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Busch Charges to Fifth at Lowe’s Motor Speedway

  • Oct 15, 2004

CONCORD, N.C. (Oct. 15, 2004) – For a time, it looked as if Kyle Busch and his Hendrick Motorsports teammate, Jimmie Johnson, might post a one-two finish in Friday night’s “SpongeBob SquarePants The Movie 300” NASCAR Busch Series event at Lowe’s Motor Speedway.

Johnson, driving a No. 48 Chevrolet bearing the image of cartoon character Spongebob Squarepants on the hood, and Busch, driving the No. 5 Team Lowe’s Racing entry emblazoned with an image of Spongebob’s best friend, Patrick the starfish, had two of the fastest cars in the race.

Together, the two Hendrick drivers led 52 of the event’s 200 laps, and at one point the duo pulled away from the rest of the field by over half a straightaway.

Johnson and Busch, who started the event from the 20th and 18th positions, respectively, were running first and second on Lap 134 when a caution flag came out for an accident involving Ashton Lewis Jr.  Needing more fuel to make it to the end of the race, both elected to come to pit road and top off during the caution.

As Busch was exiting pit road, he made contact with the No. 20 car of Mike Bliss, damaging the right-front nose of the No. 5 Lowe’s Chevrolet.

“The (No.) 20 car checked-up and I saw that, and then I saw the (No.) 8 car checking up and I couldn’t get slowed down quite quick enough,” Busch said.  “That was probably a mistake on my part getting into the back of him.”

Busch had to come back to pit road to let his crew repair the damage, which dropped him to 26th position for the Lap 138 restart.

Over the last 62 laps, Busch charged back up through the field, crossing the finish line in the fifth position, while Johnson posted a third-place result.

When a reporter pointed out that Busch had made up 21 positions after the pit road incident, Busch said,  “That just shows you the (No.) 5 car was an awesome car tonight and probably should have won the race.  We just didn’t have track position.  We kind of fought that.

“We started back like 18th and we fought up to the front.  We led for a while and my teammate, Jimmie Johnson, was strong, too.  The Hendrick cars probably could have had a one-two (finish), but we just weren’t up there at the end to fight with it.”

The fifth-place result was the 13th top-five finish and the 19th top-10 finish of 2004 for Busch and his Hendrick Motorsports team.  Johnson finished third.

Busch was named the Raybestos Rookie of the Race for the 21st time in 29 races this season, and expanded his lead over Paul Menard in the Raybestos Rookie of the Year competition.

Busch and his No. 5 Team Lowe’s Racing crew also made up a little ground on the No. 8 team of Martin Truex Jr., who finished sixth, in the battle for the 2004 Busch Series championship.

Busch now trails by 144 points with five races remaining in the season.

Next up for Busch and his Hendrick Motorsports crew is a trip to Memphis (Tenn.) Motorsports Park.  The 250-lap event will air live on Saturday, Oct. 23 at 3:30 p.m. ET on TNT and MRN Radio affiliates.

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