Kyle Busch didn’t make history by winning all three Texas Motor Speedway races this weekend, but Jimmie Johnson’s seemingly insurmountable lead in the points standings now seems surmountable and Kurt Busch’s win at the Dickies 500 earned a NASCAR fan $1 million.
The two Busch brothers battled each other throughout the race. Kyle led 232 of 334 laps, but Kurt was always within reach of his younger brother.
On the final run of green-flag pit stops, Kurt stayed out an extra two laps. He lost positions, but with the strategy, needed less fuel to make it to the end. Kurt said he was saving fuel in the race and knew, barring a miracle, his brother couldn’t make it, enabling him to cruise to the victory.
As for Johnson, on lap three, David Reutimann tapped the rear quarter of Sam Hornish Jr.’s No. 77 Dodge in between turns one and two, sending Hornish up the track and into championship leader Jimmie Johnson.
As Johnson got sideways exiting turn two, it almost looked like he saved the car, but he lost it on the back straightaway, clipping Hornish before crashing into the inside wall.
Crew members from Johnson’s 48 team, as well as the Hendrick Motorsports No. 24 team of Jeff Gordon and No. 88 team of Dale Earnhardt Jr. feverishly worked on the car, replacing numerous internal suspension parts, as well as the entire front body and a body pieces.
Johnson would later return to the track on lap 115. By virtue of a number of start-and-park teams that didn’t finish the race, and others who were taken out by on-track incidents, Johnson would up finishing 38th.
Johnson was able to endure the hit to his points lead by virtue of a 184-point lead over second place teammate Mark Martin. His more than a race points lead has now shrunk to 73 points, still a long way’s out, but much closer with only two races to go.
Johnson was less than pleased with Hornish after the race.
“I was on the outside lane driving by a couple cars, and I didn't really even see the 77 get loose and I got clobbered from the side and around I went,” Johnson said. “I just wish the 77 could have ran the bottom and held onto his car. He seems to lose control of that thing a lot and hit a lot of things throughout the course of a race. My focus is more on that aspect of it. Wishing he would have realized it was just lap three or four, whatever it was and just drive his car.
Johnson however, acknowledged he hadn’t seen the video of the incident and wasn’t aware Hornish himself was hit by another car. “I don't know what happened...All I know is I got clobbered from the side from the 77,” he said.
Kyle Busch won Friday’s Truck Series race when Chevrolet drivers in second and third had to conserve fuel to make it to the end. He won Saturday’s Nationwide race, blowing away from the field. He seemed well on his way to becoming the first NASCAR driver to win all three national touring division races at the same track in the same weekend, but couldn’t save enough fuel.
Race sponsor Dickies again held its annual contest to name its “American Worker of the Year.” This year’s winner is Michael McGee, a 25-year-old agricultural teacher and horse training business owner from Broken Bow, Oklahoma.
During a press event earlier in the race weekend, McGee – who said he’s only a casual race fan – randomly selected Kurt Busch to win from the pool of Chase drivers. He already received $50,000 from the contest, which included VIP weekends at last week’s Professional Bull Riders World Finals in Las Vegas and at the NASCAR event in Fort Worth. With the No. 2 car’s win, he got the $1 million prize.
“I want to save,” McGee said after the race. “I think I'd like to pay off my house and maybe start some sort of scholarship program for some kids going to college, maybe pursuing some type of career in agriculture, something like that,” adding he’s Busch’s new number one fan.