A Busch Brothers Weekend
March 8, 2009 | 6:26 P.M. EST
Busch passed Carl Edwards on a green-white-checkered restart after Robby Gordon's blown tire set up the overtime finish.
He got around Edwards on the white flag lap and then held off a hard-charging Gordon to score his first win since last June at New Hampshire.
“This car was unbelievable,” Busch said. “Good things come to those who wait. We have waited a year to get a good package with this car of tomorrow. …This place can chew you up and spit you out. But we had the handle today.”
Busch led 234 of the day's 330 laps to score his 19th career Sprint Cup Series win but had a few close encounters with the wall along the way.
"Today I felt like I drove the track and not the competition," Busch said. "This was old-school Darlington and old-school Rockingham. The times I brushed the wall was just stupid. I was racing the competition."
After suffering through a mostly disappointing season a year ago, Busch has started to make a comeback to the form he showed when he won the 2004 series title.
Team owner Roger Penske is not surprised.
"We've had a great driver in this car from the day he joined our team, but I don't think we've given him a good enough horse," Penske said.
"Kurt never lost faith. I know we all wondered last year if we had fallen off the train. But he saw what we were doing trying to get better cars. I think that has shown in the past four races. We're back in business."
Gordon tried to rundown Busch is the final lap but came up short of ending his winless streak.
"We’re getting close,” Gordon said after his second runner-up finish of the season. “We’re going to keep knocking on the door until we get to Victory Lane.”
Edwards took two tires on the final pit stop before the overtime finish but that wasn't enough to hold off Busch.
“Kurt had been fast all day, so I knew he was the guy to beat," Edwards said. "He was right there behind me with four tires and I kind of felt like a sitting duck there, pun intended. We got down into turn one and he got to the outside of me and that was it, so I was fighting with Jeff there to try to get everything we could."
Kevin Harvick and Brian Vickers rounded out the top five.
Clint Bowyer, Kasey Kahne, Tony Stewart, Jimmie Johnson and Martin Truex Jr. completed the first ten finishers.
Truex Jr.'s finish was impressive, coming after he spent the night in a local hospital passing a kidney stone.
Pole-sitter Mark Martin had a third straight bad week when he cut a tire and hit the wall sending him to a 31st place finish.
It was a caution-filled afternoon with 10 yellow flags including one when a crew member from Marcos Ambrose's team ran after an errant tire out in the track's tri-oval area. NASCAR threw a caution under the circumstances, which changed the entire strategy of the race for many of the teams and caught several a lap down on pit road.
Gordon leads the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series standings with 634 points. Clint Bowyer (591) is in second followed by race winner Kurt Busch (588). Carl Edwards (547), Matt Kenseth (546), Tony Stewart (521), Kyle Busch (514), Kevin Harvick (511), Kasey Kahne (484), Greg Biffle (480), Brian Vickers (477), and David Reutimann (475) round out the top-12.
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series takes a weekend off before returning to action on Sunday, March 22nd at Bristol Motor Speedway.