Busch won the fourth and final stage of the Monster Energy All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway Saturday night.
Busch admitted he wasn't the fastest in the field, but it was clear from the long, boring night that whoever took the lead going into the first turn was going to win each segment and ultimately the race.
When the final 10-lap shootout began, with Busch sitting third behind Brad Keselowski on old tires and seven-time Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson, Busch said it was now or never. Busch also won the Truck Series race Friday night, but the victory Saturday was the first time he's ever been to victory lane at Charlotte in a Cup auto. Johnson led 18 of the 20 laps in the third segment after passing Ryan Blaney, who got the lead by taking only two tires.
This year's edition featured four stages (20 laps, 20 laps, 20 laps and 10 laps), with just 10 drivers qualifying for the final 10-lap portion. He dominated the first two segments, running away from the field in clean air. We made the most out of it tonight and got to Victory Lane. "I just won a million dollars". There is reason to celebrate big. The Promise from the new tires was a.3 to.5 quicker lap time but what we saw was a tire that couldn't hold up in traffic.
Larson was very strong and led 40 laps of the night's total of 70 when he won the first two stages.
Larson said he was told after the race that his team had a jack bolt break in the race, which slowed his pit crew's work on pit road.
Having the highest average finish in the first three segments allowed him to line up first to go to pit road. "That was pretty much the difference", Larson said. Larson stayed on the track, though, as he was required to stay on the lead lap at the end of the next two segments to officially lock up his spot in the final 10 laps.
That's still short for a Cup Series event, but it's long enough to both make a pit stop a necessity and ensure that there's enough time for cars with better long run speed to actually matter. Johnson ensured someone else earned automatic qualification and won the third stage.More news: Tweets, tantrums and links to Russia could see Donald Trump fall
More news: Angel Gomes becomes Premier League's first 21st century player
More news: North Korean missile reached altitude of about 560 km
"Restarting in fifth, I knew I was in trouble", Larson said. I could see a million dollars out the windshield, and I just drove this Lowe's Chevy way too hard in the corner a couple of times and gave up some ground.
NASCAR, Charlotte track president Marcus Smith and Goodyear officials hoped the introduction of a "bonus tire" would liven the race. But the strategies on when to use the softer option tire in concert with the three sets of primes the teams were given created some intrigue.
Daniel Suarez showed early how important the special tyres would be as he jumped eight spots in Stage 1 after starting the race on the soft tyres in order to gain track position. They wanted to swap the option tires they'd used earlier back onto the vehicle, as their option tires were used under caution and had been swapped out early due to a vibration. The crew changed all four tires, and because he had made two laps, although under yellow, with the option tires, the team could not put them back on the vehicle. The tires had to be brand-new when put on the auto, and NASCAR ruled even used only under caution, the tires no longer were allowed.
He had just completed two laps over 231 miles per hour - the fastest laps of the day - when his auto wiggled coming through the second turn. Unfortunately for Keselowski, there was no loophole and he was out of tires to use.
Two-time pole victor Ed Carpenter had the fastest vehicle in Indianapolis 500 qualifying with a four-lap average of 230.468 miles per hour. He had topped 231 miles per hour on his two previous laps. Drivers and team members have an obligation with the sport; the fans don't.
At Topeka, Kansas, Matt Hagan had the fastest Funny Car pass in NHRA history to top qualifying Saturday in the NHRA Heartland Nationals. "I'm just mad that we weren't in the lead during it". We've got the conditions, the parts and pieces and the power and the crew that is doing a great job out there. I just wanted to do everything I could to get to every position I could.
(6) Dale Earnhardt Jr., Chevrolet, Eliminated, 60.