At Richmond International Speedway on Saturday night, Kyle Busch began the NASCAR Sprint Cup race from the pole and was favored to win the Crown Royal 400 by NASCAR sportsbooks. This was an opportunity that could possibly lead to his first victory in quite some time. Busch accomplished this feat and and passed Jeff Gordon on the final restart to get the win, snapping his 21-race losing streak.
“It stinks to not win every single weekend or not every 21 weekends or 21 races,” Busch said. “But it certainly feels nice to come out here with another good win and get another good finish.”
Busch started the race on a tear. He lapped half of the drivers early, leading 221 of the first 229 laps, but he then started to lose his momentum. This is when Gordon would make his run. It appeared as though Gordon had the race wrapped up until two late cautions allowed Busch to pull ahead. With five laps to go, Busch lapped Gordon to get his first win of the year.
Gordon, who has not won since last April at Texas, once again had a chance to end his 38-race winless streak. He has been in a position three times this year to get a victory, but has come up short in each of these races.
“A little disappointed again that we are coming up short, but we are getting plenty of practice,” Gordon said. “It’s a little disappointing we haven’t won some races yet. If we keep doing this, those will come. We’ve got to keep putting ourselves in position.”
The last yellow flag, caused by Sam Hornish’s spin, left Gordon with Busch on his outside on the restart with five laps to go. Busch would then pull away in his Joe Gibbs Racing car after passing Gordon coming out of Turn 3.
“I don’t even remember what just happened,” Busch said. “I drove it down into Turn 1 and hoped it stuck. I knew I had to baby it into Turn 3 and finally got to clear Jeff. We set sail there from there.”
Busch, who missed the Chase for the Sprint Cup a year ago, finally got his first win since Bristol last August. Kevin Harvick finished third and was followed by Jeff Burton and Carl Edwards to wrap up the top 5. The victory moved Busch into 3rd place in the Sprint Cup points standings, 109 behind Harvick who is in first. Jimmie Johnson, who finished 10th on Saturday, is in second. The next NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race will take place next Saturday at Darlington Raceway.