By AMANDA VINCENT
After rain delayed the Toyota Owners 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Richmond (Va.) International Speedway from Saturday night to Sunday afternoon, Kurt Busch turned in a career performance, leading a career-high 291 laps before driving into victory lane to celebrate his first win of 2015.
“It’s an incredible feeling,” Busch said in victory lane. “And the way that everything came together just seemed like we were building and building and building towards a great finish like this. And I have this opportunity because of Gene Haas and everybody that’s part of our family at Stewart-Haas. It’s an unbelievable feeling when you pull deep from within and you go through troubles and you know, when you’re accused of something and things go sideways, your personal life doesn’t need to affect your business life. And I’m here in victory lane.”
Stewart-Haas Racing claimed a one-two finish with Kevin Harvick finishing second. Jimmie Johnson finished third, Jamie McMurray was fourth and Joey Logano rounded out the top-five.
“All in all, just happy for everyone at Stewart-Haas Racing,” Harvick said.
After Logano started on the pole and led the first 94 laps, Busch took the lead on lap 95 and led most of the remainder of the 400-race. McMurray led for a short time, taking the lead from Busch on lap 262, but Busch was back up front after a green-flag cycle of pit stops neared completion and a caution on lap 270.
McMurray and Keselowski each spent time running second to Busch in the remaining laps, but Keselowski’s engine dropped a cylinder, resulting in a gradual drop outside the top-10 and a 17th-place finish.
“It sucks, but it is part of racing, and we just have to try to learn from it going forward and be better,” Keselowski said.
Harvick moved up to second soon after Busch’s initial move into the lead and ran second to his teammate until lap 173. He then experienced track bar and tire issues that resulted in a loss of several positions. But Harvick was in position to take third from Johnson on the final restart of the race with 26 laps to go and then second from McMurray by 17 to go.
“What we really needed was just all the tires to be the same,” Harvick said. “We put that one set of tires on and went back to 12th or 13th and wound up making up the spots, but it just go us way behind. The track bar broke, and we weren’t able to get the track bar back where we needed to.”
Finishing sixth through 10th weree Kasey Kahne, Matt Kenseth, Jeff Gordon, Clint Bowyer and Martin Truex Jr.