MARTINSVILLE, Va. – Kurt Busch’s Sunday at Martinsville Speedway, in some ways, was like his career wrapped into one afternoon.
It started with a pit-road confrontation with Brad Keselowski, one that had Busch threatening over his radio to rearrange Keselowski’s face when the STP 500 was finished, and ended with Busch halting an 83-race victory drought in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.
The victory was his first for Stewart-Haas Racing, in their sixth race together, suggesting it could prove a productive partnership — one a reflective Busch said he has learned to approach with a more mature attitude.
“I ran a lot of my early part of my career as an individual and I didn’t respect my team, my team owners,” the 35-year-old Busch said, adding that having Tony Stewart as a team owner has helped him learn the value of better team communication.
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Busch passed Jimmie Johnson for the lead with 10 laps to go and held off the eight-time Martinsville winner to triumph at the track for the first time since October 2002. It was Busch’s 25th career victory at NASCAR’s highest level.
“You’ve got to put life in perspective, and you have to learn from your mistakes and you can’t just sit there and try to muscle your way individually through certain situations,” he said.
Johnson, who led 11 times for 296 laps, was second and said, “Man, I ran the rear tires off the car.”
Greg Biffle of Vancouver, Wash., was 18th and Kasey Kahne of Enumclaw was 22nd of 43.
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Will Power won the season-opening IndyCar Series race through the streets of St. Petersburg with a dominating run. It continues a trend the Australian started last season by winning three of the final five races, including the last two.
Ryan Hunter-Reay finished second in the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.
• Lewis Hamilton ended his drought at Formula One’s Malaysian Grand Prix in Sepang and led a one-two finish for the Mercedes team.
Hamilton beat teammate Nico Rosberg by 17.3 seconds, with defending world champion Sebastian Vettel of Red Bull third. Hamilton was winless in his first seven starts in Malaysia.
It was the first one-two finish by the Mercedes factory team since 1955, when it was a dominant force in the embryonic days of Formula One.