|Credit: Debbie Ross/Skirts and Scuffs|
Rowdy started by knocking his brother Kurt off the pole with a new track record. Then he led eight times for 171 of the 334 laps of the NRA 500 and scored his first Sprint Cup win at the Great American Speedway. Rowdy and Samantha have another set of matching Charlie 1 Horse hats, and Kyle finally got the set of pistols.
The No. 18 Camry carried Gibbs' founding sponsor Interstate Batteries into victory lane in the company's hometown for the first time. JGR has only four Cup wins at Texas, one with Tony Stewart and Home Depot, two with Denny Hamlin and FedEx.
Busch's voice wavered with emotion as he described Interstate Batteries president Norm Miller's support for him personally, but was strong when he recounted the circumstances. When M&Ms temporarily pulled sponsorship after Busch's suspension at TMS in November 2011, Busch said Norm Miller refused to allow the car to go without colors and put the green of Interstate Batteries on the No. 18.
Martin Truex Jr. finished second and was obviously emotional over the loss. He expressed his frustration at finishing second again. His team worked on the car all night until it was, he said, the best car on the track but got beat out of the pits and "that was the race." His voice rose as he described how hard it is to adjust a car to the point where it will beat Jimmie Johnson and Kyle Busch, and how they HAD that car ... only to beat themselves.
Carl Edwards, on the other hand, was pleased with his finish, given the difficulties the No. 99 team faced during the race. "We adjusted more things tonight. We pulled shims and put more rounds everywhere than I think I've ever done in a race and had a good pit strategy and, fortunately, we came home third. That’s a gift for us. I know Martin is not happy with second, but I’m real happy with third.”
Defending race winner Greg Biffle brought his No. 16 Ford home fourth, while Joey Logano somehow managed to finish fifth after his and teammate Brad Keselowski's cars had to change rear-end housings after failing pre-race inspection. The No. 22 rolled onto the grid after engines had fired and Logano had to start at the rear of the field. Keselowski's team managed to get the Blue Deuce out and lined up before the command, and he wound up in ninth.
The race featured 18 lead changes among seven drivers, and seven cautions for 36 laps.
For the full finishing order click here.
The Sprint Cup Championship standings can be found here.
Be sure to follow Skirts and Scuffs' Unique Hiram next week as she reports live from Kansas Speedway.
Janine, aka Lisa or LJ, Cloud, a fifth-generation Texan, lives in Houston and considers Texas Motor Speedway her home track.
She's been a part of the Skirts and Scuffs team since May 2011, going from contributor to media rep, photographer, and associate editor covering both NASCAR and IZOD IndyCar. Janine considers it a privilege to represent the site at the track and to share with readers the excitement of the world of motorsports.