Busch, Newman And Sunday's ‘Shameful' Accident
Topics: Dodge Dealers 400, Kurt Busch, Ryan Newman
September 26, 2007
Sunday’s Dodge Dealers 400 at the Dover International Speedway has etched a lingering buzz in the racing industry. Why? Because two of the most sought-after drivers contributed to a ‘shameful’ accident.
What happened? Kurt Busch and Ryan Newman were within 14 laps of producing top-five finishes when a right-front flat tire sent Busch staggering into the backstretch’s outside wall, paving the way for a 10-car melee that also involved Newman.
Busch was running fourth and Newman fifth when the accident occurred. When Busch’s Miller Lite Dodge Avenger smacked the outside wall, Newman cut his Alltel Dodge Avenger to the left in an attempt to avoid Busch, but Busch bounced off the wall and into Newman, Auto Racing Daily reported. With the field so tightly packed due to a restart just one lap earlier, the accident collected several top 10 cars, three of whom were hoping to make substantial gains in the Chase for the NEXTEL Cup in addition to Busch.
“I don’t know exactly what happened, but we must have had a right-front tire go down and something broke on the right-front suspension,” said Busch. “It’s a shame because the day was shaping up to be a great comeback for us in the points.” Busch is now 11th in the point standings, trailing leader Jeff Gordon by 15 1 points with eight races remaining in the title chase.
“If I would have known it was going to be that big of a mess, I would have just hit him [Busch] and tried to knock him out of the way instead of crossing my car up and blocking the race track,” said Newman, who remained 14th in the standings.
Sunday’s race was quite chaotic. Those who were involved in the 12-car Chase for the Championship experienced problems – mechanical and otherwise. But the most notable was the lap 386 accident which pushed Newman to the 28th-place finish and Busch 29th. The Dodge AC compressor, the heart of their cars, will certainly detest the accident.
Both Penske drivers ran in the top ten for most of the race. Starting fourth, Busch led once for 20 laps and never ran lower than seventh until lap 290 when he had to make a green-flag pit stop. Busch was seventh when the stops cycled around about 25 laps later, but he was only a straightaway ahead of the leader, the report added.
Starting 24th, Newman immediately started moving towards the front on the hard-hitting, one-mile track. He had cracked the top 15 by lap 60. But with five caution flags in the first 200 laps, it took Newman until lap 180 to break into the top 10. There, he ran for the majority of the remaining laps until the accident in lap 386.
Aside from the 13 caution periods, the race was stopped twice while track workers cleared the high-banked speedway after accidents. The first occurred on lap 370 and consumed five minutes 12 seconds, while the second came on lap 386 and lasted eleven minutes 40 seconds.
“We just have to bite the bullet and go on,” said Pat Tryson, Busch’s crew chief. “It was a really wild race out there today and you can see how much things can change in just one race. You’d expect this many cars to have trouble at a place like Talladega, but certainly not here at Dover. There’s a lot of racing left to do, including the races at Talladega, Martinsville and other wild-card sort of tracks, so you never know what can happen. We’ll just regroup and be ready again for them at Kansas next weekend.”
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