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Two Days Later: Busch Battles for Win at Michigan

BROOKLYN, MICH. — Kurt Busch has done it again. Teamed with veteran crew chief Pat Tryson at Penske Racing, Busch raced to his second win of the season at a soaked Michigan International Raceway.

Busch was patient when he needed to be in a Tuesday afternoon NASCAR NEXTEL Cup race that tried everyone’s patience for two days.

Rain Sunday and again Monday sent the drivers to their motor coaches for two straight days, where cabin fever set in. It rained and rained, and then rained some more.

Tuesday’s race was the first ever run on a Tuesday since NASCAR instituted its next clear day rainout policy. An unbelievable crowd stayed for the race after the two days of terrible weather and miserable conditions.

Once things dried out some and a fog lifted, Busch became the man of the hour, holding off Martin Truex Jr. for the win. Jimmie Johnson finished third, Matt Kenseth fourth and Denny Hamlin fifth.

Four-time champion Jeff Gordon was trying to hold on to fifth position with 12 laps to when Kenseth accidentally hit him from behind. Gordon spun off the track and needed help from the safety crew after his car stuck in the mud. He wound up 27th.

Something happened to Gordon’s car prior to the accident as he was falling back before the incident with Kenseth.

Greg Biffle, battling several cars for 12th position with two laps remaining, bumped Kyle Busch’s car and spun setting up a green, white, checker finish.

On the restart, Kurt drove away from the pack to win. His other win this season in the Miller Lite Dodge came at Pocono two weeks ago.

The former champion laid back early in Tuesday’s race but led more laps than anyone by the finish.

Rounding out the top 10 behind fifth-place Kenseth were Dave Blaney, Carl Edwards, Brian Vickers, Bobby Labonte and Tony Stewart.

Dale Earnhardt, Jr., wound up 12th after leading and running up front most of the afternoon.

A heavy fog clung to the track when the green and yellow flags fell a little after 10 o’clock Tuesday morning after a two-day delay. The 43-car field made 10 laps at slow speed before NASCAR displayed the red flag and brought the cars back on pit road.

Race officials, as well as team spotters, could not see the backstretch clearly. NASCAR delayed the start until the fog lifted.

The race finally started under green flag conditions a little after 11 o’clock with outside pole sitter Biffle taking the lead.

It didn’t take long for the first caution. Juan Pablo Montoya tried to go under Blaney in turn one, lost the handle and spun. Substitute driver Chad McCumbee, filling in for injured Kyle Petty (broken wrist), also spun but neither car made contact with anything.

At 30 laps, a competition caution allowed the teams to check tire wear since two days of steady rain had washed all the rubber off the track. Biffle was leading at the time with Gordon in tow. Hamlin was next and Labonte was fourth.

Gordon beat Biffle back on the track. Hamlin also beat Biffle out of the pits. Robby Gordon was the leader by virtue of not pitting.

Jeff Gordon, however, quickly went to the front with Vickers in tow.

Johnson went to the front after 50 laps and Kenseth had worked his way to second from 21st starting position. Vickers had his Toyota humming in third place and Kurt Busch had moved from 15th to fifth.

Stewart also charged through the field from 35th to ninth. Earnhardt was right behind him, coming from 39th starting position.

Mark Martin’s engine let go at lap 88 to bring out a caution.

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