Kyle Busch scored his third straight victory of the year winning the Toyota Owners 400 in overtime at Richmond Raceway Saturday night. He dominated the field in the closing 30 laps of the race to capture his 46th career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series win.
It was his fifth triumph at the .75-mile short track and may have been his most challenging win at Richmond. Busch started in 32nd place but was able to maneuver his way to a sixth-place finish in both Stage 1 and Stage 2. It wasn’t until the closing laps of the third stage, however, that Busch began to make his presence known. He led three times (Lap 273, Laps 371-390, and Laps 392-402) for 32 laps) on his drive to Victory Lane.
He spoke about his winning streak and the possibility of four in a row as the series travels to Talladega Superspeedway next week and the unpredictability of restrictor plate racing.
“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 … I think it’s easier to win the Power Ball than to win at Talladega.”
Chase Elliott finished second, after taking advantage of the late-race cautions to gradually work his way to the front of the field for the final restart in overtime but he was unable to overtake Busch.
“Yeah, just very fortunate circumstances there at the end for us, with the way the restarts went,” Elliott said. “Having a short run there at the end was definitely in our favor. So it was nice to be on the good end of things for the first time in a while.
“Looking forward, we have to be realistic about how we ran tonight. I think the result shouldn’t weigh into how hard we worked this week because we have some work to do. I think that we have to keep that in mind.”
Denny Hamlin took third place followed by a disappointed Joey Logano who finished fourth after winning Stage 1 and 2,
“You know, we had a really good Shell Pennzoil Ford early in the race and got a couple stage wins early which was great. We maxed out those points which is awesome. We just lost the handle on the car and fell back to sixth or so. We had a bad pit stop and lost a bunch of spots and then had a really good pit stop and got them all right back and were able to come home with a top-five. I wish I could re-run that. I feel like we can do better if we tried again. I am sure the whole field would say that. I am proud of the speed we showed at Richmond. Just want to be a little better.”
Kevin Harvick rounds out the top five finishers in the Toyota Owner’s 400.
Busch retains the points lead after Richmond followed by Logano (-56), Clint Bowyer (-86), Harvick (-91) and Brad Keselowski in fifth (-112).
Next week the action continues when the Monster Energy Cup Series heads to Talladega Superspeedway for the Geico 500.
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Richmond Raceway MENCS Unofficial Race Results Toyota Owners 400 4-21-18