Kyle Busch Outruns Gordon
RICHMOND, Va – Kyle Busch dominated the Crown Royal 400 but had to rally late to win Saturday night at Richmond International Raceway.
Busch grabbed the lead from Jeff Gordon on a restart with three laps to go and steadily pulled away down the stretch, beating Gordon to the checkered flag by .755- seconds to win for the first time in 2010.
“All I really knew was just to get into Turn 1 smooth and be able to get a good launch up off Turn 2 to get down the backstretch, then make sure I got into three without overdriving it,” Busch said. “On the previous restart, when I was with Kevin Harvick, I kept overdriving, locking up the left front tire into Turn 3, sliding up the track. I knew if I could get through Turn 3 okay, hammer down off of Turn 4, get him clear, it would be pretty good. That’s what I did.”
Gordon finished second for the eighth time since his last win in the series on April 5, 2009, at Texas, 39 races ago.
“I’ve been doing this long enough to know they don’t give out trophies for leading any lap other than the last one,” said Gordon, who reached the boiling point at Talladega last week after Johnson, his Hendrick Motorsports teammate, forced him onto the apron in Turn 3. Moments later, Gordon was wrecked.
“We’re a team that’s made huge strides, in my opinion, from last year. … That’s what I’m excited about. We’re leading laps at a lot of different types of tracks, and I think our team is really on top of our game.
“Yeah, it’s a little disappointing that we haven’t won some races yet, but if we keep doing this, those will come. We’ve got to keep putting ourselves in position.”
Kevin Harvick, last week’s winner at Talladega, finished third, right on Gordon’s rear bumper.
“It was a solid night for us,” Harvick said. “We were right in the middle of the top-five all night, which is where you got to be to have a chance. We had a chance there at the end. The 18-car, he could run the outside where none of the rest of us could. He could carry that momentum.”
“He had a couple lap fresher tires than we all did and was able to really make the move on the outside, make it stick. But all in all, it was a solid night and we’ll take it.”
Harvick is the new Chase leader. He leads Jimmie Johnson by 10 points.
Jeff Burton, Carl Edwards, Juan Montoya, Martin Truex Jr., Ryan Newman, Marcos Ambrose, and Jimmie Johnson were the remaining top-10 finishers.
Dale Earnhardt Jr., who finished 32nd, addressed a rumor about a story that appeared in the National Enquirer, which said that he broke up the marriage of his current girlfriend, Amy Reimann.
“We’ve been in there a lot. I don’t know why we keep popping up in there. I guess we’re relevant in some realm,” Earnhardt Jr. said. “You learn a lot of new stuff about yourself that you never knew before. … There’s no truth to that particular story.”
Earnhardt’s poor finish dropped him to 13th in the points standings, 258 points out of first.
Top-12 Chase contenders after 10 of 36: 1. Harvick-1467, 2. Johnson-1457, 3. Kyle Busch-1358, 4. Kenseth-1348, 5. Biffle-1334, 6. J. Gordon- 1305, 7. Hamlin-1268, 8. Kurt Busch-1255, 9. Burton-1247, 10. Martin-1242, 11. Edwards 1227, 12. Bowyer-1213
Keselowski powers to Nationwide win
RICHMOND, Va. – After a late caution turned a runaway into a challenge for Brad Keselowski, a late fourtire call proved decisive, as Keselowski stormed to the front from fourth place during a green-white-checkered finish to win Friday night’s Bubba Burger 250 Nationwide Series race at Richmond International Raceway.
Keselowski, who led 189 of 252 laps, had an advantage of almost two seconds when Paul Menard slammed the Turn 2 wall on Lap 245 of a scheduled 250 laps at the .75-mile short track.
“I’m coming,” Keselowski radioed to crew chief Paul Wolfe, steering his car toward pit road for a four-tire stop.
Kyle Busch and Justin Allgaier stayed out on old tires, while Jamie McMurray and Greg Biffle each took two. Busch led the field to green on Lap 251 with Allgaier beside him, McMurray on the inside of the second row and Keselowski alongside in fourth.
Biffle surged forward from the fifth spot, and by the time the cars reached Turn 3 on the next-to-last lap, Keselowski and Biffle had separated themselves from the pack. A lap later, Keselowski passed to the inside and ultimately crossed the finish line .261 seconds ahead of Biffle.
McMurray finished third, Busch fourth and Carl Edwards fifth. Keselowski extended his series lead to 59 points over seventh-place finisher Kevin Harvick.
The victory was Keselowski’s second in as many weeks to go with last Sunday’s victory at Talladega Superspeedway
Top-10 points leaders after 9 of 35: 1. Keselowski- 1469, 2. Harvick-1410, 3. Kyle Busch-1385, 4. Allgaier-1289, 5. Edwards-1266, 6. Logano- 1228, 7. Menard-1191, 8. Biffle 1039, 9. Gaughan-976, 10. Scott-955
Weekend racing: The Cup and Nationwide teams will be at the one-mile Darlington Raceway for night races. The Camping World Trucks have the weekend off.
Fri., May 7, Nationwide Series Royal Purple 200, starting time: 7:30 p.m. ET; TV: ESPN2.
Sat., May 8, Sprint Cup Southern 500, starting time: 7:30 p.m. ET; TV: Fox.
Racing trivia question: Where is Brad Keselowski’s hometown?
Last week’s question: What series did Jimmie Johnson race in before moving to the Cup series? Answer. It was the NASCAR Busch Series, now known as the Nationwide Series.
You may contact the Racing Reporter at: hodgesnews@ earthlink.net