Shelbyville Daily Union
---- — Kyle Busch drove, in his words, a mediocre car, most of the day, but a late race 2-lap shootout put him in victory lane for the first time this year and second in a row at California.
A race record 35 lead changes occurred on the day, and just when you thought you had the race figured out, someone else would blow a tire.
Jimmie Johnson appeared to be in control until seven laps left when he cut down a tire, putting Jeff Gordon in the lead. Gordon was trying to make his old tires last the final few laps, but Clint Bowyer was a thorn in Gordon’s side once again. This time Bowyer spun because of a flat tire, setting up a two lap shootout.
Almost all drivers came to pit road for at least two tires, as tire wear was so critical on this track. Kurt Busch won the race off pit road with a two tire stop, while his brother Kyle started in fifth. Landon Cassill actually stayed out in hopes of holding off the field for the win, but once the green flag flew, that dream was over. He probably had a better chance of rain coming that holding off the field for the win. Kyle Busch shot to the lead and was followed closely by Rookie Kyle Larson, who held off Busch the day before for his first Nationwide victory of his young career.
Larson got close, but Busch took the checkers. Kyle’s brother Kurt held on for third place, while Matt Kenseth was fourth and Tony Stewart posted his second straight top five in fifth place.
While tires were a problem all day, most drivers complimented NASCAR vs blaming Goodyear. NASCAR’s new aero rules are producing higher speeds that lead to extra stress on the tires - particularly on the bumpy asphalt on Fontana’s back straightaway, which already wears out tires aggressively. So because NASCAR is letting teams be more aggressive it is leading to teams pushing the envelope a bit more and possibly causing more breakdown on various parts of the car, including tires.
Carl Edwards posted a tenth place finish to move him into the points lead over Dale Earnhardt Jr by a single point.
Linda Petty passes away at 72
Lynda Petty, the wife of seven-time NASCAR champion Richard Petty, died Tuesday after a long battle with cancer. She was 72.
She was diagnosed with central nervous system lymphoma four years ago.
Richard and Lynda Petty were married in 1959, and she played an instrumental role in her husband’s early racing career. Richard Petty, holds the Sprint Cup record with 200 victories.
*** Hamlin misses California, will race Martinsville ***
About 30 minutes before the start of the race, Denny Hamlin was taken to a local hospital for further evaluation after his vision became impaired. It was later said, this happened due to a sliver of metal in his eye. Hamlin has been cleared and will race at Martinsville this week.
It’s a girl
Matt Kenseth’s wife gave birth to a girl on Tuesday morning, Clara Mae Kenseth, their third child, all girls.
Martinsville set to hand out another clock
When you think of Martinsville, Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson have enough grandfather clocks to open a store…so how do you not pick either one of them. The answer…you don’t. I like Jeff Gordon to find himself to victory lane this week after being so close last week. Yes, Johnson was about just as close, but I feel Gordon will get the better of the two. Another one to watch is Denny Hamlin, one of his best tracks as well with four wins. Combined these three drivers have 20 wins at the track.