As the Toyota Owners 400 was drawing to a close, it looked like Kevin Harvick would catch Juan Pablo Montoya for the lead, making for a thrilling battle between them. However, all heck broke loose when a caution would come out with six laps to go when Brian Vickers would get into the wall.
Under the caution, both Harvick and Montoya would make their way down pit road for tires, with most of the lead lap cars, while three cars stayed out. Jeff Burton would take over the lead on old tires, followed by Jamie McMurray and A.J. Allmendinger. Carl Edwards and Tony Stewart took two tires to restart fourth and fifth, followed by Montoya and Harvick who took four tires.
Burton would get a good restart with Allmendinger trying to do a three-wide dive move for the lead, however as a result that bottled up the field. In the mess of three-wide passes down the backstretch, Harvick would make his way through the field to take the lead from Burton through turns three and four coming to the white flag.
Harvick would lead the final lap to pick up his 20th career victory and his first of 2013.
“I just want to thank everyone for their support,” Harvick said. “It’s been a tough start to the season. The cars have been really fast. A lot of people thought we’d lay down this year, but there’s no laying down with us.”
Harvick announced before the season started that he would be moving to Stewart-Haas Racing in 2014. A lot of people believed that Harvick would be put in the “lame duck scenario” at Richard Childress Racing, not performing well all year.
“It all worked out,” Harvick continued. “Sprint Cup racing is something that you need to take chances. The guys that stayed out took chances. We took a chance by pitting. We’ve been beat by tires this year so we made the call to come down pit road and Gil made a good call.”
Clint Bowyer would slice his way through the field to finish second for his fifth top 10 of the season. Joey Logano finished third for his second top 10 in nine starts at Richmond.
Juan Pablo Montoya, who was on the hunt for his first NASCAR victory, would finish fourth with Jeff Burton rounding out the top five.
“We made the right call when we pitted and when we stayed out and we got the caution at the end. It was no brainer to take tires,” Montoya commented afterwards. “I think it hurt us that we restart on the outside and when you restart there, it just gets packed up. When you start on the outside, where can you go out there? we just got to be happy with this finish after the last couple of weeks.”
Carl Edwards finished sixth, followed by pole sitter Matt Kenseth, Aric Almirola, Kurt Busch and Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Following the race, Kurt Busch would make contact with Matt Kenseth as he did not agree with Kenseth pushing him out of the way for seventh on the last lap. Then, Stewart would push Busch up into the outside wall following the race after contact on the restart. The pair would have a discussion in the pits afterwards.
“For us, this was a solid run,” Busch said of his ninth place finish. “We were there. Some guys cycled ahead of us, we were able to get by them but all in all, it’s a great top five night for us. You could just tell.
“Green white checkered, some guys took tires, some didn’t, it’s just a free for all. I don’t know what the 14 (Stewart) was upset about. I got hit form the side, from behind. I got hit, he got hit. Kenseth got into me there at the end so that’s why I wasn’t happy with him.”
Points leader Jimmie Johnson finished 12th after being involved in a wreck with Stewart with 74 laps to go. Stewart would get loose underneath Johnson, causing both cars to spin. Kyle Busch would have no where to go, making contact with Johnson. Busch finished 24th. Johnson now leads Edwards by 43 points.
The 400 lap race on the short track would see a total of 11 cautions throughout the evening.
Josh Wise brought out the first caution on lap 45 after he went for a spin due to contact from David Gilliland. Wise finished 28th.
Marcos Ambrose would not have a good night as he would have engine problems on lap 111 for the second caution. He finished 42nd. Ambrose wasn’t the only driver with motor problems as Michael McDowell would drop some fluid on the track for the third caution on lap 145. McDowell finished 41st.
Defending series champion Brad Keselowski would bring out the fourth caution after he got into the outside wall with a flat tire. He would later be blackflagged for not meeting minimum speed after losing a cylinder. He finished 33rd.
Greg Biffle would bring out the fifth caution with a spin due to getting loose off turn four on lap 232. He finished 36th.
Travis Kvapil was the reason for the sixth caution with 109 laps to go due to hitting the wall. He would then bring out the seventh caution with 93 laps to go for being slow on the apron. Kvapil ended up 37th.
The ninth caution came out with 63 laps to go after Mark Martin got loose and got into Kasey Kahne, causing them both to spin. Vickers then made heavy contact with Martin. Martin finished 38th while Kahne finished 21st and Vickers finished 35th.
Truex Jr. would bring the 10th caution out with 56 laps to go after going for a spin while battling for second with Kurt Busch.
|Unofficial Race Results|
|Toyota Owners 400, Richmond|
|4||6||42||Juan Pablo Montoya||Chevrolet||41|
|10||19||88||Dale Earnhardt Jr.||Chevrolet||34|
|16||12||17||Ricky Stenhouse Jr. #||Ford||28|
|17||9||56||Martin Truex Jr.||Toyota||27|
|29||30||10||Danica Patrick #||Chevrolet||15|
|34||42||32||Timmy Hill #||Ford||10|