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Martin Takes Richmond Crown Royal IROC Win

RICHMOND, Va., September 8, 2005 - Kurt Busch dominated Round Three of the Crown Royal International Race of Champions (IROC) at Richmond International Raceway on Thursday night, but it was Mark Martin - aided by three cautions in the final five laps - that provided him with enough to edge out Busch in one of the closest finishes in the series' 115-race history.

On a restart with two laps remaining, Busch, the 2003 IROC titlist, tried valiantly to hold his Roush Racing teammate, before Martin coaxed the nose of his IROC car through the start/finish line a mere .021 seconds ahead of him.

Mark Martin
Mark Martin
Martin's series' best 13th-career victory clinches the 2005 series points title when he starts the last race of the season at Atlanta Motor Speedway on October 29, giving him a record-breaking fifth IROC Series crown and the $1 million first-place purse.

"On the restart I was faced with nothing but 'go,' explained Martin. "That last lap I got a good run off of Turn 2. Kurt Busch is just an awesome guy to race with. If the start-finish line had been a foot further down, he'd have gotten me. That was really cool."

Busch, who started the night on the outside of Row Two, assumed the top spot following a restart on Lap 3 and then proceeded to lead 85 of the 90 laps (67.5 miles) on the -mile D-shaped oval.

"It's something I'll remember forever, racing Mark Martin for the IROC win," said Busch. "It was one of those great battles, where I knew if I couldn't hit him, knew I couldn't touch him, and I wanted to race him clean."

Matt Kenseth, who started in the eighth position and was in the middle of the pack for much of the race, made a late charge to finish third. IRL IndyCar driver Buddy Rice turned in a strong performance and claimed fourth, followed by NASCAR Busch Series driver Martin Truex Jr.

"It was a good race, starting that far back (ninth), and to come up, that was good," said Rice. "I was just drivin' it - it was a good time for sure."

Pole-sitter Scott Pruett rebounded from on track incidents in the first two races registering a solid sixth, followed by World of Outlaws drivers Danny Lasoski (seventh) and Steve Kinser (eighth). Rounding out positions nine through 12 were: Max Papis, Sebastien Bourdais, Helio Castroneves, and Bobby Hamilton.

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