Hendrick Motorsports

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Busch Finishes Second in First Visit to Phoenix

  • Nov 06, 2004

AVONDALE, Ariz. (Nov. 6, 2004) – It’s been said that records are made to be broken.  That phrase is becoming all too familiar, as rookie driver Kyle Busch and his Team Lowe’s Racing crew continue to raise the bar in NASCAR Busch Series competition.

After breaking the Busch Series track qualifying record at Phoenix International Raceway on Thursday, Busch capped off the weekend by shattering the mark for most laps led by a Raybestos Rookie driver in a single season en route to a second-place finish in Saturday’s event.

Entering the weekend, Busch needed to lead just seven circuits to break Greg Biffle’s rookie record of 948 laps led in a season.  The 19-year-old quickly accomplished that goal and much more, leading all but 53 laps of the event in his No. 5 Lowe’s/Gladiator Garageworks Chevrolet.

Jamie McMurray, who ran in second place for much of the day, made a daring outside pass to take the lead on Lap 193, and held off Busch’s charge during the remaining 12 laps to claim the victory.

“It was an overall good day for the Lowe’s Chevrolet,” Busch said.  “The guys did an awesome job on pit stops and gave me a great piece in order to go out there and lead the most laps today.”

The runner-up result marked the 15th top-five finish and the 21st top-10 result of the 2004 season for Busch and his Hendrick Motorsports team.  Busch and Biffle are now tied for the Busch Series record for most top-10 finishes by a rookie in a single season (21) and remain deadlocked for most-ever wins by a rookie (5).

It was also the seventh time this season Busch has led the most laps and the 24th time he has been named the Raybestos Rookie of the Race.

Busch and the No. 5 team gained ground for the second week in a row on Martin Truex Jr. in the running for the 2004 NASCAR Busch Series championship.  With two races remaining, Busch and his team sit second, 161 points out of the lead.

Team Lowe’s Racing will next visit Darlington (S.C.) Raceway, where the No. 5 team is the defending event champion after winning the Busch Series race at the egg-shaped track with driver Brian Vickers in September 2003.  Busch, driving the No. 87 Hendrick Motorsports Chevy at the time, finished second that day.

Darlington is also the site of the first pole position of Busch’s NASCAR career.  He claimed the top starting spot at the 1.366-mile facility in March.

Saturday’s 200-mile NASCAR Busch Series race will air live from Darlington at 1 p.m. ET on TNT and MRN Radio affiliates.