Kyle Busch may have won the race—leading four times for 38 laps en route to the victory—but Danica Patrick was the story, running the best race of her short NASCAR career. After falling a lap down just over 70 laps into the race, Patrick fought hard for the lucky dog but found herself just one shy of the spot for the first two cautions.
Patrick finally caught a break on lap 102 when a caution fell for debris. After attaining the lucky dog, she gained a few positions and seemed well on her way to her first top-15 (and lead lap) finish. However, disaster struck on lap 141 when James Buescher moved left and spun Patrick, collecting Ricky Carmichael and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. in the incident. Stenhouse wound up 29th, Patrick in 30th, Carmichael 31st. Buescher finished 17th and denied that the contact between he and Patrick was intentional.
“It was definitely not intentional,” said Buescher. “It was closing laps of the race. You're not just going to lift because somebody is going toward the wall when they're inside of you. You have the lane when you're that far alongside of them. They can't just drive over the nose.''
“I kinda got into the car that ended up turning me the lap before and I didn’t mean to,” said Patrick. “So the next time I got pretty close but I gave him room and looking at the replay it looks like it may have been avoidable.”
Meanwhile, Kevin Harvick was none too happy with his pit crew after the race. Harvick was the more dominant car of the day, leading the most laps at 86 and still coming up short while finishing in the third position. While third is nothing to sneeze at, Harvick feels like he should have been where Busch was: in Victory Lane. He vowed changes would be made to the crew during the week.
“If they can’t stand the pressure, they’re going to have to find something else to do,” said Harvick.
Meanwhile, Busch was celebrating his 12th victory of the season, continuing to set the precedent for most wins in a single season in NASCAR Nationwide Series competition.
“Pit road probably won this race,” Busch said. “I can’t thank these crew guys enough. To come out there and get number 12 is awesome.”
First of all, Patrick did not slide across Buescher’s nose. Watch the replay and Buescher’s car clearly moved left down to Patrick’s lane, not vice-versa. If Buescher wants to argue that he didn’t on purpose, that’s one thing. But the fact that the replay clearly contradicts what he was saying makes me even more suspicious than I already was.
On Harvick, I can’t blame him for being upset with his pit crew. Harvick lost several positions on pit road on almost every stop, which ultimately cost him the victory. This isn’t the first time that his pit crew has cost him a better finish.
In his pit crew’s defense, one of the pit stops was slowed because the right rear tire changer got Speedy Dry in his eye, which is used to clean the racing surface after a caution.
However, the No. 33 has been struggling with pit crew issues all year and Harvick has finally had enough.
As far as Busch, it’s the same ol’ same ol’. Sometimes it’s not a lot of fun to watch someone make history, but several decades from now we’ll look back on it and realize Busch’s sheer dominance was truly an amazing feat.
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