NASCAR at Richmond Showed Tempers Flaring, Disappointments and Great Racing

Sandra MacWattersCorrespondent IMay 1, 2011

RICHMOND, VA - APRIL 30:  Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M's Pretzel Toyota, celebrates after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Crown Royal Presents The Matthew & Daniel Hansen 400 at Richmond International Raceway on April 30, 2011 in Richmond, Virginia.  (Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Jerry Markland/Getty Images

It was Saturday night short-track racing at its best with only two cautions in the first half of the race, but then frustration took over, and cars went spinning as the laps unfolded.

Juan Pablo Montoya and Ryan Newman tangled, with Montoya finally spinning Ryan out and being warned by NASCAR to stay away from him.

Jimmie Johnson had a bad night and even fussed with his crew chief extraordinaire, Chad Knaus. He spun Joey Logano, ran a lap down and got knocked around a bit.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. started toward the back, but he fought back from being a lap down to running in the top-10 under the guidance of his head cheerleader, Steve Letarte.

Cars were going four-wide heading into the final 100 laps. It looked like one big wreck that just didn't happen.

Denny Hamlin looked like he just might secure win No. 3 for the weekend. He started last in his late model charity event on Thursday night and after spinning, he came back to win.

Hamlin also won the NASCAR Nationwide race on Friday. During the Cup race, he and Busch were lap leaders, but Busch had the most with 235.

The eighth caution took out Jeff Gordon and Paul Menard as Matt Kenseth and Clint Bowyer made contact.

Mark Martin had looked pretty good, but got slammed in this one and was seen going down the track backwards as though it was intended.

Jeff Gordon said on his radio to his team, "That hurt, I find the worst frickin' places to hit the walls." His car was done after contact where there were no safer barriers.

Kurt Busch was really upset about most everything as his night didn't go well, but he did skate through the big wreck.

With 92 laps to go, Jeff Burton who has struggled so far this season, was leading the race followed by Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Pit strategy was bound to play a big part in the way the race would play out. There were lots of angry drivers, cars were out of sequence with pit stops and more accidents seemed inevitable when the race restarted with 86 laps to go.

Kyle Busch was on a banzai mission toward the front and was ready to battle his teammate Hamlin for the lead, but it wasn't much of a battle as he ran nearly two seconds in front of him.

The carnage was evident on the cars that were still racing with parts hanging from taped up cars that looked like they had done battle in days of old at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Earnhardt Jr. was told he would need fuel with some 25 laps left to go. Burton looked doomed to head for the pits for a splash of fuel as well.

Kyle Busch has two wins and 10 top-10 finishes at Richmond, so he looked to be heading for another win with about 12 laps left when he was told to conserve fuel. Hamlin running second was told to conserve fuel with seven laps to go.

The Crown Royal Presents the Daniel and Matthew Hansen 400 had a bit of everything a NASCAR fan could want.

Kyle Busch took the checkered flag with his teammate Denny Hamlin finishing second, followed by Kasey Kahne, David Ragan and Carl Edwards.

It was a good night for Joe Gibbs Racing, with Busch being the second multi-race winner this year besides Kevin Harvick.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. amped up his winless streak to 102 with a 19th place finish. His night had continued to improve until the splash of gas he had to take during the final laps.

Jimmie Johnson and Tony Stewart both got top-10 finishes. Newman headed to the NASCAR trailer to see what they had to say about Montoya's rough racing.

Busch got his 21st Cup win, his third spring win in a row at Richmond, both of which should make for a happy 26th birthday on Monday.

Carl Edwards leads the point standings as the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series heads to Darlington next week.


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