DOVER, Del. - The theme for the 40th anniversary of Dover International Speedway is "40 Fast Years."
Kyle Busch lived up to that theme by leading 154 of the last 163 laps of yesterday's Best Buy Benefitting Student Clubs for Autism Speaks 400.
The "other" orange Toyota in the Joe Gibbs Racing stable won the NASCAR Sprint Cup race. Tony Stewart's familiar No. 20 orange Toyota was involved in a 10-car wreck early in the race. There were no injuries in the pileup.
Busch's margin of victory over Carl Edwards was a comfortable 4.2 seconds. With 47 laps remaining, Busch was 7.7 seconds ahead of Edwards.
Busch has won three of the season's last five Cup races. He finished second and third in the other two races in the last five. The Cup points leader has a series-leading four wins.
Stewart's nickname is "Smoke." The way Busch is dominating the series, maybe he should be "Smoke II" or "Son of Smoke."
Greg Biffle, Edwards' Roush Fenway teammate, finished third. Biffle, the fastest qualifier, led the most laps (164). Busch paced 158 laps and Edwards was ahead for 64.
Following Busch's smoking "donuts" celebration in his car at the start/finish line, he climbed onto the car's roof and bowed to the crowd like an actor taking a dramatic curtain call. This infuriates some fans, especially the Dale Earnhardt Jr. rooters, whose feelings toward Busch are on a par with a high-speed flat tire on an interstate.
While Busch, 23, is intensely disliked by many fans, evidently he has fit in during his first year at Gibbs Racing.
Said Joe Gibbs, the successful former NFL coach: "To see how Kyle has hit it off with Steve [Addington, his crew chief] is great chemistry. Tony [Stewart] and Denny [Hamlin] are good teammates. They can win any race, too."
Gibbs said Stewart and Hamlin both supported the signing of Busch after he was excused from Hendrick Motorsports.
"They said 'Go get him,' " Gibbs said. "Kyle is very smart and knows a lot about the race car."
When Gibbs asked Busch what happened at Hendrick, Busch replied, " 'I'm young and I make some mistakes.' "
Asked how he handles Busch, Addington smiled and said, "I just let him go. He learns for himself."
Clearly, Busch is a fast learner. He was in such a good mood after winning his eighth career Cup race (and first at Dover), he wouldn't dispute that his command of the latter portions of the race didn't create much excitement for viewers.
"It wasn't all that exciting, but that's a product of what we've got going on," he said, referring to Car of Tomorrow issues regarding passing.
Biffle said an alternator problem on his No. 16 Ford caused him to lose the lead.
"The car was missing at the end of the straightaway," he said. "I got an awful pain in my stomach from not having any oxygen inside the car. I panted inside that thing for 300 laps. It just wore me out."
Earnhardt was caught up in the 10-car wreck. He returned to the track and finished 35th. Earnhardt held third place in the points standings.
Elliott Sadler said he was trying to pass Jeremy Mayfield exiting Turn 2. David Gilliland's car was inside of Sadler and they made contact.
Stewart couldn't "whoa up" his car, as they say in NASCAR, and rammed into Sadler. Stewart finished 41st.
With more than a trace of sarcasm, Stewart said, "I take 100 percent responsibility. It's my fault for being anywhere near Elliott. If I'm within a half a lap of him, I expect that to happen."
The race was red flagged for 16 minutes, 13 seconds while debris from the crash was cleaned up. *