The Cool Down Lap – Kyle Busch Denies Gordon The Win At Richmond
Kyle Busch led the field to green and then led the field for almost half the race.
He was putting cars down at such a quick pace that by lap 156, there were only nine cars on the lead lap with 21 cars one lap down. It was beginning to look like the Kyle Busch show.
A debris caution on lap 159 changed things up as 18 cars took the wave around, thus leaving 27 cars on the lead lap.
Finally on lap 230, Jeff Burton took the lead and the excitement was turned up a notch.
Burton was in the lead with Kyle Busch second and Gordon in third. But Gordon was closing fast and soon overtook Busch for second place with Burton in his sights.
Gordon passed Burton on lap 250 for the lead and looked determined to bring home the elusive win.
But this is short track racing and a couple of late race cautions changed everything.
After the last caution on lap 395, Kyle Busch slid by Gordon and took the lead.
Gordon had his hands full fighting with Harvick, as they battled for second place.
In the end, it was Kyle Busch who took the checkered flag, making it two in a row for Busch at Richmond International Raceway.
Gordon was second, followed by Harvick, Burton and Edwards.
Montoya, Truex Jr, Newman, Ambrose and Johnson rounded out the top ten.
Movers and Shakers:
Congratulations to Kevin Harvick who gained one spot and is now the Sprint Cup points leader, 10 points ahead of second place Johnson.
Kyle Busch gained two spots with his win and moves into third place.
Carl Edwards had another consistent day and his fifth place finish moves him up two spots to eleventh in the standings.
Denny Hamlin also deserves mention, moving up two places to seventh place.
The biggest mover of the race was Jeff Gordon. His runner-up finish gained him four positions and he sits just outside the top five, in sixth place.
Some of Gordon’s fans may look at this race as yet another win that slipped away, but Gordon is not discouraged.
"It was a great run for the DuPont Chevrolet," he said. "A little disappointed again that we are coming up short but we are getting plenty of practice at this green-white-checkered and these shootouts at the end. Hopefully when it counts later in the season, we’ll make it count."
Snoozers and Losers:
You can blame it on bad pit strategy, a bad car or even Paul Menard, but Dale Earnhardt Jr’s run for the Chase hit a major speed bump at Richmond.
He finished 32nd in the race, losing five positions, and now sits outside the top twelve, in 13th place.
Heroes and Villains:
The hero of the race award goes to Kyle Busch, who had the most dominant car all evening. He led 226 laps and made the right move at the right time.
At the end of the race, he thanked Crew Chief Dave Rogers as he celebrated his victory.
"I can’t thank Dave enough," said Busch. "It’s unbelievable to be back in victory lane. A lot of people doubted what we were doing, but I never did."
Congratulations and Happy Birthday to Kyle Busch who turns 25 years old on Sunday.
While short tracks are notorious for paybacks, we saw a relatively clean race. Johnson and Gordon kept their noses clean and no new controversies arose.
I’ll have to call this race villain-free.
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