BROOKLYN, Mich. (June 14, 2009) The long, sweeping turns of Michigan International Speedway played host to Sundays LifeLock 400, the 15th of 36 scheduled point races on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series regular-season schedule. Three Dodges started inside the top 10 on the very fast and wide two-mile oval in the Irish Hills. And in typical MIS fashion, fuel mileage was the determining factor for the Dodge Boys and the entire 43 car field.
Penske Racings Kurt Busch (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger) looked to be on his way to a top-five finish until fuel mileage woes indicated that the former two-time event champion would be two laps short on fuel in the 200-lap race. While running sixth on lap 199 and conserving as much fuel as possible, Busch ran empty in Turn 4. That dropped him two spots. He finished eight. Busch never ran outside the top 10 the entire race.
A solid day for our Miller Lite Dodge today, Busch said. We made changes all day and felt like the changes that we made for the last run really made our car competitive. Otherwise, we would have slid outside of the top 10. On that last run, we had to switch into fuel-conservation mode because we knew that we were about two laps shy on fuel, but we made it. Overall, we have to be pleased with our effort. We just didnt have a contending car to win the race. Well take an eight-place finish today.
Busch moved up one spot in the NSCS driver point standings to fourth, 151 points ahead of the 12th and final Chase spot.
Elliott Sadler (No. 19 Best Buy Dodge Charger) earned his best finish since the Daytona 500 with an impressive 12th-place finish. Sadler never ran outside of the top 20 en route to earning his fourth top 12 in the last six races at MIS. Like most of the field, Sadler had to strategically conserve fuel without losing track position during the last 20 laps.
Im proud of my guys this weekend, Sadler said. Thats the lightest car that we had all year with the most lead in it, and it showed today. You have to have light race cars to run good and we got that today. Thats definitely our best run in a while (fifth at Daytona 500). I had to pedal our Best Buy Dodge there at the end to make sure that we got the fuel mileage, but we were able to make it. Im just proud of my guys. Weve been kicked and beaten down the last month. We came back to a track that we know we should run well at, and did it. It felt really good.
Richard Petty Motorsports teammate Kasey Kahne (No. 9 Budweiser Dodge Charger) ran inside the top 10 for the first 117 laps of green flag racing with the Dodge R6P8 engine powering his Dodge Charger. Racing as high as third on lap 117, Kahne was challenged by poor fuel mileage most of the race. The 2007 event champion had to conserve fuel for the last 80 laps.
Our Budweiser Dodge felt good all day, Kahne said. We had such bad fuel mileage that we had to save so much (fuel), but still ran out (of fuel). I couldnt save any more fuel than I did today and not practically stop, but we still ran out. Im disappointed. Were finished 21st and should have been in the top 10 for sure.
The winner of the 400-mile event was determined by fuel mileage. Jimmie Johnson and Greg Biffle, the two front runners, ran out of gas on the final two laps, opening the door for Mark Martin to claim his third win of the season.
With only 11 races remaining before the field is set for The Chase, Kahne sits 15th in the driver point standings, 91 out of the 12th and final Chase qualifying position.
Twenty-two cars finished on the lead lap.
Driver Team Finished
Kurt Busch No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger 8th
Elliott Sadler No. 19 Best Buy Dodge Charger 12th
Kasey Kahne No. 9 Budweiser Dodge Charger 21st
Reed Sorenson No. 43 Reynolds Wrap Dodge Charger 27th
Sam Hornish Jr. No. 77 Mobil 1 Dodge Charger 29th
David Stremme No. 12 Penske Racing Dodge Charger 38th
AJ Allmendinger No. 44 Stanley Dodge Charger 39th
Driver Rank Starts Points Behind Wins Poles T5s T10s
Kurt Busch 4 15 1961 -228 1 0 4 8
Kasey Kahne 15 15 1719 -470 0 0 1 4
Sam Hornish Jr. 24 15 1447 -742 0 0 0 3
Reed Sorenson 26 15 1444 -745 0 0 0 1
Elliott Sadler 27 15 1436 -753 0 0 1 1
AJ Allmendinger 31 15 1321 -868 0 0 1 2
David Stremme 32 15 1316 -873 0 0 0 0
NASCAR SPRINT CUP
SERIES POINT STANDINGS
(Top 12 after 15 of 36 races)
1. Tony Stewart 2,189 –
2 Jeff Gordon 2,142 -47
3. Jimmie Johnson 2,047 -142
4. Kurt Busch 1,961 -228
5. Ryan Newman 1,934 -255
6. Carl Edwards 1,927 -262
7. Greg Biffle 1,913 -276
8. Mark Martin 1,868 -321
9. Kyle Busch 1,860 -329
10. Denny Hamlin 1,849 -340
11. Matt Kenseth 1,848 -341
12. Jeff Burton 1,810 -379
The Sprint Cup Series heads west for Sundays SavMart 350 at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif. Its the first road-course race of the season for the Cup drivers. The green flag is scheduled to drop at 5:15 p.m. (EDT).
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