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Maybe they should rename the spring NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Race at Richmond International Raceway? Kyle Busch won his fourth straight Saturday night at the 3/4-mile Virginia oval, coming from fifth grid spot in the Capital City 400 presented by Virginia is for [Busch] Lovers to break a tie with the King, Richard Petty who won three straight spring races here from 1971-1973. This is Rowdy Busch's 24th career Sprint Cup Series win and his first this season.
Busch led twice in his No. 18 Toyota for 32 laps, nearly all of those in the closing stages of the race. "It was a really good race car," he said. "We just didn't have enough enough on the long runs like (Tony) Stewart had. It means so much that we're able to come to this place every time and know we can have a decent car again and again. We just kept fighting, kept ourselves up there in track position, kept the fenders clean, the right side clean and kept us in the game all race long." Busch's namesake team won the Nationwide race the night before with big brother Kurt driving.
Dale Earnhardt Jr was a closing second from 10th grid spot and Tony Stewart, who was better on long runs finished an unhappy third after a late race caution, both driving Chevrolets. He came from 22nd on the 43-car grid. Denny Hamlin (Toyota) and Kasey Kahne (Chevy) rounded out the top five with Jimmie Johnson (Chevy), Clint Bowyer, polesitter Mark Martin (both in Toyota race cars), Brad Keselowski's Dodge and another unhappy camper, Carl Edwards' Ford completing the top 10.
Earnhardt "couldn't get enough front brake in it at the end to run as hard as I wanted and we just had hurt the balance a little bit on entry, but I'm really happy to come home with second." Stewart thought the final debris caution, for a water bottle that had been sitting by the side of the track for as many as eight laps - he said - was unnecessary. "I mean, it was out of the groove," Stewart said. "That's the best car I've had here in a long, long time. It was something I felt really comfortable with today."
On the penultimate caution NASCAR had the leaders lined up two-by-two as customary but Edwards was told by his spotter that he was the leader. He went well before the "restart box" out of the fourth turn even as the real leader, Stewart had a poor restart and held back, something that happened to Smoke on the final restart and pushed him back to third. Edwards received a penalty and Stewart was restored to the top place amidst the confusion. "We had to just agree to disagree and that's the way it is," Edwards said after meeting with NASCAR officials.
Even though he finished 18th, Greg Biffle (Ford) retains the point lead, but Earnhardt Jr is second and only five points behind. Denny Hamlin is third (-9), Matt Kenseth (Ford) holds fourth (-10) and Martin Truex Jr (Toyota) is fifth (-22). Jimmie Johnson, Kevin Harvick (Chevy), Tony Stewart, Carl Edwards and Chevy's Ryan Newman complete the top ten. Kyle Busch moved up to spots to 11th while Clint Bowyer lost one spot to 12th.
Next weekend's Sunday race is on the 2.66-mile Talladega Superspeedway.