|Busch leads Roush sweep at Richmond|
September 10, 2005 (Richmond, VA)
By Linda Przygodski - Motorsport.com
Kurt Busch led a race high 185 laps on his way to his third win of the season. Busch first took the lead on lap 155 but swapped the top spot several times with Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch before grabbing the lead for the final time on lap 323 to earn his 14th career win.
"This is something we've been looking forward to for many races at Richmond," said Busch. "We wanted to get a good finish because it has bit us so many times. I've respected this place because it's tough to win and we've had everything go wrong to take our chances away.
"But, tonight we made great pit stops, smooth on the gas and smooth on the brakes. With the way we've been running this year on short tracks, this finally gets us a win on all the short tracks. It's a great feeling."
Busch came back from early fender damage to gain his best ever result at Richmond and his first short track win of the 2005.
"We've saved our stuff just like last year,"said the defending series champion. "It is going to be a busy September and October with all of our testing. Look out, Kurt Busch is running. We're having a great time."
Matt Kenseth was second which secured his place in this year's top-ten field.
"I'm relieved," Kenseth said. "I'm more than relieved; I'm excited. I'm excited for this whole DeWalt team; they've done such a good job. They're the reason that we're here. We were way behind two months ago. We just kept digging and digging.
"They kept giving me better race cars. I'm real excited, I feel like we have some momentum."
Greg Biffle was third, scoring his ninth top-three result of the season.
"It was a pretty good run for us," said Biffle. "The car ran really well it was the best car I have ever had here. I am pretty excited about running this good here. The car doesn't have any marks on it, so we are going to take it to Loudon.
"I am excited to be in the 'Chase'."
The Roush trio makes it the first time since 1997 that there has been a 1-2- 3 sweep of the top spots by one team; Hendrick Motorsports did it that year at the Daytona 500.
Kyle Busch and Rusty Wallace complete the top ten.
"That was a pretty good run for us," Wallace said. "I had a solid car. Track position was important. We decided to stay out with 70 to go and that worked out good for us. We had a good handling car all night long and that was it."
Kevin Harvick started on the pole and looked promising leading 167 laps throughout the event, but his car fell off a bit at the end and relegated him to a 10th place finish. Harvick's championship bid was undermined by his ill-handing race car, he will end the 26-race pre-season in 14th.
Many 'Chase' contenders had a disappointing night at Richmond. Jeff Gordon's hopes of making the 'Chase' officially came to an end at lap 213. Gordon was running in the back of the pack due to handling issues when the No. 24 Chevy smacked the wall.
Gordon finished 30th, this will be the first time since 1993 in his rookie season that Gordon has not finished in the top ten in points.
"It was going to be a long night no matter what," said Gordon. "We didn't have the car capable of getting in it. It was a disappointing night; it's been a disappointing season."
Elliott Sadler also had issues that took him out of contention, the No. 09 of Johnny Sauter got into the rear of Sadler turning him on lap 114. Sadler's team worked to make repairs on the car and garnered him a 17th place result. Sadler just misses the 'Chase' field by 66 points.
"We had a lot of contact tonight, but I am not going to hang my head," Sadler said. "We just didn't make the 'Chase' it's not the end of the world."
Jamie McMurray looked poised for a spot in the 'Chase' until lap 364. On the restart, the lapped car of Tony Raines made contact with McMurray sending him into the No. 21 Ford of Ricky Rudd and then into the inside wall.
Raines was penalized five laps on pit road for rough driving but it was little comfort to McMurray whose night was over. He wound up 40th and fell to 13th in points.
"I'm not really sure what happened to me," McMurray commented. "I guess the No. 37 rain into me after the caution came out. I don't know. He was in the way all night. He just couldn't get out of the way. He tried, but I don't know what he was racing for or how many laps he was down even. I was desperate trying to make moves at the end, trying to get to Ryan (Newman).
"I caused the wreck, no doubt it was my fault, but it's kind of crazy for a lapped car to stay in your way."
Jimmie Johnson may have been locked into the 'Chase' coming into Richmond but his night did not go as planned. The No. 48 Chevy was horrible all evening but the crescendo of his night came after teammate Jeff Gordon brought out the caution on lap 213. Under yellow, Johnson got a right rear flat tire and spun his ride.
He finished 25th and fell to 4th in rankings.
"The car was no good," Johnson commented. "Thankfully, we had a strong start to the season where the last month we really didn't have to race our way in. It wouldn't have worked out for us."
All five Roush Racing teammates wind up making the 'Chase'. The final field is Tony Stewart, Greg Biffle, Rusty Wallace, Jimmie Johnson, Kurt Busch, Mark Martin, Jeremy Mayfield, Carl Edwards, Matt Kenseth and Ryan Newman.
"We're ready for next week," leader Stewart said. "I don't feel like we are lacking anything, or waiting on anything. I've been waiting for next week for quite a long time now. I'm glad next week we finally get a chance to get it started, and get on with what is really important."
There were 12 cautions for 60 laps and 10 lead changes among 23 drivers.