The victory was Kyle Busch’s third of the year, his third at Richmond and his 24th in the series. Matt Kenseth finished third, followed by Brad Keselowski and Kevin Harvick. Joey Logano, Mark Martin, rookie Michael McDowell, Jason Keller and Jason Leffler completed the top 10.
By Reid Spencer
Sporting News NASCAR Wire Service
(May 1, 2009)
RICHMOND, Va. — It may be too early to call the run for the NASCAR Nationwide Series championship a two-man race, but Kyle Busch and Carl Edwards continued to assert their dominance Friday night at Richmond International Raceway.
In a five-lap run to the finish after the 10th caution of the race, Busch held off Edwards by .584 seconds in the Lipton Tea 250 and extended his lead in the championships standings to 82 points over second-place Edwards.
“It’s fun here at Richmond — I love winning here at Richmond,” said Busch, who will celebrate his 24th birthday on Saturday. “We’re in championship form. We’ve just got to keep digging.”
The victory was Busch’s third of the year, his third at Richmond and his 24th in the series. Matt Kenseth finished third, followed by Brad Keselowski and Kevin Harvick. Joey Logano, Mark Martin, rookie Michael McDowell, Jason Keller and Jason Leffler completed the top 10.
In Edwards’ view, the difference in the race was Busch’s performance on the restarts.
“He smoked me on the restarts,” Edwards said. “I did everything I could. That car that he’s got there just runs really well on those restarts. I could probably do a little bit better job, but I did the best I could on that last one, and I couldn’t get near him.
“But it’s a great racecar, and even though it’s second, it’s still a decent points day, and it’s good to be this strong here at Richmond.”
The seventh caution of the race, called on Lap 203 when Morgan Shepherd’s Chevrolet stopped on the track, bunched the field and put all the lead-lap cars back on the same pit sequence. Shortly after the restart on Lap 209, a broken track bar ruined a stellar run by Mike Bliss, who had opened a lead of more than five seconds during a long green-flag run early in the race. He finished 33rd.
Edwards won the race off pit road on Lap 205 but had to fend off a persistent challenge from Busch before Ken Butler’s crash on Lap 220 caused the eighth caution of the night. Keselowski came to the pits for right-side tires on Lap 224.
After Busch grabbed the lead from Edwards on Lap 230 and began to pull away, contact between Keselowski and Leffler on Lap 233 ignited a four-car accident that also involved Jeff Burton and Brian Scott. The field restarted on Lap 243, with Busch leading Edwards, Kenseth, McDowell and Keselowski to the stripe.
The 10th caution of the race, for Kenny Wallace’s spin on Lap 243, set up the final run to the finish.