[media-credit name=”Brad Keppel” align=”alignright” width=”225″][/media-credit]Kyle Busch held off Dale Earnhardt Jr. on the final restart, ending his 20 race winless streak on Saturday night at Richmond International Raceway.
Busch beat then leader Tony Stewart out of the pits during the final caution flag pit stops with 14 laps remaining. On the restart, Stewart spun his tires again, giving Busch a 3-4 car length lead heading into turn-1. Earnhardt Jr. was able to make it around Stewart for second with eight laps to go.
With three laps to go, Earnhardt reports he is losing his brakes and Busch cruises to his 24th career win and the fourth consecutive spring race victory.
“We had some brake problems all race long. I had a great re-start and I ran really great for one lap and the pedal went back to the floor. I just had to pump it up all the way down the straightaway and I didn’t have any front brakes getting into the corner so I couldn’t get in real hard.” Earnhardt said.
Stewart dominated a lot of the race up until the final caution. He finished third.
“Well, when the caution is for a plastic (water) bottle on the backstretch, it’s hard to feel good about losing that one, I mean. And we gave it away on pit road. So we did everything we could to throw it away; it got taken away from us. That’s the best car I’ve had a Richmond in a long time.” Stewart said.
Denny Hamlin fourth and Kasey Kahne finished fifth.
Greg Biffle finished 18th and has a 5-point lead over Earnhardt Jr. in the series standings
On Lap 320 Carl Edwards was black-flagged for jumping the restart. Stewart on the inside spun his tires, making it look like Edwards had a larger jump than he really did. Stewart was the leader, so Edwards had to do a drive-thru penalty. Stewart was able to stay on the lead lap until Stewart passed him with 28 laps remaining, putting him one lap down.
“This takes a minute to explain so bear with me. I was on the outside and thought Tony Stewart was the leader on the inside. NASCAR told my spotter about three seconds before the restart that the 99 was the leader. They put us on the scoreboard as the leader and I realized I was at a disadvantaged position on the outside land and NASCAR made a little mistake. I got the best start I could and Tony didn’t start or spun his tires and NASCAR black flagged us. I don’t know why they black flagged me. I don’t think it is right and I don’t agree with it. Before I say something stupid because I am real frustrated I would like to go talk to them.” Edwards said.
A caution flag came out with 13 laps to go, giving Edwards the “lucky dog” pass. Edwards was able to battle back to 10th place.
“I would give anything to be able to have that start again and be able to race to the end. That was going to be a heck of a race.” Edwards said.
Jeff Gordon’s disaster of a season continues. Gordon started sixth but had dropped back to mid pack by the 50-lap competition caution flag. On lap 57, Gordon got a little sideways, possible help from the no.43, went up the track got into Greg Biffle and Kurt Busch. Gordon had to pit for tires and repairs and came out 2-laps down in 31st position. Gordon was never able to overcome the laps down and finished 23rd and sits 17th in the series standings.
Kurt Busch also suffered damage but was able to continue on despite a tire rub. On lap 116 Busch spun out on the frontstretch, bringing out the caution flag and he looses a lap. Busch finished 28th.
The series heads to Talladega Superspeedway next week.
|Unofficial Race Results|
|Capital City 400, Richmond International Raceway|
|2||–||88||Dale Earnhardt Jr.||Chevrolet||42|
|25||–||56||Martin Truex Jr.||Toyota||19|
|38||–||26||Josh Wise *||Ford||6|