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Kyle Busch sweeps Richmond

Backs up Nationwide win with Cup Series win
Sunday, May 03, 2009

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Kyle Busch celebrates winning the CROWN ROYAL presents The Russ Friedman 400 at Richmond International Raceway on his 24th birthday
Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR

Kyle Busch’s burnout on the frontstretch was a loud and smoky substitute for candles on a birthday cake.

But for Busch, there was no better way to celebrate his 24th birthday than to win his third NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race of the season and the 15th of his career.

In a race that featured a record-tying 15 cautions—but none in the final 40 laps—Busch powered past Jeff Gordon for the lead on Lap 352 and pulled away to win Saturday night’s Crown Royal Russ Friedman 400 at Richmond International Raceway and complete a weekend sweep of NASCAR events there.

Busch, who won the NASCAR Nationwide Series race Friday night at the .75-mile short track, joined Cale Yarborough as the only drivers to win NASCAR Sprint Cup races on their birthdays. With a full year in hand, Busch also holds the record for most victories in the series before turning 25.

Busch got to the finish line 2.751 seconds ahead of Tony Stewart who made a late pit stop for tires and worked his way up through the field in the final 50 laps. Jeff Burton survived a medley of wrecks to finish third. Ryan Newman came home fourth and Mark Martin fifth.

“I hope the team enjoys this as much as I do,” Busch said in victory lane. “It’s just amazing, man. It’s so cool. The car wasn’t perfect all night—it was good, but it wasn’t perfect. I knew that when we had practice (Friday). I kept telling (crew chief) Steve (Addington), ‘It doesn’t feel bad, but it’s not perfect.’

“Steve made the right call on when to pit and when to take four tires versus two tires or no tires or whatever, and it really paid off for us there at the end to be able to have that long run like that and not to have to deal with the 14 (Stewart) and the 31 (Burton). I knew they were coming.

“It’s great to be able to do this on my birthday week—it means a lot.”

Sam Hornish Jr., Jamie McMurray, Gordon, Casey Mears and Juan Pablo Montoya completed the top 10. Gordon pitted for the last time on Lap 274 and faded in the closing laps as his tires lost grip.

With Stewart finishing second and Newman fourth, fledgling Stewart-Haas Racing posted its best combined finish of the season.

“I’m not sure we had a second-place car, but we got there at the end,” Stewart said. “We were toward the back of the lead-lap cars, and we had a chance to come in and put four tires on it. The guys did a really good job all night in the pits. They really made us up a lot of spots.

“We had about 20 or 30 laps less on our tires than everybody else did, and that gave us an advantage.”

Virginia native Denny Hamlin, who finished 14th, surrendered control of the race during a pit stop under caution on Lap 274. Up to that point the No. 11 Camry had led 148 laps, but a lug nut problem on the right front dropped Hamlin from first to eighth for a restart on Lap 279.

Notes: Gordon regained the series points lead from Kurt Busch, who held it for one week. Gordon leads Kurt Busch by 10 points; Stewart, Hamlin and Kyle Busch each climbed one spot to third, fourth and fifth, respectively. ... A succession of problems that included a pit-road speeding penalty, a brake failure and a crash relegated three-time defending NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson to a 36th-place finish and dropped him to sixth in the standings. ... Newman jumped three places to 10th in points, as David Reutimann dropped out of the top 12.

Q&A with winner Kyle Busch

How do you keep winning week after week?
"This is a phenomenal team right here.  They never give up.  We've had four bad weeks and we knew we had to get back on track somehow.  I really want to thank Combos, M&M's, Interstate Batteries, Toyota, thank the fans for coming out tonight -- it's my birthday.  I know they were all supporting me on May 2 for my birthday tonight and we pulled out a win for them. I've got to thank Marquis Jets, DirecTV, Gillette, and of course Sprint for being here.  It was an awesome night , man, it's just so exciting for me.  I know this is another big win this year.  I hope the team enjoys it as much as I do and I've got to thank NOS again.  It's amazing and so cool."

How do you win with so many different teams?
"I don't know.  You've got to give feedback and I just keep telling the guys what's wrong with it.  This car wasn't perfect all night.  It was good, but it wasn't perfect.  I knew that when we had practice.  I kept telling Steve (Addington, crew chief), 'Man, it doesn't feel bad, it's not perfect, but we just can't get this much more out of it.'  Steve (Addington) made the right call there on when to pit and when to take four tires versus two tires or no tires or whatever, and it really paid off for us there at the end to be able to have that long run there like that and not have to deal with the 14 (Tony Stewart) or the 31 (Jeff Burton).  I knew they were coming."

How happy are you to get this victory on your birthday?
"This is an awesome win for us.  It's really exciting to come out here tonight and not only win on my birthday but to have the team guys enjoy it as much I do.  We struggled for four weeks.  It's been a struggle for us and we didn't finish the way we wanted to but we made it happen here tonight and I'm real proud of these guys.  It was a whole team effort."

What was the last run like on old tires?
"That's exactly what we needed.  We needed to get out and get a long run and those guys had to chase us back down and they couldn't really catch us.  It really worked out.  Steve (Addington, crew chief) made a great race call there on when to pit and when to take more tires and we were able to stay out front from there on out and made the most of the effort there. Fortunately, it was a long run.  I was hoping we wouldn't see another caution out.  This is just so cool.  I didn't think we could do it.  I knew we had a good car not a great car but all you've got to do is hang around with a good car and let the race fall your way."

Where does a win at Richmond rank for you?
"It's always been up there and to finally get one here, I've been so close so many times but never have been able to get a win here.  This is pretty cool.  I'm so excited to win here.  You never know what can happen coming into a weekend and this weekend was pretty special."

Results

FIN ST CAR DRIVER MAKE SPONSOR PTS/BNS LAPS STATUS
1 14 18 Kyle Busch Toyota Combos 190/5 400 Running
2 16 14 Tony Stewart Chevrolet Office Depot / Old Spice 170/0 400 Running
3 5 31 Jeff Burton Chevrolet Prilosec OTC / Wal-Mart 165/0 400 Running
4 10 39 Ryan Newman Chevrolet U.S. Army 165/5 400 Running
5 7 5 Mark Martin Chevrolet Cheez-It / Carquest 155/0 400 Running
6 28 77 Sam Hornish Jr. Dodge Mobil 1 150/0 400 Running
7 27 26 Jamie McMurray Ford Crown Royal 146/0 400 Running
8 2 24 Jeff Gordon Chevrolet DuPont 147/5 400 Running
9 41 07 Casey Mears Chevrolet Jack Daniel's 138/0 400 Running
10 29 42 Juan Montoya Chevrolet Target 134/0 400 Running
11 21 47 Marcos Ambrose Toyota Bush's Best Baked Beans / Kingsford / Clorox 130/0 400 Running
12 17 2 Kurt Busch Dodge Miller Lite 132/5 400 Running
13 35 17 Matt Kenseth Ford Dewalt 124/0 400 Running
14 3 11 Denny Hamlin Toyota FedEx Ground 131/10 400 Running
15 1 83 Brian Vickers Toyota Red Bull 123/5 400 Running
16 36 7 Robby Gordon Toyota Energizer 115/0 400 Running
17 20 16 Greg Biffle Ford 3M 112/0 400 Running
18 12 33 Clint Bowyer Chevrolet BB&T 114/5 400 Running
19 13 20 Joey Logano * Toyota The Home Depot 106/0 400 Running
20 23 43 Reed Sorenson Dodge McDonald's McCafe 103/0 400 Running
21 31 44 A.J. Allmendinger Dodge Paralyzed Veterans of America / King's Cup 100/0 400 Running
22 4 1 Martin Truex Jr. Chevrolet Bass Pro Shops / Tracker 102/5 400 Running
23 22 6 David Ragan Ford UPS Freight 94/0 400 Running
24 30 55 Michael Waltrip Toyota NAPA Adaptive One 91/0 400 Running
25 32 19 Elliott Sadler Dodge Stanley Tools 88/0 400 Running
26 37 99 Carl Edwards Ford Aflac 85/0 400 Running
27 25 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Chevrolet National Guard - Drive the Guard / Amp Energy 82/0 399 Running
28 9 00 David Reutimann Toyota Aaron's Dream Machine 79/0 399 Running
29 18 9 Kasey Kahne Dodge Budweiser 76/0 399 Running
30 33 98 Paul Menard Ford NIBCO / Menards 73/0 398 Running
31 40 96 Bobby Labonte Ford Ask.com 70/0 398 Running
32 42 34 John Andretti Chevrolet Window World 67/0 397 Running
33 8 82 Scott Speed * Toyota Red Bull 64/0 396 Running
34 19 29 Kevin Harvick Chevrolet Shell / Pennzoil 61/0 394 Running
35 38 41 Jeremy Mayfield Toyota SmallSponsor.com 58/0 371 Running
36 15 48 Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet Lowe's 55/0 368 Running
37 6 09 Mike Bliss Dodge Miccosukee Resort & Gaming 52/0 368 Running
38 11 12 David Stremme Dodge Star Trek 49/0 324 Accident
39 34 171 David Gilliland Chevrolet TRG Motorsports 46/0 92 Electrical
40 24 187 Joe Nemechek Toyota NEMCO Motorsports 43/0 90 Brakes
41 43 37 Tony Raines Chevrolet Long John Silver's PE 74 Brakes
42 39 36 Scott Riggs Toyota Tommy Baldwin Racing 37/0 54 Electrical
43 26 66 Dave Blaney Toyota Prism Motorsports 34/0 8 Accident

* Denotes Rookie

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