RICHMOND, Va. — Kurt Busch pulled away from Kevin Harvick and went into cruise control.
There were less than 30 laps to go, and Busch thought he had the fastest car. “With 20 laps to go, I thought we had it in the bag,” he said Friday night.
Then Denny Hamlin “came out of nowhere,” Busch said, and he had to hold off Hamlin in a stirring side-by-side, last-lap duel to win the Nationwide Series race at Richmond International Raceway in a car owned by his younger brother, Kyle.
“I’ve driven for guys like (Roger) Penske and (Jack) Roush, but when you’re driving for a guy named Busch, you’ve got to be on it, and I was glad to be able to deliver,” Kurt Busch said. “It’s great to get to Victory Lane as a family.”
The win was the first for Kyle Busch Motorsports in the Nationwide Series, and was Kurt Busch’s fourth in the series and first at Richmond.
Kyle Busch greeted his brother before he even climbed from the car, and said it was harder to watch as an owner than to be driving and in control of the outcome.
“This is the most emotional I’ve ever been for a win,” Kyle Busch said. “I’m not sure how we’ll run past this, but I don’t care. Tonight is the night.”
Watching, he said, was harder because Hamlin, his teammate with Joe Gibbs Racing in the Sprint Cup Series, closed in and then pulled inside on the last lap,
He said he thought about nudging Kurt Busch on the final lap, but considered that it was his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate’s team, and buying goodwill might be wiser.
“One of these days, when Kurt’s gaining on me and I could use a break at the end, maybe he’ll give it to me,” Hamlin said.
For complete results, see the Scoreboard on Page C4.
Martin wins pole at Richmond
RICHMOND, Va — Mark Martin watched and waited as 44 other drivers made two qualifying laps around Richmond International Raceway on Friday night, then went out and beat them all.
Martin turned a fast lap of 128.327 mph on the 0.75-mile, D-shaped oval, to nudge Carl Edwards to the outside of the front row and win the pole for tonight’s Sprint Cup race. It’s Martin’s fifth career pole at Richmond, and comes 31 years after his first.
“As far as I’m concerned, this is just as big a deal,” he said.
Edwards’ top lap of 128.290 had hung on through 17 drivers before Martin bumped him into the No. 2 position. Kevin Harvick will start third, followed by A.J. Allmendinger and Kyle Busch.
Points leader Greg Biffle will start 28th.
For the complete starting lineup, see Page C4.
Newman/Haas Racing has withdrawn its entry for the Indianapolis 500.
General manager Brian Lisles told The Associated Press the team ran out of time to put together a proper program for the May 27 race. Newman/Haas was on the official entry list released last week, but did not announce a driver.
The withdrawal puts the Indy 500 in danger of not having a full 33-car field.
Although there were 34 official entrants on the initial list, there were just 30 announced driver-team combinations.
Michael Shank Racing announced this week it would field a car for Jay Howard in the race, but does not have an engine deal yet. Shank would be the 33rd entry.