Dale Earnhardt Jr., Greg Biffle Highlight 5 Good, 5 Bad at Richmond

Ben Montedonico@@NASCARBRBenContributor IIIApril 30, 2012

Dale Earnhardt Jr., Greg Biffle Highlight 5 Good, 5 Bad at Richmond

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    The boys of NASCAR were in Virginia's capital city for the aptly-named Capital City 400 Saturday night at Richmond.

    The primetime race was rowdy under the lights as Kyle Busch took home his first checkered flag of the season with some of NASCAR's most popular drivers in tow, including Dale Earnhardt Jr., who brought home his second runner-up finish of the 2012 season.

    But Saturday night was not alright for all of NASCAR's stars, including one of Earnhardt's Hendrick Motorsports teammates, who just can't seem to catch a break so far in 2012.

    Spoiler alert: it wasn't a great night for the Sprint Cup points leader, either.

    Who was good and who was bad Saturday night at Richmond? We've got you covered!

Good: Kyle Busch

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    Kyle Busch might as well have the deed to Richmond International Raceway, because he practically owns the joint.

    Busch pulled away from defending Sprint Cup champ Tony Stewart on the race's final restart to take the checkered flag Saturday night, marking his fourth consecutive victory in the Spring race at RIR.

    When asked what his goal was for the rest of the season in an interview Friday morning, Busch simply stated, "We need to win some races."

    Mission accomplished for Busch, who now sets his sights on going back-to-back next Sunday at Talladega, where he won in 2008.

Bad: Martin Truex Jr.

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    Martin Truex Jr. just could not catch a brake...er, I mean break, Saturday night at Richmond.

    The second-place points man coming into the race, Truex struggled all night long with his Napa Brakes car, falling off the lead lap and never contending en route to a 25th-place finish.

    It was Truex's worst finish of the season and his first finish off the lead lap in 2012.

    The good news for Truex is that the circuit now heads to Talladega, a track where, despite not winning a Sprint Cup race, he has shown some tremendous promise and also has a trio of Nationwide victories.

Good: Dale Earnhardt Jr.

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    Did anybody else have flashbacks to 2008 in the closing laps of Saturday night's race at Richmond?

    In Spring 2008, Dale Earnhardt Jr. was leading with just three laps to go at Richmond when Kyle Busch infamously turned Earnhardt's No. 88 car into the wall while racing for the win.

    Unfortunately for Junior Nation, payback would not be had Saturday night as Earnhardt ran second to Busch, unable to chase him down in the race's closing laps.

    However, Earnhardt's second-place finish is plenty to be excited about, especially considering it marks his fourth Top 3 finish of the season, after he earned only three a year ago.

    The second-place points man now looks to end his winless streak at Talladega, where he has five Sprint Cup victories.

Bad: Jeff Gordon

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    Another week, another comment about how if Jeff Gordon didn't have bad luck he'd have no luck at all.

    Gordon's night started decent as his No. 24 car ran in the Top 10 during the early portion of the race. Then Gordon began falling back through the field, putting him in a precarious position on the race's first restart.

    Moments after taking the green flag, Aric Almirola would bump Gordon, sending his car into Greg Biffle's No. 16 and Kurt Busch's No. 51.

    The result? A flat right-front tire for Gordon and another subpar finish, with his latest being a 23rd-place effort.

    Gordon will be looking for some luck at Talladega, where he has six career Sprint Cup wins.

Good: Denny Hamlin

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    This Denny Hamlin guy is pretty good.

    One week after upsetting Martin Truex Jr. for the win at Kansas, Hamlin ran what might have been his most consistent race of 2012 Saturday night at Richmond.

    Hamlin never dropped outside the Top 10 and actually ran inside the Top 5 for most of the evening, ending the night in fourth and earning back-to-back Top 5s for the second time in 2012.

    Hamlin looks far better in 2012 than he did in 2011, sitting third in the standings after ranking 17th this time a year ago.

Bad: Joey Logano

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    Regardless of what happens from week-to-week among Joe Gibbs Racing teams, one thing remains constant.

    Joey Logano continues to disappoint.

    While his JGR teammates ran in the Top 10 literally all night long at Richmond, Logano was a sub-20th-place driver once again, falling off the lead lap early and finishing an uninspired 24th.

    Logano's saving grace Saturday night is that he was in good company, finishing right in between Jeff Gordon and Martin Truex Jr.

    However, Logano has gone seven consecutive races without a finish better than 15th, and in a contract year that does not bode well for the 22-year-old.

Good: Kasey Kahne

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    Sometimes, all it takes is baby steps.

    After struggling mightily to start the 2012 season, Hendrick Motorsports' newest addition put together back-to-back Top 10s at Texas and Kansas.

    And at Richmond, Kasey Kahne stepped it up just a little bit more.

    Kahne ran in the Top 10 most of the night once again, this time closing the deal with his first Top 5 of 2012 at Richmond.

    Kahne's three-straight Top 10 finishes have catapulted him from 31st to 23rd in the standings over the last three races.

Bad: Jeff Burton

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    The 2012 Sprint Cup season has turned into a nightmare for Jeff Burton.

    After starting the season off with two Top 10s in the first four races, Burton's results have spiraled out of control with five-straight finishes outside the Top 20.

    Saturday night's race at Richmond merely contributed to that.

    Burton struggled all night long before hitting the wall during the final cycle of green-flag pit stops, relegating him to a 31st-place finish, four laps off the pace.

    Burton must get his act together at Talladega or risk dropping outside the Top 20 in the standings for the first time this season.

Good: Carl Edwards

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    Carl Edwards' 2012 Capital City 400 will always be remembered for the infamous penalty that cost him the victory.

    But if we put "The Penalty" aside for just a moment, Richmond was exactly the medicine that Edwards' ill 2012 Sprint Cup season needed.

    Prior to Richmond, Edwards had led exactly one lap in 2012. Saturday night, he led 206.

    Saturday night's race at Richmond told us that the 2011 Sprint Cup Series runner-up is still capable of not just competing, but dominating at the Sprint Cup level here in 2012.

    And after a lackluster start to the year, that's something any team would like to see.

Bad: Greg Biffle

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    Greg Biffle had a run at Richmond that simply made you go "meh."

    The points leader ran an uninspired race all night long at Richmond but did muster a lead-lap finish, albeit all the way back in 18th place.

    The good news for Biffle regarding his points lead is that he still has it. The bad news is that Dale Earnhardt Jr. took a big chunk of it after his second-place finish.

    Biffle's lead now stands at just five points, and that too could vanish should he have another "meh" performance at Talladega.