RICHMOND, Va. — Clint Bowyer won the race off pit road with about 28 laps to go Friday night and easily went on to his fifth career NASCAR Busch Series victory.
Matt Kenseth dominated much of the latter part of the race, but pitted along with the other leaders after the final caution flew on lap 223. Carl Edwards and David Ragan assumed the top two spots by staying out, but their stay in front didn’t last long.
Kenseth came out fifth, behind Bowyer and Jeff Burton, after a mishap with the jack on Kenseth’s right front tire. Edwards and Ragan faded, but Bowyer remained strong, taking the lead with 19 laps to go and winning by 1.483 seconds.
“Good pit stop there at the end,” Bowyer said. “The guys got the care where it needed to be. The guys have been digging deep, and I’m going to keep digging for them.”
It was his second win this season, and also was the fourth Busch Series victory in a row at Richmond for Richard Childress Racing. Kevin Harvick, who finished fourth, won the last three in a row.
“I wouldn’t have dreamed I would have won until that last pit stop,” Bowyer said. After he took the lead, “I was thinking, ’It’s mine to screw up this time.’”
Burton was third, followed by Harvick and Kyle Busch.
Kenseth appeared to have the race in hand until J.J. Yeley spun on lap 222, bringing out the seventh and final caution and erasing a lead of more than two seconds.
It also sent the leaders to the pits, where Bowyer’s crew made a tire pressure adjustment that made him stronger at the finish; too strong for Kenseth.
“That last long run we got a little better and they got a little bit worse and we were able to make some hay,” Kenseth said.
Then came the mistake that cost him.
“It was a typical Richmond race, I think, for us,” Kenseth said. “We ran pretty good most of the night, but not good enough to win.”
Burton, who relinquished the lead to Kenseth on the 167th lap, also saw his car lose strength while the race neared its conclusion.
“We just got dialed out there at the end,” he said. “It’s great to be disappointed with third.”
The race at Richmond International Raceway was a short one for two of the highest profile competitors, Denny Hamlin and Indy Racing League star Sam Hornish Jr.
Hornish completed just 16 laps before an accident and finished last.