FYI WIRZ: NASCAR's Kurt Busch, Jimmie Johnson and Carl Edwards Talk Dover Win

Dwight Drum@@racetakeCorrespondent IIIOctober 3, 2011

Kurt Busch talks to Dale Earnhardt Jr. before introductions
Kurt Busch talks to Dale Earnhardt Jr. before introductions

Kurt Busch talked about his AAA 400 win at Dover International Speedway on Sunday with the usual mentions of his team and car performance. But, he had to know that mistakes by Jimmie Johnson and Carl Edwards helped him get to Victory Lane. Johnson came in second while holding off Edwards, who finished third.

Kurt Busch roared to the front during the latter part of the race after Johnson and Edwards made critical mistakes, allowing Busch to claim the lead and keep a fast hold on it.

Both Johnson and Edwards admitted to errors that kept them from winning—Johnson because of failed restarts and Edwards for speeding off pit road.

In a way, Busch, Johnson and Edwards all won big at Dover, because both Busch and Johnson leaped up five spots on the championship list. Edwards moved up two spots to tie Kevin Harvick for the lead.

When the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) changed the playoff system, Chase for the Sprint Cup, perhaps they envisioned contenders vying for the big prize right up to the end of the 10-race scheme. If that was their only hope, they have had wishes granted, as the championship has been decided many times at the finale in Homestead.

After three Chase races, the first nine spots separate drivers by only 19 points. Any driver among the top nine is within grasp of the championship. The next seven races will decide.

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Contrast that with the IZOD IndyCar Series, which has no playoff system. The past five races or more have been a championship bid between only two drivers—Dario Franchitti and Will Power. The championship will come down to the last race with the same old, two-contender scenario.

Busch, Johnson and Edwards had comments before and after this race that may predict how well they do contending for the next seven checkered flags. 

Kurt Busch (No. 22 Dodge): Finished first. (Started second)

Before the green flag:

“You have to stay on top of the handling situation all race long and that’s such a challenge—at least, it has been for us through the years,” Busch said. “The track gets rubbered in, and your car just gets tighter and tighter.

"Track position is always important and the fast pit stops, and strategy from pit road is a must in getting you that. I mean, you have to have raw speed, but being able to adjust on the car during the race is so key," he said.

After the checkered flag:

“It was just perfect execution today with making the car better during the race,” Busch said. “To win in a Sprint Cup race in the Chase, this is what it’s all about. This is the playoffs.

“Right around half way, I was scared. I wasn’t sure which way to go. Steve (Addington) just kept making some air pressure adjustments in certain areas, and the car just kept coming back to us. The first 100 were perfect. The last 100 were prefect,” he said.

Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 Chevrolet): Finished second. (Started sixth)

Before the green flag:

"I’m really looking forward to this weekend,” Johnson said. “Dover has always been a good place for the 48 team, and I really enjoy racing there. I’m not really sure why, but it has always just kind of suited my driving style.”

After the checkered flag:

"Great run,” Johnson said. “Certainly wish we could have finished one spot better, but just didn't get a good restart the last two restarts."

"We came into this Chase wondering what happened to the No. 14 (Tony Stewart). Then the No. 14 is on fire and where did the No. 14 end up today. It just shows how inconsistent this Chase is going to be," he said. 

Carl Edwards (No. 99 Ford): Finished third. (Started fourth)

Before the green flag:

“It’s a fun race track,” Edwards said. “It’s got a high sensation of speed, but those concrete tracks really boil down to how good your car is and how precise you can get that setup."

"There is less firing from the hip and more marching through the setup and changes. I really like that style, and that race track is just a lot of fun," he said.

After the checkered flag:

“It was a great day other than that feeling I had when I ruined it there on pit road,” Edwards said. “That’s about as small as you can feel in a race car."

“I think someone wrote a long time ago, I don’t remember which book it was, but my buddy Carl Fredrickson had this book at his house, and it said that you don’t succeed by being the guy that does everything perfect; you succeed by being the guy that minimizes the mistakes, because everyone is going to make mistakes," he said.

FYI WIRZ is the select presentation of topics by Dwight Drum at Racetake.com.

Unless otherwise noted, quotes and information were obtained from official release materials provided by NASCAR and team representatives.

Photo credit: Dwight Drum at Racetake.com

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