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The Final Word – Richmond taught us that sometimes we have no clue as to how it all will end

Sometimes you watch a race and you just know early what the outcome will be. Sometimes you discover you did not have a clue. Welcome to Richmond last Saturday night.

It appeared that pole sitter Martin Truex Jr. would have a great day. Then again, Joey Logano was the one to watch. He was in the end of the caution-free opening segment, one that left half the field in the dust, at least a lap down. Already the likes of Erik Jones, Alex Bowman, Paul Menard, A.J. Allmendinger, and Jimmie Johnson were out of it. Done. Gone but not forgotten. We were kind of wrong about that, too, as it turned out.

The second segment, more of the same. No cautions, as Kurt Busch took a turn up front, followed by Clint Bowyer. Then Logano made his return to claim the top bonus points. No doubt, Logano would be the one to beat. Right? Wrong.

The third frame was more of the same, and more familiar names leading the parade. We started with Kurt, then Bowyer, then Truex, before Kevin Harvick took a bow. Then the cautions started to fall, and so did our earlier expectations.

Sure, Truex did come back to lead the way for 35 laps. For a moment, we thought how it began, so would it end. We had no idea. A screwed up pit stop left the defending champion sucking wind, finishing 14th. So, who would finally emerge? Which one of our aforementioned heroes would shake the suds when it was all over?

None of them. Kyle Busch started deep in the field and led 31 of the final 32 laps to claim his third straight Cup victory with an overtime decision. It marked the 46th time he has claimed the prize, and in over the past 25 NASCAR races, it was the Rowdyman taking eight of them.

Great points day for Busch, and a good one for brother Kurt, yet it was Logano taking home a race-high 53 ducats in finishing fourth. With his eight career runner-up finish was Chase Elliott. As for Johnson, he who was lost and gone from view until Talladega next week, he finished sixth. Sixth. Be it God, Jesus, Mohammed, Buddha, the Great Manitou, or Chad Knaus up on the box, somehow a miracle took place. A big adjustment after the opening segment, a wave around late in the third, a couple of cautions, and some great driving greatly assisted in putting the seven-time king in a place to claim a Top Ten, which moves him into 15th in the season standings.

At Richmond, we discovered we knew nothing. At Talladega on Sunday, I expect one hell of an adventure. I am pretty sure I will not be wrong about that.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of

Ron Thornton
Ron Thornton
A former radio and television broadcaster, newspaper columnist, Little League baseball coach, Ron Thornton has been following NASCAR on this site since 2004. While his focus may have changed over recent years, he continues to make periodic appearances only when he has something to say. That makes him a rather unique journalist.


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