UPS Game-Changing Moments: Martinsville
March 30, 2014, Staff report, NASCAR.com
BUSCH BULLIES JOHNSON FOR THE WIN
On Sunday at historic Martinsville Speedway, the driver known as "The Outlaw" committed highway robbery.
Bullying his way past six-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson with 10 laps left in Sunday’s STP 500 at the .526-mile short track, Kurt Busch held on to edge Johnson by 0.263 seconds, denying Johnson a ninth Martinsville victory.
A Martinsville winner in 2002, Busch added a second victory at Sprint Cup’s oldest current venue to his resume. Busch’s 25th career victory was his first triumph in the No. 41 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet and the first victory as a Sprint Cup crew chief for Daniel Knost.
KESELOWSKI CAUGHT BY KURT ON PIT ROAD
Busch stole the victory from Johnson, despite an earlier collision on pit road with Brad Keselowski’s Ford that cost Keselowski 31 laps.
"Kurt just accelerated and drove through us," Keselowski said. "Absolutely drove through us."
“We’re done,” Busch said tersely after running into the back of the No. 2 Team Penske Ford, a car Busch drove for much of his career, to date.
That was far from the truth. Busch worked his way back into contention and restarted third on Lap 466 after caution for Carl Edwards spin in Turn 2. On Lap 473, he got the nose of his car under Johnson’s No. 48 Chevy and grabbed the lead.
MCMURRAY'S DAY ENDS EARLY AFTER DALE JR. SPIN
Running for seventh place at Lap 199, Dale Earnhardt Jr. got into Jamie McMurray in Turn 2 to bring out the sixth caution of the race.
"He (Dale Earnhardt, Jr.) barely got into me and you hope that wouldn't happen and he would get off of you, but he didn't," McMurray said. "I went around and got into the wall pretty hard."
The contact spun the No. 1 car into the wall, ending a run that saw the car in the top 10 for most of the race after starting ninth. McMurray was able to get back on track, but the damage left him with a 42nd-place finish.
"There was a lap car holding up our pack. I thought the No. 88 would be a little more patient with me. I had gotten by him in lap traffic. Then he got on my inside.
"When he got into me, it was like it couldn't get off and spun me around and just got into the wall there."
The NASCAR Wire Service contributed to this report.