RICHMOND, Va. -- Kyle Busch led four times and for all but
25 laps and even made overtime look easy at Richmond International
Raceway on Friday night, earning his ninth career NASCAR Busch
Series victory and second of the season.
"It's a lot of fun being able to perform like that," Busch
Busch, who also started first, never gave up the lead for more
than 17 laps and grabbed it for good on the 160th circuit when Matt
Kenseth spun avoiding an accident.
Kenseth, winner of 23 career series races, led for 17 laps when
Paul Menard spun out right in front of him. As Kenseth also went
around, Busch quickly darted up and through a clearing in the
action and produced the final of six lead changes.
"It was hard to recover and I just couldn't quite do it,"
On the weekend when he already has cemented his spot in NASCAR's
10-race Chase for the championship, Busch said the dominant effort
was a great way to kick things off.
"We wouldn't want it any other way, that's for sure," he said.
"Kenseth had the car to beat and I knew he did. He was the class
of the field but our car was right there with him. I didn't expect
that. It was great to have the chance to race with him."
Busch's Nextel Cup crew worked the pits for him.
"The win tonight raises the guys spirits for tomorrow. They're
going to come in pumped up because they won tonight, but they know
that the big challenge is tomorrow," he said. "We definitely want
to go out there and get that win."
The Emerson Radio 250 race went back to green on lap 201,
following the sixth caution, and Busch had all but ended the
suspense by building a lead of nearly 2½ seconds over Carl Edwards
until A.J. Allmendinger spun on lap 236.
The green flew again with nine laps remaining, and Busch got a
great jump and then some much appreciated help as Edwards and Ryan
Newman battled for second place.
With four laps to go, another caution flew because of oil on the
track, causing Busch to relinquish another sizeable lead, and the
race was red-flagged to allow the cleanup to take place before a
three-lap dash to the finish. Besides Edwards and Newman, Busch had
to beware of Kenseth and Denny Hamlin, both of whom had pitted for
tires with 13 laps remaining. Each had gained four spots in the
first six green laps.
On the last restart, however, after a 6-minute delay and a
decision to extend the race to let it finish under green, Busch
easily pulled away, winning by 0.868 seconds.
"Kyle definitely had a great car and I just couldn't get him,"
Edwards said after winning his battle with Newman for second.
"Maybe if the dude who ran third would have laid off me a little
bit I could have got a run on him, but I just couldn't do it."
Kenseth rallied for fourth and Mike Bliss was fifth.
Edwards, the runaway series points leader, extended his margin
to 733 points over Kevin Harvick, last year's runaway champion,
with seven races left on the schedule.
Edwards posted his 18th top 10 finish in 28 events this season.