Kyle Busch survived NASCAR Overtime on Saturday at Richmond Raceway to score his 46th career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series win. Busch, driving the No. 18 M&M’s Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing, started 32nd on the leaderboard and quickly drove his way to the front of the field. The 32-year old credited the No. 18 pit crew for their fast pit stops all night long that put the M&Ms Toyota in position for the win.
“All these guys – everybody on this whole M&M Camry, they do a great job for me. I can’t say enough about Adam Stevens (crew chief) and my guys and the pit crew tonight,” said Busch after the race. “They won this race for us. They got us off pit road first those last two times that we came down for tires and got us where we needed to be. I can’t say enough about this Toyota Camry. It was just awesome today. Out front all day long. This is really cool for as good as the crowd was tonight. Really cool out here in Richmond, really chilly but otherwise it was a fantastic evening so hopefully everybody enjoyed that.”
The driver from Las Vegas now has 187 career victories across all three of NASCAR’s National Series following this win at Richmond. The series veteran has three wins, seven top five and eight top 10 finishes through nine completed Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races in 2018.
With the win on Saturday, Busch has won three NASCAR premier series races in a row and will look to score his fourth consecutive win at Talladega Superspeedway next Sunday. Talladega, a track where Busch won at back in 2008, is a track that is highly unpredictable and can produce a surprise race winner.
“It’s definitely cool we’ve won three in a row. We did it a couple years ago and now I don’t know if you can shoot for four in a row,” Busch continued after the race in victory lane. “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. Our guys are amazing. They’re awesome every week and I love racing with these guys and Joe Gibbs Racing.”
Chase Elliott posted a runner-up finish in the No. 9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet and will leave the 0.75-mile oval with his second top-five finish of the season. The Georgia native started second on the leaderboard and finished seventh in stage one. At the end of stage two, Elliott sat 15th.
“Yeah, I mean I think it’s been a steady work in progress,” said Elliott after the race. “We certainly have work to do and we know that. The results tonight, I don’t feel like… I think if we looked at the results we would feel okay about it, but I think in reality we shouldn’t feel okay about it. We need to go back and really focus on getting better.”
Still looking to score his first career win, Elliott goes into Talladega next weekend with an average finish of 16.3 this season.
Denny Hamlin rounded out the top-three finishers at Richmond and came into the night as one of the favorites. The driver from Virginia led six circuits of the race and scored his fifth top 10 finish of the year.
Drivers Joey Logano and Kevin Harvick rounded out the top-five finishers on Saturday. Both Logano and Harvick led a combined total of 100 laps in their Ford machines.
Other than the two stage breaks at lap 100 and 200, there were no yellow flags for an on-track incident until 47 laps remaining. The first yellow flag was displayed on lap 353 for a three car incident involving Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Cole Whitt and Ryan Blaney. Each of these drivers involved were able to continue with their night.
Fluid brought out the yellow on lap 367 and an on-track incident involving David Ragan brought out the next one on lap 389. The final caution came out on lap 395 for an incident involving Ryan Newman dropping fluid on the track and sending the race into NASCAR Overtime. Newman went to the garage and finished 37th on the leaderboard.
The next race will be at Talladega Superspeedway on Sunday, April 29. The Geico 500 will air live on FOX and MRN at 2:00 p.m. ET.