RICHMOND, Va. – Finally, things went Kyle Busch’s way Friday night.
Given the number of times Busch has seen big leads disappear in Busch Series races this season, even a growing set of favorable circumstances did not allow him to take anything for granted.
Even when Matt Kenseth ran him down for the lead and then spun out laps later; or when a late-race spin by Derrike Cope slowed the advance of a group of fast contenders who were on fresher tires.
Busch, who led four times for 227 of 252 laps, held off Carl Edwards by 0.868 seconds to win the Emerson Radio 250 at Richmond International Raceway for his second series win of the season and ninth of his career.
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“These guys work way too hard and we’re great with winning race cars,” Busch said. “We had two great chances at Bristol and California but we didn’t get it done.”
Asked if he felt somewhat redeemed with his performance, Busch said, “It’s halfway payback because we want (a win) in the Cup series.”
At Bristol, NASCAR penalized Busch for a commitment line violation while he was running second and pitting under caution. NASCAR later admitted it made a mistake.
Last week at California, Busch lost his lead with seven laps remaining to Jeff Burton, who had stopped later for fresher tires.
Kenseth appeared to have the only car capable of keeping Busch at bay. He ran Busch down for the lead on Lap 138, but spun on Lap 160 as he was trying to avoid lapped traffic.
“Kenseth had the car to beat today. I knew he did,” Busch said. “Our car was right there with him. I didn’t expect that. It was great to have the chance to race with him.”
Kenseth said he approached lapped cars so quickly, he had no choice but to slow, then eventually spun out.
“I had to turn the wheel a little but and we just spun out. It was hard to recover. We just couldn’t get it done,” Kenseth said. “It was a lot of fun. I wish we hadn’t of spun and had a shot at (Busch). It was a lot of fun racing up there tonight.”
Ryan Newman finished third, Kenseth was fourth and Mike Bliss was fifth. Edwards continues to hold a large lead in the driver standings.
Richard Childress Racing’s No. 29 team continues to lead the owner standings, by 40 points over Edwards’ No. 60 team.
The race was slowed eight times by caution for 40 laps. There were six lead changes among three different drivers.