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NASCAR Cup: Kyle Busch claims third-straight win

RICHMOND, VA – APRIL 21: Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M’s Flavor Vote Toyota, leads a pack of cars during the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond Raceway on April 21, 2018 in Richmond, Virginia. (Photo by Sarah Crabill/Getty Images)


The Toyota Care 400 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Richmond (Va.) Raceway on Saturday night was won by Toyota driver Kyle Busch. It was Busch’s fifth-career Cup Series win at Richmond and his third-consecutive win of 2018, matching the season’s other multi-race winners, to this point in the season, Kevin Harvick, who won three-straight races earlier this year.

“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.”

Chase Elliott finished second for the eighth time in his Cup Series career, getting past Busch’s Joe Gibbs Racing teammate, Denny Hamlin on an overtime restart.

Hamlin finished third.

Busch’s finish came after a 32nd-place start, the farthest back he has started in a race he eventually won. After starting near the back, he raced up through the field quickly, getting up to sixth by the end of the first stage at lap 100 and racing has high as second to his brother, Kurt Busch in the second 100-lap stage. Kyle Busch took his first lead of the race by getting off pit road first during a caution that came out with 32 laps to go. Once he took the lead, he ran up front the remaining distance.

“The first run of the race, we actually made really good ground,” Busch said. “I was really happy with the way our car took off, there, at the beginning of the race. As the night kind of wore on, we just didn’t quite have that advantage to everybody. Everybody kind of gained and got a little better, and we made some adjustments and changes to the car in order to try to help ourselves, and it seemed to be better there. Then, the last couple runs were just short runs. Adam (Stevens, crew chief) and the guys making making the right adjustments to the car to have it faster on the short run was where it was at.”

Joey Logano was the winner of both stages that made up the first half of the 400-lap race. He took the lead from pole sitter Martin Truex Jr. on lap 39 and ran up front for the remainder of the first 100-lap stage. All four Stewart-Haas Racing entries — the No. 4 of Kevin Harvick, the No. 10 of Aric Almirola, the No. 14 of Clint Bowyer and the No. 41 of Kurt Busch — joined Logano in the top-10 at the end of both of the 100-lap stages.

After ending stage one in the 10th position. Harvick was mired outside the top-20 to start stage two as a result of a pit-road penalty for a crew member throwing equipment. At the end of the second stage, he was, again, in 10th.

Logano got off pit road first during each of the cautions that separated the race into its three stages, but each time, Kurt Busch took away the lead on the restart that followed.

In the second stage, Busch was joined up front by teammate Bowyer, and on lap 170, Bowyer took the lead. On lap 193, though, Logano retook the lead for his second stage win.

After leading early, Truex was back up front inside the final 130 laps of the race. The field cycled through green-flag pit stops with about 130 laps to go and, again, with about 72 laps remaining. Each time, one of the SHR cars — first Bowyer and then Harvick — was leading at the beginning of the cycle, but each time, Truex pitted one lap earlier than the race leader and was up front when the cycle completed.

During the first green-flag cycle, Kurt Busch pit stop was slow as a result of Daniel Suarez running over Busch’s team’s air hose. One of Busch’s tire changers suffered a strained ligament in one of his thumbs in the incident, as a result of his air gun being pulled from his hand.

After most of the race ran caution-free, aside from the yellows at laps 100 and 200 to split the race into stages, The yellow waved four times in the final 50 laps, first for a three-car crash involving Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Ryan Blaney and Cole Whitt with 47 laps to go. Other cautions came as a result of an incident involving Jamie McMurray and Kurt Busch with 32 laps remaining, a David Ragan spin with 11 to go, and Stenhouse getting into the wall with four laps remaining.

“All these guys — everybody on this whole M&Ms Camry — they do a great job for me,” Kyle Busch said. “I can’t say enough about Adam Stevens and my guys and the pit crew tonight. They won this race for us. They got us off pit road first those last two times that we came down for tires and got us where we needed to be.”

A slow stop for Truex during the caution with 11 laps to go resulting in the reigning series champion restarting 11th. At the checkered flag, he was 14th after leading a race-high 121 laps.

Logano finished fourth, and Harvick rounded out the top-five. Finishing sixth through 10th were Jimmie Johnson, Kyle Larson, Brad Keselowski, Bowyer and Almirola.

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Posted by on April 22, 2018. Filed under Breaking News,Featured,Monster Energy NASCAR Cup,NASCAR. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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