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Busch Fends Off Edwards For Win

NASCAR Nationwide Series at Richmond
Saturday, May 02, 2009

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Kyle Busch held off Carl Edwards to win the NASCAR Nationwide Series Lipton Tea 250
Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR

It may be too early to call the run for the NASCAR Nationwide Series championship a two-man race, but Kyle Busch and Carl Edwards continued to assert their dominance Friday night at Richmond International Raceway.

In a five-lap run to the finish after the 10th caution of the race, Busch held off Edwards by 0.584 seconds in the Lipton Tea 250 and extended his lead in the championships standings to 82 points over second-place Edwards.

"It's fun here at Richmond -- I love winning here at Richmond," said Busch, who will celebrate his 24th birthday on Saturday. "We're in championship form. We've just got to keep digging."

The victory was Busch's third of the year, his third at Richmond and his 24th in the series. Matt Kenseth finished third, followed by Brad Keselowski and Kevin Harvick. Joey Logano, Mark Martin, rookie Michael McDowell, Jason Keller and Jason Leffler completed the top 10.

In Edwards' view, the difference in the race was Busch's performance on the restarts.

"He smoked me on the restarts," Edwards said. "I did everything I could. That car that he's got there just runs really well on those restarts. I could probably do a little bit better job, but I did the best I could on that last one, and I couldn't get near him.

"But it's a great racecar, and even though it's second, it's still a decent points day, and it's good to be this strong here at Richmond."

The seventh caution of the race, called on Lap 203 when Morgan Shepherd's Chevrolet stopped on the track, bunched the field and put all the lead-lap cars back on the same pit sequence. Shortly after the restart on Lap 209, a broken track bar ruined a stellar run by Mike Bliss, who had opened a lead of more than five seconds during a long green-flag run early in the race. He finished 33rd.

Edwards won the race off pit road on Lap 205 but had to fend off a persistent challenge from Busch before Ken Butler's crash on Lap 220 caused the eighth caution of the night. Keselowski came to the pits for right-side tires on Lap 224.

After Busch grabbed the lead from Edwards on Lap 230 and began to pull away, contact between Keselowski and Leffler on Lap 233 ignited a four-car accident that also involved Jeff Burton and Brian Scott. The field restarted on Lap 243, with Busch leading Edwards, Kenseth, McDowell and Keselowski to the stripe.     

The 10th caution of the race, for Kenny Wallace's spin on Lap 243, set up the final run to the finish.

Q&A With Busch

What got you through to victory lane?
"Perseverance man, you've just got to keep digging.  I really want to thank all these guys on this team.  They do a phenomenal job week in and week out.  I've just really got to thank NOS and Z-Line and the fans, Toyota, Marquis Jets, Gillette, DirecTV -- everybody that makes this program possible for us.  All of the guys at Joe Gibbs Racing -- everybody from the fab shop to the cleanup crew to everybody that works so hard to really make it fun.  I've got to thank J.D. and Joe (Gibbs) and those guys.  I don't know what else to say, man, this is pretty fun here at Richmond.  I love winning here.  This is one of Denny's (Hamlin) favorite places, too.  He always wins here so it's a hometown for him and unfortunately we didn't have  another Nationwide car for him to run tonight so we had to make sure we won in his hometown."

Do you feel comfortable with your lead in the championship point standings?
"Yeah, Nationwide is great, but we've got to win the championship -- we want to win the championship here of course, too.  We want to win both of them, too.  To come out of here with the Sprint Cup title would be awesome.  We' re championship-form -- we've just got to keep digging.  We can't falter like I did in the beginning of the year and like the team did in the beginning of the year.  Smooth nights like tonight where nothing goes wrong is kind of picture perfect and scripted."

Did your crew need to make a lot of adjustments today?
"These guys really earned their money today.  They work awful hard in practice.  We made a lot of changes to it.  It looked like the 33 (Kevin Harvick) team next to us was on vacation, they really weren't doing anything.  We kept thrashing.  We chased the track a lot and then we started the race too tight and we loosened it up and it really came to life.  I didn't think anybody had anything for the 1 (Mike Bliss) car.  It was pretty stout tonight, but it felt like Carl (Edwards) was really good on the long run too, but we had the best car when it mattered the most at the end."

Did you learn things from tonight for tomorrow's Sprint Cup race?
"Some of the adjustments we did today we'll use for tomorrow.  Some air pressure stuff and some wedge and track bar stuff, but other than that they're a lot different, but you can learn some tendencies tonight that will translate into tomorrow and the way that you drive them."

Can you talk about the last pass to take the lead?
"It was on a restart there.  He (Carl Edwards) didn't come up through the gears very well for some reason.  I faked low and went to the outside and just drove around him on the high-side.  He gave me the space and I gave him some space so we could race clean and we made it around him and that was pretty much it."

Do you feel like tonight's win gets you back on track?
"Yeah, it does.  It's felt like forever.  (Jeff) Dickerson (spotter, manager) were talking about that.  We've gone four or five weeks in a row of 17th or worse in the Cup Series and it's just frustrating.  We've had runs that have been better than that, we've just taken ourselves out of the running toward the end of the race.  I feel like tonight was a good night to get back on track.  We won last night and that was cool.  It was a fun race.  Tonight was a race that mattered and we had our biggest challenger behind us in Carl (Edwards) to beat him out straight up.  We had some other issues that we fought through tonight with the car, but we got it all squared away and handled before the end of the race so that was nice."

Results

FIN ST CAR DRIVER MAKE SPONSOR PTS/BNS LAPS STATUS
1 3 18 Kyle Busch Toyota NOS Energy Drink 195/10 250 Running
2 7 60 Carl Edwards Ford Scotts Miracle-Gro Moisture Control 175/5 250 Running
3 1 16 Matt Kenseth Ford CitiFinancial 170/5 250 Running
4 27 88 Brad Keselowski Chevrolet Delphi 160/0 250 Running
5 8 33 Kevin Harvick Chevrolet Rheem Tankless Water Heaters 155/0 250 Running
6 4 20 Joey Logano Toyota GameStop 150/0 250 Running
7 5 5 Mark Martin Chevrolet Lipton Tea 146/0 250 Running
8 22 47 Michael McDowell * Toyota Kroger / Tom's Snacks 142/0 250 Running
9 17 27 Jason Keller Ford Huggies / Kotex / Kroger 138/0 250 Running
10 9 38 Jason Leffler Toyota Great Clips 134/0 250 Running
11 26 66 Steve Wallace Chevrolet US Fidelis 130/0 249 Running
12 20 6 Erik Darnell * Ford Northern Tool + Equipment 127/0 249 Running
13 13 70 Shelby Howard Chevrolet Foretravel Motorcoach 124/0 249 Running
14 34 07 David Green Toyota PMCLife.com 121/0 249 Running
15 36 234 Tony Raines Chevrolet Long John Silver's 118/0 249 Running
16 6 40 Scott Wimmer Chevrolet Stop Repair Bills.com 115/0 249 Running
17 42 11 Scott Lagasse Jr. * Toyota America's Incredible Pizza Company 112/0 248 Running
18 16 87 Joe Nemechek Chevrolet NEMCO Motorsports 109/0 248 Running
19 12 177 Peyton Sellers * Chevrolet SFP 106/0 248 Running
20 25 01 Danny O'Quinn Jr. Chevrolet American Basketball Association 103/0 248 Running
21 38 26 Brian Keselowski Dodge Schweitzer Title 100/0 248 Running
22 31 173 Derrike Cope Dodge FlipnBags.com 97/0 248 Running
23 28 28 Kenny Wallace Chevrolet U.S. Border Patrol 94/0 247 Running
24 32 81 D.J. Kennington Dodge D.H. Griffin Companies 91/0 247 Running
25 19 05 Casey Atwood Chevrolet 31-W Insulation 88/0 247 Running
26 11 62 Brendan Gaughan * Chevrolet Loanmax Title Loans 85/0 246 Running
27 21 99 Scott Speed Toyota Red Bull 82/0 246 Running
28 24 32 Burney Lamar Toyota Dollar General 79/0 246 Running
29 30 136 Marc Davis * Toyota Howard University Radio WHUR 96.3 76/0 244 Running
30 41 61 Brandon Whitt Ford Specialty Racing 73/0 237 Running
31 33 29 Jeff Burton Chevrolet Holiday Inn / Holiday Inn Express 70/0 233 Accident
32 10 10 Brian Scott Toyota Great Clips 67/0 232 Accident
33 2 1 Mike Bliss Chevrolet Miccosukee Resort & Gaming 69/5 229 Running
34 35 15 Michael Annett * Toyota Pilot Travel Centers 61/0 219 Running
35 40 23 Ken Butler III * Chevrolet Aaron's Dream Machine 58/0 216 Accident
36 37 89 Morgan Shepherd Chevrolet Strange's Florist / Lagina Plumbing / Eldora Speedway 55/0 200 Oil Pressure
37 15 172 Benny Gordon Ford Samuel Metals / VSI Racing 52/0 157 Rear End
38 39 12 Justin Allgaier * Dodge Verizon Wireless / Star Trek 49/0 140 Running
39 18 24 Eric McClure Ford Hefty / Kroger 46/0 82 Accident
40 14 0 Mark Green Chevrolet Cash4Gold.com / Racing 1-800-527-1801 43/0 30 Brakes
41 29 91 Terry Cook * Chevrolet MSRP Motorsports 40/0 24 Susp.
42 23 49 Kertus Davis Chevrolet GetMoreVacations.com 37/0 22 Brakes
43 43 90 Johnny Chapman Chevrolet MSRP Motorsports 34/0 12 Brakes

* Denotes Rookie

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