Iracingone Rewind:/I California

Inside Line
Before an estimated crowd of 100,000, Kyle Busch won the SONY HD 500, posting his career-first NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series victory and becoming the youngest driver to win a race in series history. Complete Results | Lap Summary

Keys to Victory Lane
Busch led 95 laps on his way to the win but a final restart on a green-white-checkered finish set-up by a lap 247 caution proved to be the winning move.

Highway to Hell
Three-time California Cup winner Jeff Gordon needed a solid finish to stay in contention in the "Chase for the NEXTEL Cup." He didn't get it, finishing 21st to fall out of the top 10.

Zero to Hero
Jamie McMurray started in the 40th position and climbed his way up to finish eighth and took over the tenth and final transfer spot in the point race.

Hero to Zero
Dale Earnhardt, Jr.'s days as a hero for 2005 went up in smoke with a blown engine that was the final exclamation point on Junior's dismal season.

Race to the Chase
Matt Kenseth goes up to ninth and McMurray takes over the tenth spot. With one race to go, the drivers looking in on the top 10 are Ryan Newman, who is a mere point out with Gordon 30 away and Elliot Sadler hanging on by a thread, 52 behind.

Pit Stops
  • Kyle Busch's first NEXTEL Cup Series victory came in his 31st career start. Detailed Active Driver Wins
  • This was Busch's first finish inside the top 20 at California in three starts.
  • Busch led five times for a race high 95 laps. He became the 11th different driver to lead the most laps this season.
  • Busch became the seventh driver to win from the 25th starting position. Starting Position Facts
  • The victory was the 136th and fifth at California for car owner Rick Hendrick. Detailed Active Car Owner Wins
  • Greg Biffle finished second in the Sony HD 500 after winning in February at California.
  • Brian Vickers scored his second third-place finish, and fourth top 10, in the last five races. He was the only driver in the top five on Sunday that did not lead a lap.
  • Carl Edwards (fourth) captured his second top-five finish and third of sixth or better in three starts at California.
  • Tony Stewart (fifth) broke a streak of five consecutive finishes of 16th or worse at California.
  • Kasey Kahne bounced back from a 40th-place finish in February to finish sixth at California.
  • Matt Kenseth (seventh) posted the fastest lap of the race on lap 207 at 183.127 mph.
  • Jamie McMurray's (eighth) finishing average at California is now 7.2.
  • Ricky Rudd (ninth) captured his best finish in the past five races at California.
  • Rusty Wallace and Mark Martin clinched a spot in the "Chase for the NEXTEL Cup" after finishing 15th and 11th, respectively.
  • Kurt Busch, who led three times for 39 laps and finished 12th, just needs to start the race at Richmond to secure his spot in "The Chase."

    Lug Nuts
  • The trash issue that happened at Michigan and looked like it could return at Fontana thankfully did not happen.
  • Not a bad turnout at all for the second Labor Day trip to Fontana with a crowd of about 100,000 on hand. Wonder if there was a gathering in Darlington?
  • Thoughts to Ricky Rudd on the loss of his father and kudos for his subsequent top 10 run with a heavy heart.
  • The Wayans Brothers announced plans for a new race team next year, which gives us teams from former NFL receiver Tim Brown and Dallas quarterback legends Troy Aikman and Roger Staubach on the board for 2006. Who's going to drive these things?
  • Instead of STAR-Team Wayans for the team name how bout a name based off one on the movies they starred in? - I'm Gonna Get You Sucka!, Scary Race Team, Mo Money Racing or Don't Be a Menace to North Carolina While Drinking Your Juice on the Track
  • That "Roush ballet" in the beginning of the race for each to get five bonus points had an awful Formula One team rules smell to it.
  • That sunset was tough and thankfully no one was injured. The start of the race may be set back an hour next season is the word.
  • Big props to both weekend race winners for donating their earnings to the Hurricane Katrina Relief Fund. Racefans, keep those contributions coming.
  • No fireworks went off this time with one to go.
  • Josh Duhamel's command to start the engines was right up there with Adam Sandler's from Talladega.

    Garage Talk
    "We just haven't performed this year. We sucked today; that was pathetic."
    -Jeff Gordon

    "Who cares where we go. It doesn't matter right now. Everywhere we go we either stink or we're good. I have no idea. I don't go into it with any expectations."
    -Jeff Gordon on The Chase

    "I'm really glad it's over with and I'm ready to go to Richmond. I promise my fans I'll be back in Victory Lane next year."
    -Dale Earnhardt, Jr.

    "You can't see anything going into (turn) three and then you can't see anything in your rearview mirror on the front straight."
    -Elliott Sadler on the sunset

    "I have to thank Jon Wood, Fatback and the whole Wood Brothers team for everything they did the past two days. I really appreciated it and it gave us the finish we got tonight."
    -Ricky Rudd

    "We've got our heads just barely below water, but we've got time to pick it back up, and get a breath of fresh air."
    -Ryan Newman

    "Hopefully we will have it together by next season, even if we have to put Marlon behind the wheel."
    -Keenan Wayans on his family's new race team

    Fan Forum (What they are saying on the Message Boards)
    "I'm awefully proud of Kenseth the last half of the season. He went from someone who was well.... sort of "not there" to kicking a$$! He may not be winning, but he's in the chase so far. Awesome Matt!"

    "That's the best smoke from a blown motor I have ever seen, since Bill Elliot at Texas in 2003."

    "Now what are Jr. fans gonna watch? Beach volley ball? Golf?"

    "Roush may have a 50% Chance at winning three straight in this year's Chase if he can field half of the Chase participants...that is unreal"

    "Congrats Kyle on the win. You ran one Hell of a race. Since your not old enough to drink, this one is for you."

    RacingOne Rating
    On a scale of one to ten sun visors, we'll give Sunday night's Sony HD 500 a six. It wasn't exciting side-by-side racing by any means but Kyle Busch's historic win and the "Race for the Chase" drama kept our attention most of the evening. Maybe a 400 mile race would be better and lead to more actual racing. 500 miles sure seems to drag on. Well it's all down to this and any other cliche you can come up with. The final race to make the playoffs next Saturday night with the Chevy Rock 'n Roll 400 at Richmond.
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