Originally created 04/09/06

Cup champion Busch wins in his Busch Series debut



FORT WORTH, Texas - Add a Busch Series victory to Kurt Busch's already impressive championship resume.

Already with a season title and 15 victories in NASCAR's Nextel Cup series, Busch stepped down and drove in his first Busch Series race Saturday. He led the final 70 laps - including an extra six after a flurry of late cautions at Texas Motor Speedway.

Cup regulars have won all seven Busch races and led all but 55 laps this season. Busch, making his debut in the No. 39 Penske Dodge that Ryan Newman also drives, is the seventh different Busch winner this season.

Busch celebrated with the obligatory burnout along the frontstretch before getting out of his car. After an awkward headfirst dive into the infield grass, he rolled over and did "snow angels" in the bright, warm sunshine. It was similar to his celebration on the finish line at Bristol two weekends ago when he won the Cup race at the track plagued by winter weather.

"Man, I had no idea what to expect," said Busch, who kissed the hood of his car before driving it to Victory Lane. "These guys are awesome. This is a farm team."

Greg Biffle, in one of six Roush cars, had his third straight second-place Busch finish in Texas. He finished 0.266 seconds behind the winner, and couldn't pass on either of the last three restarts - the last a green-white-checker on lap 205, the fifth extra lap in the O'Reilly 300.

"At the end, I'd get behind Kurt, I'd get close to him," Biffle said. "I tried everything. I pulled out the whole handbook and I couldn't really do a lot with him."

Casey Mears was third, and Kyle Busch - the winner's 20-year-old brother - finished fourth. Matt Kenseth was fifth, followed by Jeff Burton and Paul Menard, the highest-finishing non-Cup regular in seventh.

The last driver to win in his Busch Series debut was Terry Labonte at Lowe's Motor Speedway in 1985. Ricky Rudd did it in 1983, and Joe Ruttman and Dale Earnhardt did it in the Busch Series' inaugural season in 1982, Earnhardt winning the first race.

Kurt Busch was the season runner-up and won four races in the NASCAR Craftsman Ttruck series for Jack Roush in 2000, when he also ran seven Cup races. He moved to the Cup series full-time the next year, and his season championship came in 2004. He moved to Penske's Cup team this season.

Busch said there was never a good opportunity with Roush for him to run more than a single Busch race, something the driver didn't want to do.

"I never really had the right approach from Roush," Busch said. "I wanted to be able to develop a team and go out there for at least seven races, and maybe 10. An offer never came together properly. Penske came to me with a great program, a great structure."

Newman won six of his nine Busch starts last season. He and Kurt Busch will both drive more races in the No. 39 this season.

Kurt Busch took the lead Saturday on lap 137 when he beat Burton off pit row during only the second caution of the race. There were six cautions after that, three of them after lap 169.

There were 17 drivers in Saturday's race who also will be in the Nextel Cup Samsung/RadioShack 500 on Sunday. Nine of the top 10 starters in the Busch race were Cup regulars.

Burton led for 43 laps and Kevin Harvick, who's won two Busch races in Texas, led twice for 36 laps. Polesitter Denny Hamlin led three times for 31 laps and Kenseth led 26 laps.