Kyle Busch takes four tires, doesn’t hit pace car, wins at Fontana


Kyle Busch of Las Vegas won another race at Auto Club Speedway in California on Sunday.

He suggested that Harry Hogg should get an assist.

Harry Hogg was a fictional NASCAR crew chief in the movie “Days of Thunder.” The Harry Hogg character was played in a crusty fashion by Robert Duvall, who wore a trucker’s cap and sometimes called his driver Cole Trickle (played by Tom Cruise) in for late race pit stops.

During these stops, the wizened Hogg would suggest to his neophyte and sometimes hot-headed driver they should use strategy none of the other drivers and crew chiefs would think of.

Such as pitting for four tires instead of two. Or going back on the track and hitting the pace car “because you’ve hit every other damn thing out there (and) I want you to be perfect.”

On Lap 197 Sunday, Busch’s crew chief Dave Rogers, reprising the role of Harry Hogg, chose the former strategy (although the latter would have been much more interesting and no doubt would have made the plays of the day on ESPN). He radioed for Busch to pit and take four fresh tires while the other leaders took just two.

Busch got out fifth for the restart and steered his Toyota to the win in a green-white-checkered finish ahead of the other contenders who pitted for two tires. These included his big brother Kurt.

“That right there is a ‘Days of Thunder’ thing,” Kyle Busch said after posting his 29th career Cup victory and his third at Fontana. He led just five laps.

“Holy cow, what do you expect when you get a green-white-checkered finish and everybody has to come down pit road for tires? Unbelievable day.”

It was the first win of the season for the younger Busch and enabled him to jump from 14th to seventh in points, ahead of that cocky Russ Wheeler.