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Busch Nabs Top-10 Finish at ‘The Rock’

  • Nov 10, 2003

ROCKINGHAM, N.C. (Nov. 10, 2003) – Behind the wheel of the No. 87 ditech.com Chevrolet, Kyle Busch brought home a seventh-place finish in his final NASCAR Busch Series race of the season.

Busch was 17th on the North Carolina Speedway grid at the beginning of the Target House 200—only his second start outside the top 10 on the circuit—but methodically climbed toward the front, even with a tight-handling race car.

The first caution flag of the afternoon waved on Lap 36, which allowed Busch to visit pit road for a fresh set of tires, fuel and an air-pressure adjustment. With a quick stop, the ditech.com team picked up a position on pit road, coming off in 12th overall.

As another yellow flag was displayed less than 20 laps later, Busch reported that the car’s handling had dramatically improved. The team stayed on the race track during the caution, once again restarting in 12th at Lap 61.

Just 10 circuits later, the 18-year-old passed Greg Biffle to join the top 10 as the No. 87 Chevrolet was clocked as the fastest car on the 1.017-mile oval.

While holding a top-10 position, Busch continued to post solid lap times over the next 40 laps before green-flag pit stops began to cycle through. In a move that paid off, the ditech.com team was one of the first to bring its driver to pit road, which put them in the top five as the front-running cars visited the pits.

Busch was scored in the fourth position on Lap 23, his highest position of the race, and stayed within the top seven as a caution flag came out just after Lap 165. When pit road opened, crew chief Brian Pattie brought the No. 87 Chevy to pit road for service, giving Busch tires, fuel and a slight air-pressure adjustment in the right-front tire to correct a loose-handling condition.

The team again picked up spots on pit road as Busch held the fifth position on Lap 179 of the 197-lap event. As the event wore down, the No. 87 team would stay within the top six before being passed by Hendrick Motorsports teammate Brian Vickers on the final lap to eventually finish seventh overall.

NASCAR Winston Cup Series regular Jamie McMurray won the Target House 200 at North Carolina Speedway, while Vickers assumed the championship lead going into Saturday’s season final at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

In just seven races in 2003, the ditech.com team earned three top-10 finishes, including a pair of runner-up showings, and started in the top 10 in all but two races. Busch has also posted two wins and trio of pole positions in ARCA Series action this season.

As the NASCAR season comes to a close this weekend at Homestead, Busch will once again field a ditech.com-sponsored Monte Carlo—this time in Winston Cup. The Las Vegas native will attempt to qualify for Sunday’s 267-lap event in the No. 60 ditech.com Chevrolet, which will complete his 2003 “ABC” (ARCA, Busch and Cup) schedule.

Live coverage of Sunday’s race will begin at 12:30 p.m. ET on NBC and MRN Radio.

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