series win, breaking a tie for fourth on the all-time list with Tommy Houston.

“You’re never sure you can get around Kyle Busch,” Burton said. “He is such a good driver. I knew we had better tires, but it was Kyle Busch and I knew I was going to have my work cut out for me.”

Busch recovered from a penalty for speeding on pit road to hold off Hamlin for second. Jimmie Johnson and Clint Bowyer rounded out the top five.

“I figured the tires would be a bigger deal than track position, but I didn’t know how many guys were going to stay out with us,” Busch said. “I knew I wasn’t going to be able to hold him (Burton) off.”

The race was halted under a red flag for 28 minutes following a wreck on Lap 68 that sent Brad Keselowski to a hospital by helicopter for evaluation.

Keselowski, driving a No. 88 Chevrolet owned by Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s JR Motorsports team, slammed the outside wall in Turn 1 head on after being spun by AJ Allmendinger’s car in a multicar crash.

Allmendinger, J.J. Yeley and Eric McClure were racing three wide to the outside of Keselowski when the cars driven by Allmendinger and Yeley made contact. Yeley spun toward the outside wall and hit McClure, while Allmendinger’s car came down track and caught Keselowski’s.

After going nose first into the wall, Keselowski’s car went airborne and was hit by Allmendinger’s. Flames erupted briefly from under the No. 88 Chevy and the car finally came to rest at the bottom of the track.Keselowski was awake and able to put down his window net. He was helped from the car by emergency workers, who held him and kept him from putting weight on his left leg and foot until an ambulance arrived with a backboard and stretcher.

“I thought I was clear and I guess I got clipped in the right rear,” said Allmendinger, who said he could feel the flames from Keselowski’s car as it momentarily was tangled up with the No. 42 Dodge being driven by Allmendinger as they slid toward a stop.

Keselowski went by ambulance to the track’s infield care center, and then was taken to the helicopter. No further word on the extent of his injuries was available.

Busch Series driver points leader Carl Edwards finished 26th after his car was damaged in the multicar crash on Lap 133. Matt Kenseth, Brian Vickers, Kelly Bires and Stephen Leicht were also involved in that wreck.

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