Kyle Busch Proves to be the Expert at Infineon

Samuel SicaAnalyst IMarch 12, 2017

The Sprint Cup Series headed to Sonoma, California, for the first road-course event of the season. Kasey Kahne started from the pole position along with Jimmie Johnson on the outside of the front row.

Kahne led the first four laps of the race until Johnson passed him on lap five. After the first 20 laps of the race Kahne had dropped back to the 13th position after starting from the pole. Kahne would struggle the rest of the race and finish in the 34th position.

Johnson would continue to pull away from the rest of the field until green flag pit stops started taking place on lap 26. Greg Biffle was the first to pit with Jeff Burton and Kevin Harvick pitting a lap later. Johnson stayed on the track and got bit by a caution flag on lap 30 for an accident by David Ragan and Joe Nemechek in turn 11. This would allow all the drivers who made their pit stops under green to start at the head of the field on the restart. The leaders would all come to pit road for the first time with Johnson winning the battle out of the pits.

On the restart, Biffle was the leader with Juan Pablo Montoya, Kyle Busch, Jamie McMurray, Burton, Harvick, David Gilliland, Tony Stewart, Martin Truex, and Casey Mears rounding out the top ten. Johnson would restart in the eleventh position.

Biffle’s lead would be short lived though as he spun out in turn two on the restart. This handed the lead over to Kyle Busch on lap 34, which proved to be the turning point in the race. Busch would continue to lead the race under the green flag until green flag pit stops started taking place again on lap 67. Burton, Harvick, and Clint Bowyer all pitted together with Montoya, Kyle Busch, Stewart, and Jeff Gordon pitting a lap later. With Busch coming to pit road, the lead fell into the hands of Carl Edwards. Unfortunately for Edwards, a caution flag came out for a spin by Robby Gordon after running out of fuel. The leaders would all come down pit road under the caution putting them behind all the drivers who made their stops under the green flag once again.

Kyle Busch would lead the field down for the restart with Montoya in second position. Shortly after the green flag came out, the third caution flag of the race came out for a spin by Montoya in turn 11 of the front bumper of Marcos Ambrose. Marcos was making his first career Sprint Cup start and just made a mistake and locked up his brakes.

Ambrose was having a great run in his first start running in the top ten for the most of the day. Unfortunately, it all came to an end with 27 laps remaining when he broke a gear and got spun by Elliott Sadler. Ambrose would finish back in the 42nd position.

The race restarted with Kyle Busch continuing to lead. Busch would pull away from the rest of the pack and looked to be well on his way to victory, but everything changed with fewer than 10 laps remaining. David Reutimann brought out the caution flag which bunched up the field once again. This would allow McMurray and Stewart to try and mount one last charge for the victory.

As the race restarted, Stewart passed McMurray and looked to be gaining on the leader until misfortune struck. Harvick went into a turn too hard and locked up his brakes. This caused Harvick to spin McMurray right into Stewart which ended his shot at the victory. All the drivers would continue on but did not get the finish that they were hoping for.

The race would restart but quickly come to a halt when a crash involving road-course expert Scott Pruett and Denny Hamlin brought the sixth and final caution flag of the event out. The race would restart under a green-white-checkered condition, which allows the field one chance to complete the race, but if a caution flag comes out the field is frozen and the race is over.

Kyle Busch took the restart as the leader and finished the race as the leader. It was Kyle’s fifth win of the season and his first career road-course win.

The top ten finishers were Kyle Busch, Gilliland, Jeff Gordon, Bowyer, Casey Mears, Montoya, Ryan Newman, Matt Kenseth, Edwards, and Stewart. Some other notable finishes include Biffle in 11th, Earnhardt Jr. in 12th, Burton in 13th, Johnson in 15th, Terry Labonte in 17th, McMurray in 18th, Harvick in 30th, Pruett in 32nd, Kahne in 34th, and Robby Gordon in 37th position.

The top twelve in points are Kyle Busch, Burton, Earnhardt Jr., Edwards, Johnson, Gordon, Biffle, Hamlin, Kahne, Bowyer, Stewart, and Kenseth. Falling out of the top 12 was Harvick who sits in 13th position, just two points out of 12th.

Infineon is now in the history books and we can all look forward to a great weekend of racing in New Hampshire.