Kurt Busch won the 65th Annual STP 500 at the Martinsville Speedway. Busch is the 6th different race winner for the 2014 season; bring his #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet to victory lane. Busch started 22nd for today’s race, during the race that featured a record high of lead changes with 33, the previous was 31, set on April 3, 2011.
Kurt Busch breaks his winless streak of 83 races dating back to October 2,2011at Dover International Speedway. Busch has 25 wins in 477 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races. This is his second win at Martinsville, his first victory dated back to the fall race in 2002.
“It’s a dream come true to have Gene Haas call you and tell you, he wants you to drive,” Kurt Busch said in victory lane. “He wants to go for trophies and wins; it’s just an unbelievable feeling to deliver for Haas Automations.”
The race started with a green race track after having rain the previous day, cancelling two practice session for the NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers as well as the NASCAR Camping World Series Truck Race, the wind was cold with sustained winds of 20-25 mph and gust up to 55 mph, causing debris to fly around the track.
Busch led for 23 laps on 3 different occasions, battle Jimmie Johnson, the six-time Sprint Cup Champion, with 8 victories and an average finish of fifth, for the win. Johnson led the most laps, leading 296 laps on 11 different occasions. And when Johnson passed Busch for the lead with 17 laps to go it seemed as if win number 9 was closing in. But the #48 Lowe’s Chevrolet slipped and Busch made his move and with 10 laps remaining held on to the top spot for the win.
“We were so on edge slipping and sliding. I gave him a little nudge to get inside him, and he came and put some pressure back on me, but it was so slight,” Johnson said during post race interviews. “I think the lack of security in our own car kept us from feeling more racy and putting a bumper to someone or really getting inside someone aggressively. The lack of comfort probably prevented us from racing a little harder.”
With Dale Earnhardt Jr. finishing 3rd he regains the point lead in the standings, Joey Logano finished 4th, with Marcos Ambrose finishing in 5th. Matt Kenseth, Kevin Harvick, Aric Almirola, Clint Bowyer and Paul Menard rounded out the top ten.