Racin’ with Russ—Gibbs Racing has certainly figured out the right way to get around Virginia’s Richmond International Raceway after their drivers Kyle Busch and Denny Hamlin swept the weekend’s NASCAR races for the fifth consecutive time over the past several years!
Saturday night’s Cup race start found Juan Pablo Montoya on the pole with unlikely Regan Smith alongside. While Montoya led for a while, Kasey Kahne picked up the lead around Lap 40, but it was Hamlin taking the point on Lap 73 for about 30 laps until teammate Busch swept into the lead.
Around Lap 300, the crowd was awakened to a familiar scene of Jeff Gordon wrestling with Busch to gain the top spot, but that was short-lived as less than six laps later, Busch regained the point.
Shortly afterwards, Montoya spun out Ryan Newman in Turn 3, which was the second incident for the two hard heads on the night.
The big wreck of the night came on Lap 301 when a very tight pack of cars went hard into Turn 3 with disastrous results for many of the top drivers. They were two and three abreast with Clint Bowyer taping Matt Kenseth into Jeff Gordon which set off a nowhere-to-go situation for the tight pack.
After the cars stopped spinning and crunching, Gordon was done along with Paul Menard, with Mark Martin, Kenseth, David Reutimann among others with heavy repairs necessary.
Once underway, Jeff Burton led briefly before Busch took over with only Hamlin in the same time zone to challenge, but on this night it was all Busch capturing his 21st career trophy at a track he knows quite well.
Capping the top five included Hamlin, impressive run from Kasey Kahne, David Ragan and Carl Edwards.
The final results of this round still has Edwards out front with Jimmie Johnson second by only nine markers.
Denny Hamlin dominated the Nationwide race for the entire evening with only Paul Menard able to stay in touch with the leader. Points leader Justin Allgaier, Elliott Sadler and Brad Keselowski wrapped up the top five finishers.
The race began with Carl Edwards on the pole, but fell back early, then rallied back towards the front only to have the team run him out of gas and spiral down to a 25th place finish. His teammate Ricky Stenhouse Jr led for a while and was running comfortably among the top five, only to have his Roush-Fenway crew run him out of gas with seven laps to go!
Super poor planning or crappy calculators dropped this points leader to a non-deserving 21st finish and seventh in the points. Hey Jack….fire these guys and get some real help!
Allgaier now heads the pack with Sadler close behind.
Open Wheel News
The IndyCar race in Brazil attempted to start in the rain when a multi-car wreck kicked off in the first turn of the first lap, taking out four cars right away. With the green flying for only a few more laps, torrential rains halted the show for an extensive red flag while a massive clean up went underway.
With no end in sight to Mother Nature’s wrath, the race was reset for 1 p.m. on Monday.
--- Nationwide and Cup driver Trevor Bayne was forced to miss the Nationwide race on Friday night, still suffering with an unknown health problem while being analyzed at the Mayo Clinic. Stay tuned.
--- Good news for Tommy Baldwin Racing came in the form of Golden Corral signing on as a primary sponsor for most of the remaining 2011 season. After the extensive coverage at Talladega when they took on a one shot sponsor role, officials decided to step up to the plate for a much bigger bite of the pie. Great news for the third year NASCAR Sprint Cup team.
That’s it for this week. Next week’s RWR will review the results from Darlington with Cup and Nationwide action along with racing news from around the globe.