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Notebook: Two Busches out of hand
Kyle, Kurt finish well back in pack at Sonoma Raceway

SONOMA — Kurt Busch had another fascinating race here. Two years ago, he won the Toyota/Save Mart 350. Last year, driving for tiny Phoenix Racing, he worked his way through the pack and finished third. This time, wearing the colors of another smaller team — Furniture Row Racing — he was all over the map.

Busch started seventh, weaved his way to the front and led for 15 laps, then got bumped back to 38th after consecutive penalties for driving too fast on pit road. The Las Vegas native went back to work and ultimately wound up in fourth place, something of a triumph.

“Yeah, we were fast — even on pit road, twice,” Busch said after the race. “I messed up, flat-out. I didn't hit my tachometer right and I was speeding both times. . . . You've got to rub guys and move guys, and we gave guys room and just made one mistake. I think we could have gotten all the way up to second, but we never would have caught (Martin) Truex.”

NASCAR Toyota/Save Mart 350


Kurt's younger brother, Kyle Busch, fared worse. His car wound up battered, and he landed in 35th place.


Asked how this week differed from last, when he crashed into Bobby Labonte six laps into a race at Michigan and wound up finishing 39th, Jeff Gordon had a three-word answer: “I finished second.”

Gordon might not be the King of Sonoma anymore, but he is still royalty here. He finished in the Top 8 for the eighth consecutive year after starting in the 10th position. Gordon was pleased with the result, but sounded a cautionary note on the new Generation 6 car in his post-game press conference.

“There's one thing I'm going to talk to NASCAR about with this car,” he said. “We don't have the body in the right position for the road courses to turn right. When we go to Watkins Glen, as fast as those right-handers are, we're going to have some issues. There's nothing to lean on. . . . On the right turns the cars are just so out of control.”


The record for most starts at Sonoma Raceway without a top-10 finish belongs to Joe Nemechek, who did it 16 times. Nemechek can be excused; he has usually driven slower cars for smaller teams. Next in line? None other than Dale Earnhardt Jr., who has yet to crack the top 10 here in 13 tries.

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