Mon, Sep 12, 2005 - Page 19 News List

Kurt Busch takes Rock & Roll 400 as Newman rises


Kurt Busch won at Richmond International Raceway. Ryan Newman won a chance to unseat him as series champion.

Busch took the checkered flag in Saturday's NASCAR Chevy Rock & Roll 400 for his third win of the season and Newman finished 12th to climb into the 10th and final spot entering the "Chase for the Nextel Cup."

One week after his 20-year-old brother Kyle Busch became the youngest race winner in premier series history, Kurt Busch drove his Ford Taurus across the start-finish line 0.899 seconds ahead of the Ford of teammate Matt Kenseth.

Kurt Busch, who climbed a spot to fifth in the standings, and Kenseth are among five Roush Racing drivers in the "Chase," which begins next weekend in New Hampshire.

"The fact that we have all five of our drivers in a synchronized swimming kind of situation, where they're all at the top of their game at the same time, is pretty special," said team owner Jack Roush, whose drivers have won the past two championships.

Kurt Busch, who needed only to start his engine Saturday to gain entry into the "Chase," led five times for a race-high 185 laps and averaged 98.567 miles per hour around the 3/4-mile track.

"This is something we've been looking forward to for many races -- Richmond," Kurt Busch said. "We wanted to get a good finish because it has bit us so many times."

Kenseth, the 2003 series champion, was happy just to get a crack at his second title. "I'm relieved, but I'm more than relieved. I'm excited," said Kenseth, who has come on strong in the past month. "We were way behind two months ago. We just kept digging and digging. I feel like we have some momentum."

Kenseth entered Saturday ninth in points and ran in the top 10 for most of the night on his way to a second-place finish. Greg Biffle finished third, giving Roush Racing the first team 1-2-3 sweep in a Nextel Cup race since Hendrick Motorsports did it in the 1996 Daytona 500.

Kyle Busch's Chevrolet and Rusty Wallace's Dodge completed the top five.

Newman, who entered the day just one point behind 10th-place Jamie McMurray, joined estranged Penske Racing South teammate Wallace in the "Chase." McMurray's hopes of sealing a spot in the 10-race championship run were dashed when his Dodge Charger was knocked into the inner wall by Tony Raines with 36 laps to go.

"You just have to be conscious of what's going on with the other cars, and [Saturday night] it worked in our favor with the No. 42 [McMurray] getting in an accident," Newman said. "You work on the best strategy to get the car in the best position ..."

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