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Kyle Busch cruises at Phoenix in final Busch race with Hendrick

11/10/2007 - NASCAR

AVONDALE, Ariz. -- Kyle Busch's run of bad luck officially
ended Saturday at Phoenix International Raceway.

Busch followed his Friday night Truck Series win with a victory
Saturday in the Busch Series, giving him a chance Sunday in the
Nextel Cup event to become the first driver to sweep all three of
NASCAR's national series at the same track on the same weekend.

"I am not saying we will. I am not saying we won't," Busch
said. "I am just saying we hope to. It would be a great honor to
have that."

In preparation for the moment, Busch pulled a broom-waving fan
into Victory Lane to pose for pictures. Busch starts 38th in
Sunday's race.

"It would be really special to get that for Kyle," crew chief
Alan Gustafson said. "It would be a great way for us to finish up
the year."

The promise is a steep turn of events for a driver who arrived
in Phoenix frustrated by what he considered four-straight losses.
He was on pace to win the Cup event two weeks ago in Atlanta until
a slow final pit stop took him out of contention.

Then he dominated the Truck race in Texas, but blew a motor and
failed to finish. He was disappointed with a second-place finish in
the Busch Series, and after leading 153 laps in the Cup race, faded
to fourth at the end.

But the 22-year-old driver jumped right back behind the wheel to
find solace, fleeing Texas for his hometown of Las Vegas to test a
late model car. And he was actually racing for four wins this
weekend -- Busch had to hustle out of Phoenix to make it back to
Vegas in time for a 140-lap short track race.

So his mood was considerably lighter as he left PIR, where he
led 131 laps and held off Matt Kenseth over several late restarts
to claim the win. The 11th caution brought out an 11-minute
red-flag, and Kenseth had one last chance to chase down Busch for a
two-lap overtime finish.

But Kenseth, who had no power steering, had nothing for Busch on
the restart and he jumped out to a lead of about six car-lengths
and coasted toward his fourth Busch Series win of the year.

"Hey, little buddy, you drove the wheels off of that thing,"
team owner Rick Hendrick said. "You sure deserve that one. Great
job."

It was the final Busch Series race of Busch's career at
Hendrick. He's leaving the team at the end of the season as it
makes room for Dale Earnhardt Jr., and Busch isn't scheduled to
race next weekend in the finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

In 101 Busch starts for Hendrick, Busch won 11 times.

He celebrated in Victory Lane by personally congratulating every
crew member. The team then doused him with ice and water.

"To go out winning a race means an awful lot," said Busch, his
voice quivering a bit. "It's all these guys here. They work their
guts out, they work their hearts out in the shop in order to
prepare us and get us ready for the race track."

Gustafson was emotional discussing the end of the run with
Busch.

"It's tough for a lot of reasons, not only Kyle parting ways
with Hendrick Motorsports," the crew chief said. "We've gone
through a little bit of a rough patch. That gets hard, a little
animosity between Kyle and myself. Not anything out of hand, but
it's pretty emotional.

"You put a lot into this, and it catches up you."

Kenseth's Ford failed postrace inspection, with NASCAR saying
the right rear was too high on the second-place car.

Kenseth said the lack of power steering didn't cost him a chance
at the win.

"It wasn't bad, but in two laps, I couldn't get him," Kenseth
said. "Maybe with 15 laps I could have made a little run. It
slowed us down, but I don't think it made the difference in winning
and losing."

Clint Bowyer finished third.

"I was hoping Matt would get up there and crash him, but he
didn't," said Bowyer, who said he was frustrated with the finish.