Kyle Busch Goes Wire-to-Wire to Win in Richmond

Kyle Busch Goes Wire-to-Wire to Win in Richmond

by September 5, 2014 0 comments

Photo credit: Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images

RICHMOND, Va. — Kyle Busch won the Virginia529 College Savings 250 at Richmond International Raceway on Friday night in a dominating fashion by leading all 250 laps completed at the three-quarter-mile short track.

Busch earned his fourth win of the year for Joe Gibbs Racing by seizing the lead right at the drop of the green flag from the pole position. Busch would fend off challenges from Chase Elliott, Kevin Harvick, and Ryan Blaney (finishers two-through-four) throughout the night and would beat them, Brian Scott, Regan Smith, Dakoda Armstrong, Elliott Sadler, Ty Dillon, and Chris Buescher across the line to claim his 67th career Nationwide Series victory.

“You never really think you’re going to be that good,” Busch said of his performance. “I knew that we had a good shot at being able to run well tonight. One better than when we’ve been here the past few times. Unfortunately, we just haven’t quite hit on it like we did tonight in those past races. The Monster Energy Camry was awesome. Adam [Stevens, crew chief] and the guys did a great job. I’m sure I can complain about some things but, when it’s all said and done, it seemed to be pretty good.”

“It’s just a true testament to the team, the leadership, and everything that went on from our struggles that we’ve had here in the past to getting better and being able to be as dominant as we were tonight.”

Harvick would prove to be the strongest threat to the No. 54 Monster Energy team in the late stages in the race, having a car that could challenge Busch on long runs. With the race ultimately coming down to a 19-lap sprint to the finish, Richmond’s April winner would have nothing for the eventual winner in the closing stages of the race.

“It took about 30 laps to swing the times the other way and then it would come off in big two-or-three tenth chunks,” Harvick said. “I didn’t have a chance after the last caution came out. I think we would have caught him if the caution doesn’t come out as fast as we were making up time. All-in-all, we were just off from the time we unloaded to the time we finished the race. We never really found what this particular tire wanted for us and our setup and car, driving style, and everything.”

“Kyle had a much better car and was able to take off on the short runs and get way out there … that was really the only run where we were running second and able to have a long enough run to where it was going to swing the other way, but it never made enough laps to make up the ground.”

With his second consecutive runner-up finish at Richmond International Raceway, Elliott extended his points lead to 19 points over teammate Smith. He would also widen the gap to fellow championship contenders Dillon and Sadler, who are now 42 and 54 points back in the standings, respectively. Elliott will have a great opportunity to extend his points lead even further in next Saturday’s Jimmy John’s Freaky Fast 300 at Chicagoland Speedway – the track he earned his third career series win at in July.

A total of six caution periods would occur over the course of the 250 laps completed in the race with multiple multi-car accidents taking place – something not truly surprising considering Richmond is a short track. J.J. Yeley, Jamie Dick, and Kevin Lepage would bring out the first caution on Lap 3 while Chad Boat would have a solo incident on Lap 74 to bring out the second caution of the night. The fourth caution of the night would be an accident between Jeffrey Earnhardt, Jeff Green, and Joey Gase on Lap 92 and the final caution of the night would be for an incident involving Landon Cassill on Lap 227. The third caution of the night would be for oil on the track while the fifth caution of the night would be for debris.

Goodyear’s new tire compound that was utilized by the Nationwide Series in tonight’s race provided for exciting multi-lane racing on Richmond’s 14-degree banked corners. The same compound will be in action for the Sprint Cup Series in tomorrow night’s Federated Auto Parts 400.

The Nationwide Series will be back in action next Saturday afternoon for the fourth annual Jimmy John’s Freaky Fast 300 – a 200-lap race.

Top-10 Finishers of the Virginia529 College Savings 250

  1. 54 – Kyle Busch(i) – Toyota – Joe Gibbs Racing
  2. 9 – Chase Elliott# – Chevrolet – JR Motorsports
  3. 5 – Kevin Harvick(i) – Chevrolet – JR Motorsports
  4. 22 – Ryan Blaney(i) – Ford – Team Penske
  5. 2 – Brian Scott – Chevrolet – Richard Childress Racing
  6. 7 – Regan Smith – Chevrolet – JR Motorsports
  7. 43 – Dakoda Armstrong# – Ford – Richard Petty Motorsports
  8. 11 – Elliott Sadler – Toyota – Joe Gibbs Racing
  9. 3 – Ty Dillon# – Chevrolet – Richard Childress Racing
  10. 60 – Chris Buescher# – Ford – Roush-Fenway Racing

Top-10 in the Drivers’ Standings after Round 25 of 33

  1. 9 – Chase Elliott# – JR Motorsports – 916 | Leader
  2. 7 – Regan Smith – JR Motorsports – 897 | -19
  3. 3 – Ty Dillon# – Richard Childress Racing – 874 | -42
  4. 11 – Elliott Sadler – Joe Gibbs Racing – 862 | -54
  5. 2 – Brian Scott – Richard Childress Racing – 859 | -57
  6. 6 – Trevor Bayne – Roush-Fenway Racing – 832 | -84
  7. 60 – Chris Buescher# – Roush-Fenway Racing – 747 | -169
  8. 62 – Brendan Gaughan – Richard Childress Racing – 720 | -196
  9. 16 – Ryan Reed# – Roush-Fenway Racing – 686 | -230
  10. 99 – James Buescher – RAB Racing – 671 | -245

# = Rookie, (i) = Ineligible for NASCAR Nationwide Series points.

Kyle Pokrefky
Follow Kyle Pokrefky on Twitter at @KPokrefky

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