Busch Wins In Milwaukee His First
July 1, 2000 | 12:00 A.M. EST
WEST ALLIS, Wis. -- Kurt Busch wasn’t about to let Roush Racing teammate Greg Biffle have all the fun.
The 21-year-old driver of the No. 99 Exide Batteries Ford F-150 earned his first NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series victory Saturday in the Sears Diehard 200 at The Milwaukee Mile. In the process, the rookie standout denied Biffle, who was attempting to win a record fourth consecutive NCTS race, a piece of history. Biffle, who leads the Truck Series in points standings finished the race third, behind Randy Tolsma.
"It was great to shut down Greg’s streak because this starts a streak of our own," said an elated Busch. "But at the same time, it keeps the streak alive for Roush Racing. That’s four in a row for Roush, and that’s the big picture that we’re looking at.
"We tried to end Greg’s streak a couple of weeks ago at Kentucky, but I think I tried too hard and wound up getting in an accident. Greg went on to win that race, and then last week we just didn’t have enough for him. This makes up for it, but Greg’s an awesome teammate and I’m sure he’ll settle for third place this week."
Busch dominated Saturday’s event, leading 156 of the 200 laps, including the final 55 when he got past Biffle.
"This just shows that we came off the truck smart and really did our homework with this racetrack," said Busch, who earned his second straight top-5 finish and his fifth top-10 finish in the last six races. "This team is really coming together. We had awesome pit stops today and the truck just handled like a dream. It’s really great to get this first win under our belt."
A late-race caution saw Biffle and Steve Grissom dive into the pits to change left side tires. On the re-start with 11 laps remaining, Grissom and Biffle stood fifth and sixth, respectively.
Biffle and Grissom both moved up a spot past Andy Houston, then Biffle took fourth place away from Grissom on lap 191. It was apparent that the two-tire change worked to Biffle’s advantage.
The seventh and final caution flag waved on lap 193 when Billy Kann spun out in turn 4. Biffle shot past Jack Sprague on lap 197 for third place, then set his sights on second place Randy Tolsma and Busch.
"There just wasn’t enough time to catch Kurt, he and that team did an awesome job today," said Biffle, who extended his Truck Series points lead to 82 over Sprague, who wound up finishing eighth. "Kurt had a great truck all day and he deserves this one for sure."
"I think we made the right call coming into the pits when we did. Unfortunately we just didn’t have enough time to catch Kurt or Randy. We’re extremely happy with third, so now we’ll go on to New Hampshire and try to get back into victory lane there."
"After Greg’s team put on those tires on the last stop, I really didn’t think we had the truck to beat," Busch said. "We had been on old tires for a while, but we didn’t even think about coming in. We had to stay out because we had such a good thing going.
"On the last re-start I just put the thing to the floor. We were a little tight at the end, but we were able to stay out front and get the win. This is just awesome."
Busch’s victory netted him an extra $10,000 for winning the race from the Bud Pole position. Busch earned the top starting position on Friday by blazing around The Milwaukee Mile in a fast lap of 120.518 mph.
Busch led the first four laps before Tolsma took the point for four. Biffle then secured the top position and stayed there until lap 34. Busch reassumed the lead from laps 35 to 73 before Biffle once again took a short turn up front.
Busch led from laps 87 to 143 before pitting under caution, then took the lead again for good on lap 145 with Tolsma close behind.
"When those guys passed us early, we were just feeling the track out," Busch said. "But then they came back to us. We weren’t going any faster, it’s just that they came back to us, and that’s a good feeling when that happens. We knew we had a good truck then and had a good chance to put the Exide Batteries Ford in victory lane."
Tolsma, who moved into the sixth position in the Truck Series points standings, earned his second runner-up finish of the season (the other came at Evergreen Speedway in Monroe, Wash).
"It was another great day for the Citgo Supergard Dodge," Tolsma said. "We just came up one position short. We got into the lead early in the race and the truck tightened up. We just couldn’t seem to get past Kurt at all. He just had the truck to beat today, no doubt about that. It’s great to see a new winner in the series."
Grissom battled his way back from early adversity and being a lap down to record a fourth-place finish, tying him for his season’s best (he finished fourth at California). Andy Houston wound up fifth, followed by Marty Houston, Lance Norick, Sprague, Scott Riggs and Bryan Reffner.