Busch first 3-time Winston Cup winner this year

Published 12:00 am Monday, June 16, 2003

BROOKLYN, Mich. -- Kurt Busch became the first three-time Winston Cup winner this season after snatching the lead from Jeff Gordon with 24 laps to go Sunday in the Sirius Satellite 400 at Michigan International Speedway.

That was the first time the 24-year-old NASCAR ''Young Gun'' led the 200-lap race, but a late charge by pole-starter Bobby Labonte came up 0.774-seconds -- about six car lengths -- short.

Labonte, a three-time Michigan winner, got one last shot at Busch after Todd Bodine brought out the ninth caution flag of the race with 10 laps remaining when he crashed in turn two on the 2-mile, high-banked oval.

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Busch's No. 97 Roush Racing Ford had Labonte's Chevrolet nearly on his back bumper when the green flag waved for the start of lap 196. Labonte made a strong move to the top of the track, but Busch held him off and pulled steadily away to his seventh career win.

The victory ended a short slump for Busch, who had not finished better than 15th in his last three races. He had seven top-10 finishes in the 11 races before that, including wins at Bristol and Fontana, Calif., and three runner-up finishes.

''We're hot and we're rolling,'' Busch said. ''We've also got a team that has learned from some mistakes.''