Kyle Bush used a series of cautions in the closing laps of the Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond Raceway to rally to his third straight Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series win on Saturday night.Three straight for Bush put him even with what Kevin Harvick was able to do earlier this season. Bush struggled in qualifying, starting the race in 32nd, the worst qualifying position by a Richmond winner, the previous was 2008 Richmond winner Clint Bowyer, who started 31st that night.
Bush pulled away from the field on restarts after the slew of cautions, winning for the 46th time in Cup competition, which put him in a tie with NASCAR Hall of Famer Buck Baker for 15th on the all-time wins list. He beat runner-up Chase Elliott to the checkered flag in overtime, Elliott’s eighth second place finish of his career. Elliott has yet to reach victory lane in NASCAR’s top series.
Pit stops throughout the race, especially in the latter stages of the 400 lap affair proved significant to “Rowdy” in his quest for a fifth victory at the track know as, “Racing Perfection.”
“I think the difference for us tonight was just the adjustments (to the car),” Busch said. “Trying to stay with the race track all night long. (Crew chief) Adam Stevens and my guys did a phenomenal job. I think one of the other keys to the night was just my guys — my pit crew. They got us out front when it mattered the most those last two pit stops. They were awesome tonight on pit road.”
Next up, the series heads to Talladega Superspeedway for inches-apart, unpredictable racing for 500 miles. With “The Big One” at Dega always lurking, how’s Bush’s optimism to claim victory number 4 in 2018?
“It’s definitely cool we’ve won three in a row,” Busch said. “We did it a couple years ago, and now I don’t know if you can shoot for four in a row. It’s hard to go to Talladega with that much of a winning streak and think that you can go to Victory Lane, but we’re going to go there anyway and give it a shot.” “We’ll see what we can do … I think it’s easier to win the Power Ball than to win at Talladega.”
Jimmie Johnson, the last driver to win four-in-a-row did it back in 2007. That year he won his second Cup championship. Later this year in the playoffs, Kyle Bush will be pursuing his second title.
Other drivers finishing strong at the Virginia short track were Denny Hamlin in third, Stage 1 and 2 winner, Joey Logano, fourth and Harvick came home fifth. Johnson came home sixth. Kyle Larson, Brad Keselowski, Clint Bowyer and Daniel Suarez rounded out the top-10.
Track Talk: Short-Track Edition is below.