Thursday, November 23, 2017
Sports

Kyle Busch takes another victory at Richmond

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RICHMOND, Va. — Kyle Busch capped a perfect weekend Saturday night by winning the spring race at Richmond for the fourth consecutive year.

The victory snaps a 22-race winless streak for Busch, and came a day after he went to Victory Lane for the first time as a Nationwide series team owner. Kurt Busch drove his younger brother's car to its first victory Friday.

The win also broke Busch's tie with Richard Petty (1971-73) for consecutive spring wins at Richmond.

"Is that some sort of record? I'm hoping it is," Busch said.

Tony Stewart and Carl Edwards both believed the win was taken from them in the Capital City 400.

Stewart was upset because a caution for debris — he claimed it was for a bottle of soda or water that wasn't an on-track hindrance — erased his lead with 13 laps left. As the leaders pitted, Busch beat him back onto the track.

Busch pulled away from Stewart on the restart with nine of 400 laps to go, and Stewart was also passed by Dale Earnhardt Jr. to fade to third.

"When the caution is for a plastic bottle on the backstretch, it's hard to feel good losing that one," Stewart said. "And we gave it away on pit road. So, we did everything we could to throw it away, got taken away from us."

Edwards thought the same after NASCAR penalized him for jumping the restart with 81 laps left. It capped a confusing sequence in what had been a calm, quiet race through 300 laps. But a caution after Jeff Burton hit the wall scrambled everything.

Edwards lined up next to Stewart for the restart, and his spotter told the driver that he was leading. But NASCAR said Stewart led, and when Edwards sailed past him on the restart, NASCAR threw the black flag.

He questioned the call to crew chief Bob Osborne, and neither seemed to understand the penalty. Told by Osborne it was for both passing before the restart and jumping the restart, Edwards said it was impossible to do both at the same time.

NASCAR eventually clarified that Stewart was the leader, but Edwards left too early.

Edwards, who finished 10th, watched a replay of the start before going to talk to NASCAR.

"I thought NASCAR made a mistake, they lined us up wrong, and I was at a disadvantage being on the outside," Edwards said. "So I thought, 'I'm getting the best start I can get right now. I got the best start I could get, looks like Tony waited or spun his tires, so they black-flagged me."

And Busch had some sympathy for Stewart, who led four times for a race-high 118 laps.

"Stewart was phenomenal," he said. "I hate it for him that we had a caution like that. He deserved to win the race. But I can't say enough about us just getting our lucky break there and getting a chance to win."

Earnhardt moved within five points of leader Greg Biffle. Earnhardt, whose winless streak is at 138 races, also credited some late luck for his finish.

"Really happy to come home with second. We were running about fifth all night, and just got lucky on that restart to be on the inside and get a couple spots," he said.

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