Kyle Busch Wins at Phoenix
- Nov 13, 2005
- 5 Team
AVONDALE, Ariz. (Nov. 14, 2005) – Kyle Busch and Kellogg’s Racing made their second trip to Victory Lane this season, winning Sunday’s NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series event at Phoenix International Raceway.
The performance marked team owner Rick Hendrick’s 140th career win and the 10th for Hendrick Motorsports in 2005.
As a race fan, Busch saw his first-ever Cup race on Oct. 29, 1994 at PIR and, ironically, it was Terry Labonte in a No. 5 Chevrolet who took the checkered flag that day. Eleven years later, the 20-year-old NEXTEL Cup rookie from Las Vegas led 63 laps, including the final 28.
Starting 15th on the grid, Busch was confident he would be competitive in race trim as crew chief Alan Gustafson selected a car that recorded top-10 finishes at both Phoenix and New Hampshire.
Busch initially reported a lack of overall grip around the track, so the team pitted under caution on Lap 27 to make track bar and air pressure adjustments to improve the loose-handling condition. The No. 5 Kellogg’s Chevy broke into the top-10 on Lap 53.
Another pit stop on Lap 84 brought more changes as Busch reported the car was loose into the corners and tight off. Gustafson called for a wedge adjustment to help the handling and, on Lap 130, Busch reported the car was comfortable as he drove to the eighth position.
The run almost went south as Busch felt he had a right-front tire going down on Lap 160. The team pitted on Lap 163 to change four tires and, with the unscheduled pit stop happening under green flag conditions, the team went two laps down to the leaders. The crew examined the problem as Busch rode in the 30th position.
Just two laps later, the yellow flag flew and Busch opted to stay out on the track, decreasing the two-lap deficit to just one. He maintained his position as the first car one lap down and was granted another lap when the caution flag flew again on Lap 191. After Busch regained his second lap, the team loosened up the car on Lap 193 and began the next run from the 22nd position.
Busch pitted again for tires on fuel on Lap 210, and the stop put the team into its fuel window. With a pit strategy call by Gustafson at Lap 213, Busch took the lead under caution and led until pitting on Lap 256 for four fresh tires. Upon exiting pit road, Busch lined up fifth. He wasted no time racing to the front and, after swapping the lead with Greg Biffle in the closing laps, took the lead for the final time with 28 laps to go.
Busch took the checkered flag, notching his 13th top-10 finish of the season.
“It’s great to be involved with such a great team like Hendrick Motorsports and Kellogg’s, CARQUEST, Delphi and everybody that’s helped us out this year,” Busch said. “It’s been a great opportunity for me.”
Busch’s Hendrick Motorsports teammates also had solid runs, with Jeff Gordon third, Jimmie Johnson seventh and Brian Vickers 26th.
Second in the championship standings, Johnson is just 52 points out of the lead with only the NEXTEL Cup season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway remaining.