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Busch Finishes 25th After Dominating at Pocono

 

  • Jul 28, 2003

LONG POND, Pa. (July 28, 2003) - Kyle Busch led the most laps in Saturday’s Pennsylvania 200 ARCA Series event at Pocono Raceway, but the end result was disappointing for the driver and his No. 87 ditech.com team.

Starting from the pole position, the 18-year-old opened the race in dominating fashion, taking an early lead over NASCAR Winston Cup Series regular Casey Mears while running the quickest lap times on the 2.5-mile track.

Busch paced the first 19 circuits before pitting under caution for four tires and fuel at Lap 20. He fell to third on the stop, but quickly regained the lead on Lap 30 after chasing down Mears, who had taken the point under the yellow flag.

With his times a full half-second better than the field, Busch led for another eight laps before the third caution of the day triggered another round of pit stops. The No. 87 ditech.com Chevrolet came out third on the restart as other teams opted to stay on the race track.

Once again, Busch moved to the first position, catching leader David Reutimann on Lap 45 and stretching his lead to multiple car lengths. Three laps later, the Las Vegas native radioed crew chief Gary DeHart that the car was tight, so the team once again visited pit road during the next caution, picking up four tires and fuel. With some drivers not pitting and others takings only two tires, the team lost valuable track position, but continued to post the quickest times of the 41 cars at Pocono.

While running in the 10th position, the team’s day came to an abrupt end as the No. 23 Chevrolet of driver Ron Cox came down the race track on the frontstretch with what appeared to be an attempt to block the ditech.com Chevy from making a pass. After being forced to the bottom of the racing surface, the cars made contact in Turn 1, spinning Busch into the outside retaining wall, which resulted in major damage to the No. 87. Because of the car’s condition, the team went behind the wall and was not able to return to competition.

Busch was credited with a 25th-place finish, leading a 33 of 56 laps before the incident—the most of any driver.

Piloting the No. 77 entry, Mears won the Pennsylvania 500, leading 28 of 80 laps for his third ARCA victory of 2003.

The No. 87 ditech.com Chevrolet’s next appearance will be in the NASCAR Busch Series event at Indianapolis Raceway Park on Aug. 2. It will be Busch’s second career start on the circuit.

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