RICHMOND, Va. — Kyle “Rowdy” Busch stormed to his fourth consecutive victory in the spring race at the three-quarter mile Richmond International Raceway by driving away from Dale Earnhardt Jr. in the closing laps of the Capital City 400.
The victory marked Busch’s first of the season and the 24th of his career. Tony Stewart was leading before the final caution fell for debris in Turn 2.
On the restart Stewart fell off the pace and finished third. Denny Hamlin took fourth, followed by Kasey Kahne rounding out the top five.
A Jeff Burton crash on Lap 311 brought out a caution and scrambled the field for the restart.
Jimmie Johnson was penalized for a tire violation on his pit stop and had to restart at the tail end of the field.
Carl Edwards who led a race-high 210 laps also lost significant ground during the caution sequence when he was black-flagged for jumping the restart.
After a pass-through penalty, Edwards dropped to 15th, 17 seconds behind leader Tony Stewart. On lap 372, Stewart was able to lap Edwards and pull away from second place Kyle Busch to a nearly two second lead.
After the last caution Edwards got the “Lucky-Dog” putting him back on the lead lap to finish tenth.
NASCAR moves the show to Talladega for next Sunday’s running of the Aaron’s 499, 12:00 pm EST on FOX.
DAYTONA BEACH, FLA. – Matt Kenseth survived rain, fire, engine overheating and a fast charging Dale Earnhardt Jr., to win the 54th running of the Daytona 500, his second victory in the Great American Race.
Sunday rain pushed the race to Monday and then to late Monday. Drivers nerves were tweaked tighter than a Carolina wino when the race finely went off at 7:00 pm. One lap into the event five-time champ Jimmie Johnson ended up in the outside wall bringing out the first caution. It was a short race for Johnson.
The crash set the tone for the rest of the race as drivers threw caution to the wind and drove hard from flag to flag. The second caution came out on lap 13 when Ryan Newman looped his racecar in the middle of the pack. He was able to restart the car and get going.
Caution number 5 came out on lap 64 for debris on the track and the next on lap 81 when former champion Jeff Gordon exploded an engine going into turn three shattering his hopes for another Daytona win.
Martin Truex Jr., was the leader at the halfway mark and took home the $200,000 bonus.
Clint Bowyer brought out the next caution on lap 129 when his car stalled in the second turn. On lap 157 David Stremme blew an engine and spun in front of a small pack of cars and was lucky to come through as the only victim.
On lap 157, with the race still under caution, Juan Pablo Montoya had mechanical issues on the backstretch and lost control of his race car. Montoya collided with a jet dryer working on cleaning debris up by the outer wall. The violent crash ruptured the jet-fuel cell which exploded in heavy flame.
The event brought the race to a complete stop as firefighters and safety crews quickly went to work to extinguish the fire and protect the racing surface. All in all the cleanup took nearly two hours to complete.
When the race resumed on lap 166 Matt Kenseth was the leader and for the next 34 laps nobody presented a serious challenge.
In a day that saw championship hopes crumple faster than a fender in the turn three wall, Clint Bowyer and teammate Jeff Burton ran up front all day long. In sight of the checkered flag, Bowyer put the old shake-n-bake slingshot move around Burton and they drag raced through the tri-oval. Bowyer edged Burton at the line. With four more races left with Richard Childress Racing, Clint Bowyer isn’t burning any bridges. He’s polishing that sucker on the way out.
Chase contenders Kurt Busch and Kevin Harvick took their lumps earlier in the race. On lap 104, A.J. Almendinger spun in the middle of the pack causing a big wreck and brought out the fourth caution. With nowhere to go, Harvick took a big hit to his race-car and championship hopes at the same time. He finished in 32nd, 13 laps down.
On lap 174 Kurt Busch played the “wrong-place-at-the-wrong-time” game and collided into the back of Bobbie Labonte’s racecar as it was spinning on the backstretch. The damage relegated the Pennzoil team to the garage and ended their day nine laps down to finish 36th.
A late race caution came out when Mark Martin got loose and sent Regan Smith hard into the outside wall. The stage was set for a showdown between the front runners. On the restart with three laps left, it was Jeff Burton in the lead followed closely by Clint Bowyer and a host of win-hungry drivers looking to get past the Childress cars. But it wasn’t to be.
Points leader Carl Edwards played a safe strategy in Sunday’s race and drove near the rear of the pack until late race when he made a charge with teammate Greg Biffle pushing him towards the front. Edwards finished 11th.
In the post-race press conference, Richard Childress, the winningest owner at Talladega, took a bit of a verbal jab at Edwards when he said, “We don’t get paid to ride in the back.”
Sprint Cup Standings
The show moves to the southern hills of Virginia to the little track at Martinsville for next weeks running of the TUMS Fast Relief 500.
Racing from Martinsville begins Sunday the 30th at 2:00 pm EST on ESPN.