Kyle Busch wins Richmond Cup race after starting from rear
Kyle Busch won Saturday’s Cup race at Richmond Raceway, earning his seventh victory of the season after having to start the 400-lap race from the rear of the field.
Busch led 92 laps and beat Kevin Harvick and Martin Truex Jr., his fellow members of this season’s “Big 3.” It’s the first time they’ve swept the top three this year.
The win is the 50th of Busch’s career.
The top five was completed by Chase Elliott and Aric Almirola.
Busch repeated his performance from the spring race at the short track, starting 39th - this time for unapproved adjustments - before slowly climbing his way through the field.
He took the lead for the first time on Lap 287 of 400 by passing Keselowski. Then, after a heated battle over the course of roughly 20 laps, Busch passed Keselowski again with 37 laps to go and led the rest of the way.
“That was too close for my comfort,” Busch told NBCSN of keeping ahead of Harvick. “I thought we were a little bit better there on the long run. I know Harvick, that’s kind of his specialty. We had a really, really good race car tonight. ... The guys did a great job coming back from that dismal qualifying effort and prepared a really, really good race car for us tonight. Being able to start dead last, come up through the field and win this thing? That’s right, Rowdy nation. All for you, baby.”
It’s Busch’s sixth win at Richmond, but his first in the fall race.
Busch snapped the three-race win streak of Keselowski. He led 67 laps and finished ninth.
STAGE 1 WINNER: Martin Truex Jr.
STAGE 2 WINNER: Martin Truex Jr.
WHO HAD A GOOD NIGHT: Martin Truex Jr. led 163 laps but was hit with an uncontrolled tire penalty during the caution that followed Stage 2. He restarted 19th before reaching third in the closing laps ... Aric Almirola earned his second top five of the season ... Jimmie Johnson (eighth) earned his best finish since the June Pocono race (eighth) ... Austin Dillon (sixth) earned his fourth top 10 of the season.
WHO HAD A BAD NIGHT: Denny Hamlin finished 16th after nearly spinning from contact with Ricky Stenhouse Jr. in Stage 1, pitting and going a lap down. He is now 29 points behind the cutoff spot ... Jeffrey Earnhardt caused the only caution for an incident when he wrecked with 74 laps to go from contact with Matt Kenseth ... Playoff drivers Joey Logano (14th), Hamlin (16th), Kurt Busch (18th) and Ryan Blaney (19th) all finished a lap down.
NOTABLE: Martin Truex Jr. secured a spot in the second round of the playoffs on points ... Truex has led the most laps four times in the last five races at Richmond without winning ... The race’s three cautions tied the fewest at Richmond since 2010.
QUOTE OF THE NIGHT: “I don’t know what we got to do to win this race.” - Martin Truex Jr. to NBCSN.
WHAT’S NEXT: The inaugural Bank of America Roval 400 at Charlotte Motor Speedway at 2 p.m. ET on Sept. 30 on NBC.