Kyle Busch Wins at Richmond, Secures Advancement in NASCAR Playoffs
The victory in the Federated Auto Parts 400 was Busch's seventh win of 2018.
Kyle Busch claimed his seventh win of the 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season Saturday night at Richmond Raceway when he took the checkered flag in the Federated Auto Parts 400. With the win in the second race of the first round of the playoffs, he secured his advancement to round two.
Busch drove from the back to the front for his latest win. He qualified 11th, but after he scraped the wall in qualifying on Friday, his team had to make repairs to his car, considered by NASCAR to be an unapproved adjustment for the impound race.
"The M&M’S Camry was awesome," Busch said. “The guys did a great job coming back from a dismal qualifying effort and prepared a really good race car here for us tonight. And, being able to start dead last and come up through the field and win this thing, that’s right, Rowdy Nation. All for you, baby. I just wanted to go out there and win this thing—win this thing for M&M’S, win this thing for my team, Toyota, everybody at Joe Gibbs Racing and Toyota. Obviously, it’s a whole team effort.”
The eventual race winner wasn’t in the top-10 of the running order by the end of the two 100-lap stages that made up the first half of the race, but he was in position to take the lead from Brad Keselowski on Lap 286.
“Early on in the race, the first run of the race, especially when the track hasn’t quite cooled off, yet, you’re always kind of fighting those things of just not a lot of grip,” Busch said. “There through the middle part of the race, I think we really had a race car to contend for the win, and we kind of drove up there. We kept making up spots and making up ground, and I was surprised that it was going as fast as it was going.”
Keselowski retook the lead on Lap 341, but Busch was able to return the favor for his final lead on Lap 362.
Martin Truex Jr. dominated the first half of the race, leading a race-high 163 laps and winning both stages. After Kevin Harvick started on the pole and led the first 40 laps, Truex took the lead on Lap 41 and ran up front until the caution that marked the end of the second stage at Lap 200.
Truex, though, went from the front to the back after the second stage due to a penalty for an uncontrolled tire. He got back inside the top-10 by Lap 292.
Harvick, the season’s other seven-race winner, finished second, and Truex wound up third. With the third-place finish, Truex brought his points tally high enough to also secure advancement to round two of the playoffs. Truex became the third driver to claim a second-round birth.
“Thanks to all you guys back in Denver working your butts off to bring these fast cars,” Truex said. “We’re moving on; that’s the name of the game, and hopefully, we’ll get the win when we really need it.”
Keselowski also is secured a round-two slot with his win from a week ago at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
After losing the race lead to Busch for the final time, Keselowski dropped to ninth by the checkered flag.
FEDERATED AUTO PARTS 400 RESULTS
1. Kyle Busch, No. 18 Toyota
2. Kevin Harvick, No. 4 Ford
3. Martin Truex Jr., No. 78 Toyota
4. Chase Elliott, No. 9 Chevrolet
5. Aric Almirola, No. 10 Ford
6. Austin Dillon, No. 3 Chevrolet
7. Kyle Larson, No. 42 Chevrolet
8. Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 Chevrolet
9. Brad Keselowski, No. 2 Ford
10. Clint Bowyer, No. 14 Ford
11. Erik Jones, No. 20 Toyota
12. Alex Bowman, No. 88 Chevrolet
13. Ricky Stenhouse Jr., No. 17 Ford
14. Joey Logano. No. 22 Ford
15. Ryan Newman, No. 31 Chevrolet
16. Denny Hamlin, No. 11 Toyota
17. Daniel Suarez, No. 19 Toyota
18. Kurt Busch, No. 41 Ford
19. Ryan Blaney, No. 12 Ford
20. William Byron, No. 24 Chevrolet
21. Jamie McMurray, No. 1 Chevrolet
22. Paul Menard, No. 21 Ford
23. David Ragan, No. 38 Ford
24. Michael McDowell, No. 34 Ford
25. Matt Kenseth, No. 6 Ford
26. Cole Custer, No. 51 Ford
27. Darrell Wallace Jr., No. 43 Chevrolet
28. Ty Dillon, No. 13 Chevrolet
29. A.J. Allmendinger, No. 47 Chevrolet
30. Chris Buescher, No. 37 Chevrolet
31. Regan Smith, No. 95 Chevrolet
32. Corey LaJoie, No. 72 Chevrolet
33. Ross Chastain, No. 15 Chevrolet
34. Matt DiBenedetto, No. 32 Ford
35. Joey Gase, No. 00 Chevrolet
36. Landon Cassill, No. 99 Chevrolet
37. Jeffrey Earnhardt, No. 96 Toyota
38. Alon Day, No. 23 Toyota
39. Timmy Hill, No. 66 Toyota
40. Gray Gaulding, No. 52 Ford
UP NEXT: The first three-race round of the 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series playoffs will conclude with the Sept. 30 running of the Bank of America Roval 400. The race will be the first on the road course-oval hybrid. After the race, the playoff cast will be whittled from 16 to 12 drivers.
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