Kyle Busch must really love racing in Virginia and, to prove it, the veteran NASCAR driver won his fourth-straight spring race at Richmond International Raceway, which was presented by “Virginia Is For Lovers.”
Busch, who’d be the first to admit he had no business even being in contention in the race, took advantage of a late-race yellow flag and pit-road miscues to win the Capital City 400, a night race on April 28.
“It was a gift,” Busch said in Victory Lane. “I don’t know where that last caution flag came from, but it was our saving grace. We came down pit road and (crew chief) Dave Rogers and the guys went to work and gave us a great pit stop, got me out in front.”
The win, Busch’s fourth straight in the spring event at the Richmond International Raceway, broke the tie he held with NASCAR legend Richard Petty for consecutive wins at the track. ‘The King’ won three straight from 1971 to 1973. News of the record left Busch in awe.
“I didn't even know that we were tied for a record, but it's definitely pretty special any time you're tied for a record with Richard Petty or you're able to break a record with that guy,” he said. “He's one of the biggest icons of our sport, so for me to be up there in one of those, … that feels pretty good.”
Busch’s elation was frustration for Tony Stewart, who looked poised to take the checkered flag when the caution flag waved with 10 laps to go in the race. After the race, Stewart sounded like he felt the race was his to win.
“When the caution is for a plastic bottle on the backstretch, it’s hard to feel good about losing that one,” said Stewart, who finished third behind Busch and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. “And we gave it away on pit road. So we did everything we could to throw it away. It got taken away from us.”
The final outcome left an even more bitter taste in Carl Edwards’ mouth. He led the race 210 of the 400 laps, but was penalized after an overzealous restart when he stepped on the throttle before reaching the double-red restart lines on the outside wall, according to NASCAR officials. After serving the penalty, driving through pit lane, he found himself in 15th place and some 17 seconds behind the leader of the race.
“I got the best start I could get, looks like Tony (Stewart) waited or spun his tires,” Edwards recalled the events leading to him being black flagged. The incident happened on a restart as the pace car pulled into pit lane, race leader Stewart appeared to back off or spin his tires and Edwards started racing back to the green flag. “I still don’t understand why they black flagged me. This whole thing is very frustrating. I don’t feel like we did anything wrong.”
Greg Biffle continues to the lead the Sprint Cup standings after nine races. Earnhardt, Jr. is second and Denny Hamlin is third. Reigning Sprint Cup champion Stewart sits in eighth place.
Next on the NASCAR Sprint Cup schedule is the Aaron’s 499, at the Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama on May 6.