Kyle Busch Takes 3rd Win in a Row at Richmond Raceway

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After winning two weeks in a row Kyle Busch(18) had a poor qualifying run at Richmond Raceway. The season’s third short track race and first night race runs 400 laps around the “D” shaped oval. Kyle Busch is the winningest active driver at Richmond. So he knows his way around the .75 mile racetrack. Starting 32nd did not prove to be a problem. It took only 34 laps for Busch to drive his way into the top 10.

Photo Credit: Robert Laberge / Getty Images

Martin Truex Jr.(78) won the pole and led the first 38 laps. Until, last year’s winner of this race, Joey Logano(22) drove to the front of the field. Stages 1 and 2 at Richmond are 100 laps. With the final segment of the race 200 laps.

Near the end of the first Stage, Kurt Busch(41) drove into second. His teammate Aric Almirola(10) moved to third as Ford continued the early season dominance. Kyle Busch ended the first 100 lap run in sixth place.

Stage 1 Results

Car Driver Stage Points
22 Logano* 10
10 Almirola* 9
41 Kurt Busch* 8
24 Byron 7
14 Bowyer* 6
18 Kyle Busch 5
9 Elliott 4
78 Truex Jr. 3
3 Austin Dillon 2
4 Harvick 1

* Ford Fusion Drivers

Stage 2

Kurt Busch and Logano started on the front row after stage ending pit stops. On the restart, Busch shot ahead into turn 1 and took the lead. As the laps wound down in Stage 2 another Stewart-Hass driver took over the top spot. Clint Bowyer(14), the Martinsville winner, showed he likes short track racing.

With seven laps to go, Logano regained the lead and it was four Fusions in the first four positions under the Stage ending green and white checkered flag.

Stage 2 Results

Car Driver Stage Points
22 Logano* 10
14 Bowyer* 9
10 Almirola* 8
41 Kurt Busch* 7
24 Byron 6
18 Kyle Busch 5
31 Newman 4
2 Keselowski* 3
78 Truex Jr. 2
4 Harvick* 1

* Ford Fusion Drivers

Final Stage

The four Ford returned to the front after pitting for fresh tires and fuel. Again, Kurt Busch drove off into turn 1 ahead of Logano. Busch held the lead until he was passed by Bowyer with 150 laps to go. As the race continued accident-free pitstops appeared likely to determine who would drive away with the win.

Leaders began pitting on lap 271. Seven laps later everyone had made their stops. The front pack settled out with Truex Jr. in the lead. With Bowyer, Kevin Harvick(4), Kyle Busch, and Kyle Larson(42) rounding out the top five. With 100 laps to go, Logano had moved back into the fifth spot.

Kevin Harvick took the lead with 77 laps to go as Truex Jr.’s tires went away. Truex told his crew that racing to put a lap on Ryan Newman(31) wore out his rear tires.

Last Pit Stops

Baring a late caution, the final pit stops of the night began with 71 laps to go. When Denny Hamlin(11) pitted with 65 laps to go, all the leaders had made their stops. After everyone left the pits, it was Truex once again in the lead. Bowyer, Harvick, and Kyle Busch returned back to second through fourth. Logano held down the fifth spot.

Late Trouble

With 47 to go, Ricky Stenhouse Jr.(17) and Ryan Blaney(12) got together bringing out the first accident related caution of the evening. The yellow flag pit stops allowed everyone to make adjustments and get new Goodyear tires for the sprint to the finish. Truex, Bowyer, Harvick, Logano, and Hamlin exited the pits first through fifth respectively.

With 31 laps to go, Jamie McMurray hit the wall and Ryan Newman got caught up in the aftermath. Caution waved again. This time pit stops shuffled the front of the pack. Kyle Busch finally took the lead. Hamlin, Harvick, Truex, and Brad Keselowski(2) made up the top five.

Wrecks Breed Wrecks

The race went back to green with 22 laps to go. Kyle Busch pulled away as cars went three and four wide behind the leaders. Truex moved to second. Remarkably Truex has never won a short track race in his Cup career. Busch was going for his third in a row.

With 11 to go, David Ragan(38) spun to bring out another yellow flag. Busch exited first. Truex had trouble on his stop with the jackman failing to raise the car fully as the crew attempted to change left side tires. It cost him precious track position as he exited in 11th place.

Photo Credit: Sarah Crabill / Getty Images

The race started with six laps to go and with four to go the yellow was displayed again as Stenhouse hit the wall. Setting up overtime to decide the winner.

The Finish

Kyle Busch and Hamlin on the front row. Chase Elliott(9) and Harvick on the row behind. As the cars come to take the green. The white and checkered will follow providing they can complete a lap without another caution.

Kyle Busch held on for the win. Elliott finished second for the eight time in his career, still looking for that elusive first victory.

Photo Credit: Sarah Crabill / Getty Images

Busch’s three in a row tie him with Harvick for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series lead in wins for 2018. Last year’s Cup Champion Martin Truex Jr. finished 14th after struggling on his final pitstop.

Next Sunday It’s Dega

Next week it’s off to Talladega Speedway for the GIECO 500. From two short tracks in a row to the longest speedway on the circuit. It’s can’t miss TV on Fox, with the green scheduled to drop shortly after 2:00 pm on Sunday.

 

 

 

Results of the 2018 Spring Race at Richmond Raceway

Position Car Driver Behind Laps
1 18 Kyle Busch 402
2 9 Chase Elliott 0.511 402
3 11 Denny Hamlin 0.713 402
4 22 Joey Logano 0.901 402
5 4 Kevin Harvick 1.294 402
6 48 Jimmie Johnson 2.050 402
7 42 Kyle Larson 2.548 402
8 2 Brad Keselowski 2.599 402
9 14 Clint Bowyer 2.840 402
10 19 Daniel Suarez 2.908 402
11 41 Kurt Busch 2.959 402
12 24 William Byron 3.070 402
13 20 Erik Jones 3.106 402
14 78 Martin Truex Jr. 3.186 402
15 3 Austin Dillon 3.189 402
16 32 Matt DiBenedetto 3.436 402
17 10 Aric Almirola 3.516 402
18 88 Alex Bowman 3.594 402
19 1 Jamie McMurray 3.706 402
20 13 Ty Dillon 3.800 402
21 6 Trevor Bayne 4.844 402
22 12 Ryan Blaney 7.432 402
23 17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 12.764 402
24 21 Paul Menard -1 401
25 43 Darrell Wallace Jr. -1 401
26 37 Chris Buescher -1 401
27 47 AJ Allmendinger -1 401
28 15 Ross Chastain -1 401
29 95 Kasey Kahne -2 400
30 72 Cole Whitt -2 400
31 34 Michael McDowell -2 400
32 8 Daniel Hemric -3 399
33 38 David Ragan -3 399
34 0 Landon Cassill -5 397
35 23 Gray Gaulding -9 393
36 51 Harrison Rhodes -16 386
37 31 Ryan Newman -34 368
38 55 Reed Sorenson -214 188

 

Points/Playoff Standings

Position DRIVER POINTS WINS
1 Kyle Busch 405 3
2 Kevin Harvick* 322 3
3 Clint Bowyer* 314 1
4 Martin Truex Jr. 280 1
5 Austin Dillon 205 1
6 Joey Logano* 339 0
7 Brad Keselowski* 300 0
8 Denny Hamlin 286 0
9 Ryan Blaney* 282 0
10 Kyle Larson 279 0
11 Kurt Busch* 267 0
12 Erik Jones 233 0
13 Aric Almirola* 231 0
14 Alex Bowman 209 0
15 Jimmie Johnson 200 0
16 Paul Menard* 183 0
Playoff Cut Line
17 Ryan Newman 182 0
18 William Byron 179 0
19 Ricky Stenhouse Jr.* 176 0
20 Chase Elliott 171 0

* Ford Fusion Drivers