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Kyle Busch wins at Richmond, pushes winning streak to 3 in a row

Kyle Busch won for the third straight race Saturday night at Richmond Raceway.

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Toyota Owners 400
Kyle Busch celebrates after winning the Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond Raceway on April 21, 2018.
Photo by Sarah Crabill/Getty Images

Kyle Busch needed to come from the back to extend his winning streak, but did just that in winning the Toyota Owners 400 Saturday night at Richmond Raceway, the third straight Cup Series triumph for the Joe Gibbs Racing driver.

Busch had to overcome a qualifying effort that had him starting 32nd to score his 46th win in NASCAR’s premier division, tying him with Famer Buck Baker for 15th on the all-time wins list. It is the farthest Busch has started in a race he would go on to win, topping his previous mark of 30th at Sonoma Raceway in 2008.

“I think the difference for us tonight was just the adjustments; trying to stay with the race track all night long,” Busch said. “… I think one of the other keys to the night was just my guys -- my pit crew -- they got us out front when it mattered the most those last two pit stops. They were awesome tonight on pit road.”

Busch was comfortably ahead when a debris off Ricky Stenhouse Jr.’s car elicited a caution to push the ninth race of the season into overtime. On the ensuing restart, Busch quickly jumped ahead and was never challenged as Chase Elliott battled Denny Hamlin and Kevin Harvick for the runner-up position.

Busch will attempt to run his winning streak to four next Sunday at Talladega Superspeedway. Jimmie Johnson is the driver to accomplish the feat, winning four in a row during the 2007 playoffs en route to his second series championship.

”It’s definitely cool we’ve won three in a row,” Busch said. “We did it a couple years ago, and now I don’t know if you can shoot for four in a row. It’s hard to go to Talladega with that much of a winning streak and think that you can go to Victory Lane, but we’re going to go there anyway and give it a shot.

”We’ll see what we can do. I think it’s easier to win the Power Ball than to win at Talladega.”

Busch celebrated the win by parking his No. 18 car on the frontstretch where he climbed out and proceeded to make an unexpected voyage into the grandstands to acknowledge some of his supporters clad in yellow-and-black.

Normally a driver who receives loud boos, Busch’s victory was largely well-received Saturday night. The celebratory act surprised team owner Joe Gibbs, who joked that he was glad Busch was able to come away unscathed.

“I think it’s great, though,” Gibbs said. “He went up there ... and he came back. That’s what’s even better. They didn’t keep him.”

Elliott finished second, Denny Hamlin third, Joey Logano fourth and Harvick fifth. Johnson, Kyle Larson, Brad Keselowski, Clint Bowyer and Daniel Suarez completed the top 10.

Elliott fell a half a second short of winning his first Cup Series race. The second-place finish is his eighth in 86 starts, and comes amidst an uneven start to the season that had him 23rd in the standings entering the weekend. He credited the sequence of late restarts for finishing as well as he did.

”Yeah, just very fortunate circumstances there at the end for us, with the way the restarts went,” Elliott said. “Having a short run there at the end was definitely in our favor. So it was nice to be on the good end of things for the first time in a while.

”Looking forward, we have to be realistic about how we ran tonight. I think the result shouldn’t weigh into how hard we worked this week because we have some work to do. I think that we have to keep that in mind.”

Pole-sitter Martin Truex Jr. led a race-high 121 laps and was in line to challenge for his first victory on a short track until a slow pit dropped him down the order with six laps remaining in regulation. He had been running second behind Busch when David Ragan’s crash brought out the caution with nine laps left.

At that time all the lead lap cars elected to make pit stops, but during Truex’s stop his Furniture Row Racing team had an issue with its jack that cost its driver nine positions. Truex would later pit again and finished 14th. The defending series champion was seeking his first win on a track under one mile in length in his 450th overall career start and 75th start on a short track.

“Pretty disappointed that we didn’t get at least a chance,” Truex said. “It’s unfortunate, but I don’t know what we have to do to win one of these short-track (races) and get everything to go the way we need it to. Tonight, we beat ourselves, so that’s unfortunate.”


Finish Start Driver Make Laps Status Laps led
Finish Start Driver Make Laps Status Laps led
1 32 Kyle Busch Toyota 402 Running 32
2 2 Chase Elliott Chevrolet 402 Running 0
3 4 Denny Hamlin Toyota 402 Running 6
4 3 Joey Logano Ford 402 Running 92
5 10 Kevin Harvick Ford 402 Running 8
6 17 Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet 402 Running 0
7 5 Kyle Larson Chevrolet 402 Running 0
8 28 Brad Keselowski Ford 402 Running 0
9 16 Clint Bowyer Ford 402 Running 45
10 26 Daniel Suarez Toyota 402 Running 0
11 6 Kurt Busch Ford 402 Running 98
12 9 William Byron Chevrolet 402 Running 0
13 7 Erik Jones Toyota 402 Running 0
14 1 Martin Truex Jr. Toyota 402 Running 121
15 23 Austin Dillon Chevrolet 402 Running 0
16 27 Matt DiBenedetto Ford 402 Running 0
17 25 Aric Almirola Ford 402 Running 0
18 11 Alex Bowman Chevrolet 402 Running 0
19 8 Jamie McMurray Chevrolet 402 Running 0
20 31 Ty Dillon Chevrolet 402 Running 0
21 21 Trevor Bayne Ford 402 Running 0
22 13 Ryan Blaney Ford 402 Running 0
23 12 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Ford 402 Running 0
24 20 Paul Menard Ford 401 Running 0
25 18 Darrell Wallace Jr. Chevrolet 401 Running 0
26 19 Chris Buescher Chevrolet 401 Running 0
27 33 A.J. Allmendinger Chevrolet 401 Running 0
28 30 Ross Chastain Chevrolet 401 Running 0
29 29 Kasey Kahne Chevrolet 400 Running 0
30 35 Cole Whitt Chevrolet 400 Running 0
31 24 Michael McDowell Ford 400 Running 0
32 22 Daniel Hemric Chevrolet 399 Running 0
33 15 David Ragan Ford 399 Running 0
34 36 Landon Cassill Chevrolet 397 Running 0
35 34 Gray Gaulding Toyota 393 Running 0
36 38 Harrison Rhodes Chevrolet 386 Running 0
37 14 Ryan Newman Chevrolet 368 Accident 0
38 37 Reed Sorenson Chevrolet 188 Electrical 0