SPARTA, Ky. (AP) - Kyle Busch took the lead with three laps to go and held on to win the Meijer 300 on Saturday night at Kentucky Speedway for his
third Busch Series victory of the year.
The 19-year-old Busch, the brother of Nextel Cup driver Kurt Busch, started from the back of the 43-car field after wrecking his car in practice.
Busch qualified second Friday, but wrecked his Chevrolet during a post-qualifying practice session. Because he used his backup car Saturday, he had to
start at the back of the field.
By the 47th lap, Busch had moved into the top 10. He slowly worked his way through the rest of the field, and with 13 laps to go, on a restart after a
late caution, he was third behind Greg Biffle and Jason Leffler.
After passing Leffler, Busch ducked under Biffle for the lead with three laps left. Busch won by 1.274 seconds over Biffle, who has won three Busch
Series races this year. Mike Bliss finished third, followed by Ron Hornaday Jr. and Jason Keller.
Busch, who averaged 126.633 mph, remained second in the series points race behind Martin Truex Jr., but closed the gap from 40 to 10 points. Truex
finished sixth Saturday.
Biffle took the lead from defending race champion Bobby Hamilton Jr. with 77 laps to go, passing him on the front stretch.
Biffle, who drives full-time on both the Nextel Cup and Busch Series circuits, extended his lead to more than eight seconds before Johnny Benson's car
slammed into the wall with 19 laps left, prompting a caution.
Biffle had entered pit row a lap earlier, but was assessed a black-flag penalty by NASCAR officials for going too fast down pit road. The penalty
forced him off the lead lap, but he received a break because of the caution.
He left pit row just after the caution came out. He was the only car on the track and still on the lead lap, so he went from 11th to first because the
rest of the lead-lap cars were in the pits.
Biffle remained angry after the race about the penalty.
By the time of the final caution, Hamilton had fallen to third, and he left the race with 19 laps to go because of engine trouble. Hamilton led for
"What can you do?" Hamilton said. "It was just an awesome day. We've been battling motor stuff all year."
Three cars caught on fire during the race. On the 10th lap, Blake Feese's car hit the wall in Turn 2, but he exited the car unscathed and the fire
quickly was extinguished.
"We just got loose," Feese said. "I was loose from the start. It got to the point where I couldn't hang onto it any more."
On Lap 71, cars driven by Buckshot Jones and Travis Geisler tangled near the spot where Feese's car caught fire. Jones' burning car slid down from the
wall to the infield. Jones escaped the car as the fire grew and he was able to walk to a waiting ambulance.
Jones received treatment in the infield medical center for smoke inhalation, but was otherwise unhurt.
On Lap 117, Mark Green's car blew an engine and caught on fire as he headed to pit row. He was not injured and the fire was extinguished.
The announced attendance of 72,312 was the largest ever for an event in the five-year history of Kentucky Speedway
[Edited on 6/20/2004 by William]