LONG POND, Pa. - Kyle Busch's racing triple weekend ended with a bump and a spin.
On Lap 48 of yesterday's Pocono 500, Busch's Toyota veered to the right on the front straightaway and made contact with Jamie McMurray's Ford. Accompanied by the cheers of fans who consider Busch the biggest villain in the Cup series, he drove his damaged car to the garage area and later resumed racing.
"I saw the [No.] 26 [McMurray] get high and thought he faded back further than what he did," Busch said. "I didn't know he was out there still. We broke a mirror trying to adjust it before the race and I couldn't see anything out my right-rear quarter panel. The spotter didn't say anything, so I apologize to McMurray for wrecking their day."
McMurray recovered to finish 20th.
With 22 laps to go, Busch completed his busy weekend by spinning as he exited Turn 2. His last-place finish was his first since his rookie year in 2005.
Busch's Cup-series points lead over Jeff Burton was whacked from 142 to just 21; Burton placed fifth.
On Saturday night, Busch finished 20th in the Nationwide series race in Nashville; he arrived back at Pocono Raceway about 1 a.m. On Friday night, Busch was runner-up in the Craftsman Truck Series race at Texas Motor Speedway.
Before leaving for Nashville on Saturday, Busch wrecked his Cup car during practice at Pocono. He spun exiting Turn 3 and hit the pit-road wall. Driving a backup car, he had to start at the back of the field in yesterday's Pocono 500.
Rough day for rookie
Sam Hornish Jr. never had days like this when he was winning in Indy-car racing.
Hornish, a Cup rookie, spun twice in his No. 77 Dodge and later collided with Dario Franchitti, another rookie who was successful in Indy racing. Hornish finished 42nd.
"I just got in the corner and couldn't keep the back end underneath me and got up into [Franchitti]," Hornish said. "Pretty bad day for us."
Pocono crowd off
At last Sunday's Cup race at Dover International Speedway, attendance at the Delaware track was approximately 25,000 short of its 140,000 capacity. Rising gas prices are affecting attendance at NASCAR races since many fans have to travel distances.
At Pocono yesterday, there were vacant seats in the grandstand and some empty spaces in the infield where RVs park. The crowd estimate was about 85,000, short of the usual 100,000.
Stenhouse ARCA winner
Ricky Stenhouse, a Roush Fenway development driver, won Saturday's ARCA series race at Pocono. Stenhouse is the ARCA points leader. Scott Speed, the ex-Formula One driver, was second. *