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Kyle Busch wins Sprint Cup race at Richmond

Kyle Busch earned the victory in the spring race at Richmond International Raceway for the third year in a row.

Associated Press

Kyle Busch earned the victory in the spring race at Richmond International Raceway for the third year in a row.

RICHMOND, Va. — It might be Denny Hamlin's hometown track, but his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate is finding Victory Lane a familiar parking spot, at least in the spring.

Kyle Busch had barely enough fuel to hold off Hamlin to win Saturday night's Matthew and Daniel Hansen 400 at Richmond International Raceway. It was his second Sprint Cup win of 2011.

How close was Busch on fuel?

"We should have run out three laps ago," Busch's crew chief, Dave Rogers, said immediately after the race.

Between them, Busch and Hamlin have won the past five Cup races at Richmond. Busch, who turns 26 on Monday, won his third consecutive spring race there. Hamlin, born in Brandon but raised in Virginia, has won the past two fall races at the 0.75-mile track.

Kasey Kahne finished third, David Ragan fourth and Carl Edwards fifth.

"Man, it's so fun to win the Sprint Cup races," Busch said. "This race was a good one. We had a really, really good car. We knew if we could get through traffic better than (Hamlin) … I knew we could win.

"Hopefully we can keep this momentum going."

Hamlin won the charity race he hosted Thursday night at the layout he considers his home track then won Friday night's Nationwide series event.

"It was important for me to have a smooth race and not have anything go wrong," Hamlin said after Saturday's finish. "Just got beat by my teammate (Saturday).

"He drove a great race. I thought he would burn his stuff up. Our cars were dead-equal."

The first 107 laps of the race were incident-free. During that caution-free span, five drivers took turns leading.

Kyle Busch passed Hamlin on Lap 90 to take the lead for the first time and kept it for the next 110 laps, which included two rounds of pit stops.

Hamlin, Martin Truex and Matt Kenseth took brief turns in the lead before Busch moved back out front, passing Hamlin for the lead on Lap 288.

An accident involving Brad Keselowski and Brian Vickers brought out the seventh caution on Lap 291. Several drivers elected not to pit, so Carl Edwards inherited the lead on the restart on Lap 300.

Edwards was followed by Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jeff Burton.

A nine-car wreck brought out another caution on Lap 302 and took out several potential contenders, including Jeff Gordon, Mark Martin and Kenseth.

"I hate it with the pit sequence and the pit strategy that was going on there that we lost all that track position," Gordon said. "With 100 (laps) to go and everyone was just getting so impatient, you had to dive in there three-wide."

"I don't know what happened behind me, but somebody …got my left rear and around we went."

On the restart on Lap 314, Burton took the lead followed by Earnhardt, Greg Biffle, Busch and Hamlin. Three laps later, Busch moved back to the front.

With 50 laps left, Busch was still leading, followed by Hamlin, Truex, Kasey Kahne and Burton.

Truex was forced to pit under green on Lap 373 with a vibration, losing what looked to be a top-five finish.

Several drivers, including Busch and Hamlin, were very close on making the 400-lap distance on fuel as the final laps ticked off.

BAYNE still ILL: Daytona 500 winner Trevor Bayne no longer believes an insect bite is behind the symptoms that have landed him in the hospital. "Still at the hospital!" a post on his Twitter account read Saturday. "Don't think its related to the bite … But we'll see!" Roush Fenway Racing said Thursday that Bayne had been hospitalized to be tested for symptoms that were believed to be from an insect bite in early April. Team owner Jack Roush told the Motor Racing Network that Bayne has been hospitalized at the Mayo Clinic.

Sprint Cup points

Through nine of 36 races. The top 10 drivers plus two wild cards (based on wins) through 26 races make the Chase for the Championship.

Driver Pts. Back

Carl Edwards 335—

Jimmie Johnson 326 9

Kyle Busch 305 30

Dale Earnhardt Jr. 301 34

Kevin Harvick 300 35

Kurt Busch 289 46

Clint Bowyer 284 51

Ryan Newman 277 58

Matt Kenseth 276 59

Tony Stewart 275 60

Note: Points unofficial; NASCAR posts official points today.

Up next

Southern 500, 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Darlington (S.C.) Raceway

TV: Ch. 13

Kyle Busch wins Sprint Cup race at Richmond 04/30/11 [Last modified: Sunday, May 1, 2011 12:01am]
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