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Burton wins a wild one

He surges ahead of Kyle Busch just before the finish line and wins race marred by 12 cautions.

March 11, 2007|Jim Peltz | Times Staff Writer

LAS VEGAS — Jeff Burton nipped Kyle Busch at the finish line to win a wild, crash-marred NASCAR Busch Series race Saturday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway that produced a track record for caution periods.

Accidents involving 18 cars brought out nearly all of the 12 cautions, which broke the previous record of eight yellow-flag periods set here in 1997 and again in 2005. More than a quarter of the race's 200 laps were run under caution.

Burton and Busch were approaching the finish line side by side when Burton edged ahead on the outside. Simultaneously, Busch spun out as the two Chevrolets took the checkered flag in front of an estimated 110,000. Tony Stewart was third in another Chevy.

"To his credit, [Busch] didn't give me an inch more than I needed, but he gave me what was mine," Burton said. "He could have run us both into the wall."

As Busch climbed out of his damaged car, his brother Kurt -- who finished fourth -- pulled over to make sure Kyle wasn't hurt. Burton, too, drove by slowly to check on Kyle before heading to Victory Lane.

"I couldn't hold him off," Kyle said of the finish. "He beat me fair and square."

Teams had feared a spree of problems this weekend, stemming from the track's redesign during the off-season, which included raising its corner banking to 20 degrees from 12. That sent speeds sharply higher in testing two months ago. In response, Goodyear brought a harder tire to Las Vegas to limit speeds.

But many drivers have struggled to adapt to the changes, and Saturday's crashes collected such drivers as Matt Kenseth, Greg Biffle, Casey Mears and Paul Menard.

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james.peltz@latimes.com

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