Originally created 06/04/06

Burton charges to victory at Dover



DOVER, Del. - Jeff Burton had the biggest come-from-behind win ever in a Busch Series race at Dover International Speedway, overcoming a 36th-place starting position for his second victory of the season Saturday.

Burton, eighth in the Nextel Cup standings, grabbed the lead for good with 18 laps left and pulled away to win the caution-marred race. He has 22 career Busch victories.

"We were really good, but on long runs we were unbelievably good," Burton said. "The car was fast all day. The race at the end was a lot of fun. It doesn't get much better than that."

Carl Edwards, who led most of the early laps, finished second for his sixth top-five finish of the season. Kurt Busch was third as the Cup regulars again dominated the series.

Burton's win made Nextel Cup regulars a perfect 14-for-14 in Busch races this season. He also won in Atlanta.

The race was slowed by eight cautions for 34 laps, which knocked several drivers out of the race. There were 11 lead changes among eight drivers.

PAINFUL PROCESS: As long as Tony Stewart was driving 150 mph around Dover International Speedway, his shoulder didn't hurt. When he tried to get in and out of his Home Depot Chevrolet, the pain was sharp.

"The good thing is that I wasn't in so much pain that I couldn't feel the car," Stewart said after Saturday's final practice session for today's Neighborhood Excellence 400 (2 p.m., FX). "There is discomfort in the car for sure, but when I came in and saw what the lap times were, the times were actually pretty competitive for the amount of laps we ran on the tires.

"It's just a matter of doing what we've got to do to get to the first stop, which I am confident we can do now. That takes the worry out of my mind as to whether or not I'm going to be able to make it. From that standpoint, I can make it to the first or second caution and then get Ricky (Rudd) in the car."

Stewart broke his right shoulder blade last week at Lowe's Motor Speedway. The defending series champion will start today's race, but will get quick relief from Rudd, who retired after last season. As long as Stewart completes the first lap, he will be the driver of record as far as the series standings are concerned.

Besides practice on the track, Stewart's team also practiced getting him out of the car without hurting him.

"We've got a plan on how to get out where I can kind of protect myself with them actually pulling me out of the car, so from that standpoint, I'm not too worried," he said. "I'm sure it's going to be painful getting in and out, but the good thing is we're not in a hurry to get in. Getting out is going to be the hurry. It may hurt when we get out, but it's only going to hurt for a little bit, so we've got to do what we've got to do."

NO MOONLIGHTING: There's a reason why you don't see Dale Earnhardt Jr. driving a lot of races in the Busch Series, or any other racing series. His sponsor won't let him.

Earnhardt said Budweiser only wants to see him behind the wheel of his No. 8 Chevrolet during Nextel Cup Series races. That decision came after he sustained serious burns in a sports car race a couple years ago.

"I got a deal where I can only run x-amount of Busch races and blah, blah, blah," he said. "That's the sponsor's decision more for continuity with me driving the red car every week. They want consistency for the fans seeing me in a red car."

again dominated the series.

Burton's win made Nextel Cup regulars a perfect 14-for-14 in Busch races this season. He also won in Atlanta.

The race was slowed by eight cautions for 34 laps, which knocked several drivers out of the race. There were 11 lead changes among eight drivers.

Rain wiped out qualifying, putting series points leader Kevin Harvick on the pole. Harvick finished 13th and increased his lead over Edwards to 297 points.

"That was probably racing at its finest," Busch said. "That turned into a great race to watch."

Burton, making only his seventh Busch start of the season, said there was less pressure on his team starting from the back because they weren't really racing for series points.

"I told them before it started raining it would be cool if it rained," Burton said. "The opportunity to start in the back, I didn't look it as a detriment, I looked at it as something that could be fun and unique."

Clint Bowyer led 62 laps and finished fourth. Ron Hornady Jr. and Kyle Busch rounded out the top five. Hornaday's finish was his highest since 2004.

Edwards led as late as the 149th lap, but he couldn't regain the lead after he decided to pit for new tires under caution with 49 laps remaining. Burton was one of only five drivers on the lead lap who stayed out, and that was enough to finally surge past Kurt Busch on No. 182.

"I got up to second and I couldn't catch him," Edwards said. "I think we did everything we could, but he had a faster car or he did a better job driving, one of the two."

Edwards was second for the second day in a row after losing to Mark Martin on Friday night in the Craftsman Truck Series race. He'll start the Cup race Sunday in 25th and hopes for a better result in the tripleheader.

"I'd really like to win one of these things this weekend," Edwards said. "That would be a pretty good one to win."

Scott Wimmer held the Dover record for largest comeback, charging from 26th place to win in 2002.