Busch wins third consecutive Richmond spring race|
Richmond, VA (Sports Network) - Kyle Busch continues to master the Richmond
International Raceway during the spring time.
Busch conserved enough fuel and easily held off teammate Denny Hamlin in the
closing laps of Saturday's Crown Royal 400 to win the spring race at Richmond
for the third straight year.
He put on a dominating performance by leading 235 of 400 laps.
"This race tonight was a good one; we had a really good car," said Busch, who
collected his second Sprint Cup Series victory of the season and the 21st of
his career. "We knew if we could get through traffic a little bit better than
[Hamlin], then we would have the shot at the win. We did that tonight."
Busch became the first driver to win three spring races in a row at Richmond
since Richard Petty did it nearly four decades ago. Petty won seven straight
races at Richmond from 1970-73.
Busch's win at Richmond comes as an early birthday present. He will turn 26
years old on Monday.
Hamlin crossed the line 1.8 seconds behind Busch to give Joe Gibbs Racing a
1-2 finish. It was Hamlin's first top-five run in a Sprint Cup race since he
won at Texas last November. He led 38 laps in this race.
"It was very important for us to have a smooth race and have nothing go
wrong," Hamlin said. "We just got beat by our teammate today. We were so
equal, but he was a little bit better on restarts. He was able to get out
there and set his pace. He just drove a great race."
Hamlin, who hails from nearby Chesterfield, VA, was attempting a weekend sweep
at his hometrack. He won his charity race on Thursday and the Nationwide event
the following day.
Kasey Kahne, who continues to recuperate from recent knee surgery, turned in
an impressive performance with a third-place run.
"It was a good night," said Kahne, who led 29 laps. "We've had three bad
[races] in a row, so to come back and get a solid top-five and lead some laps
Busch, Hamlin and Kahne drove the final 100 laps around the 0.75-mile track
Roush Fenway Racing teammates David Ragan and Carl Edwards rounded out the
Clint Bowyer took the sixth spot, followed by A.J. Allmendinger, Jimmie
Johnson, who won two weeks ago at Talladega, Tony Stewart and Brian Vickers.
The Richmond race featured eight cautions, including one for a nine-car
accident on the backstretch on lap 301. Bowyer and Matt Kenseth bumped into
each other, with Kenseth loosing control and triggering the incident. Jeff
Gordon was among those caught up in the wreck. Gordon spun and then slammed
hard into the inside wall. He finished 39th.
"It took the wind out of me a little bit there," Gordon said. "I seem to find
the worst angles of walls. As hard as I hit on the left side, I must of hit
the corner of that inside wall. I wish there was a SAFER [Steel and Foam
Energy Reduction] barrier there."
Ryan Newman and Juan Pablo Montoya, the pole sitter, tangled twice in the
race. Montoya made contact with the wall after Newman got into the back of him
on lap 103.
Montoya retaliated shortly after when he bumped Newman and turned him around.
After the race, Newman headed to the NASCAR hauler to complain to race
"To retaliate the way [Montoya] did, he didn't show that much class," Newman
Montoya did not comment on the situation.
Edwards remained the points leader. He now holds a nine-point advantage over
Johnson. Busch moved up to third in the standings (-30).
05/01 00:29:47 ET