Iracingone Rewind:/I Richmond

Inside Line
Before an estimated crowd of 107,000, Kurt Busch won the Chevy Rock & Roll 400, posting his 14th NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series victory. Complete Results | Lap Summary

Keys to Victory Lane
Busch dominated the race and again showed the power of Roush Racing, returning to his championship form of a year ago and erasing the disappointment he had in last year's September Richmond race.

Highway to Hell
He managed to smile, and some would say a sarcastic grin at that, but Jamie McMurray's chance to make the "Chase" ended on the inside wall of the backstretch after getting shoved by Tony Raines, who admitted afterward he indeed made contact but that it wasn't intentional "nor his fault."

Zero to Hero
Terry Labonte has been the best thing to happen to Joe Gibbs Racing this side of Tony Stewart. The veteran turned in yet another stellar run in the No. 11, partially erasing the memory of the debacle that was Jason Leffler. Unfortunately for Gibbs, it will be Texas Terry's last ride in the car this season

Hero to Zero
Jeff Gordon couldn't have had a worse night at arguably the biggest race of his career. After weeks of pressure and anticipation things would turn around, Gordon's bad handling car finally found the outside retaining wall and with a "That's it for me" response on his radio, the four-time NEXTEL Cup champ was relegated to playing the spoiler role during the "Chase."

Rookie of the Race
Both freshmen did pretty well Saturday night. Kyle Busch followed up his Fontana win with another top-five finish and kept his Hendrick Motorsports Chevy upfront most of the night. Travis Kvapil started a career-best third and went on to finish 11th. Getting the 77 car turned around is a priority for Penske and hopefully for Kvapil and his fans, he'll still be the driver in 2006.

Pit Stops
  • Kurt Busch captured his 14th career NEXTEL Cup Series win in 176th start, and first at Richmond Int'l Raceway. This was also his second top-10 finish in 10 starts at RIR. Detailed Active Driver Wins
  • Busch won the 85th race for car owner Jack Roush. Detailed Active Car Owner Wins
  • Busch became the 83rd driver to win a race from the fifth starting position. Starting Position Facts
  • Busch has now led the most laps in the the three races in which he has scored a victory at this season. Tonight he led five times for 185 laps.
  • Roush now has five drivers in "The Chase" of which have combined to win 11 of the first 26 races.
  • Ford now has 11 victories in 2005 - again all with Roush - and 564 overall.
  • Matt Kenseth (second) captured his seventh top-10 finish in 12 races at Richmond. His finish was also his fourth consecutive top 10 dating back to Michigan.
  • Greg Biffle's third-place finish was his best in seven starts at Richmond.
  • Kyle Busch has now finished fourth in both of his starts at RIR.
  • Rusty Wallace capped his career off at Richmond by notching his 22nd top-five and 30th top-10 finish in his 44th and final race.
  • Jeremy Mayfield (sixth) scored his seventh top-10 finish in 24 starts at Richmond.
  • Kasey Kahne followed up his May win at Richmond with a seventh-place finish. He led one time for six laps.
  • Terry Labonte (eighth) captured his 28th top-five finish at Richmond in his 54th start. He also led for seven laps adding to his track total of 663.
  • Polesitter Kevin Harvick (10th) led eight times for 167 laps and posted the fastest lap of the race on lap 101 (124.298 mph).
  • The 400-lap race saw 23 lead changes among 10 drivers and an average speed of 98.567 mph.
  • 12 caution flags were thrown for 60 laps. The track record is 15 - 5/3/03.

    Lug Nuts
  • Sponsor Jim Beam wants to use Robby Gordon as a spokesperson for "responsible driving?" You're kidding us, right?
  • At least Gordon has company in the "Ruining a Driver's Chance at Winning the NEXTEL Cup Championship" category. After Gordon took out Jeremy Mayfield and Tony Stewart in last year's first "Chase" race at New Hampshire, Raines joined the ranks of spoiler Saturday night with his punt of Jamie McMurray. Congrats guys on a well-deserved award.
  • The Hendrick Empire went down in a heap almost all at once when Gordon, Jimmie Johnson and then Brian Vickers all found themselves in the garage area at the same time. What started out as a Hendrick-Roush battle for supremecy at the beginning of the year has turned into a Roush landslide.
  • Jamie McMurray seemed awful perky for a guy who was just rammed out of the championship season. The cynics among us think that McMurray was happy that car owner Chip Ganassi will miss the "Chase," since there's no love lost between the two over their contract squabble. Hmmm.
  • Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. are out of the "Chase." The NASCAR world must end, right? Don't think so. Having Mark Martin and Rusty Wallace in the championship season is almost a better story and besides, last time we checked the 8 and 24 cars will still be in every race of the last ten.
  • No trucks at Richmond next year, but rumors have one added at Chicagoland Speedway now in conjunction with the IRL weekend.
  • Johnny Sauter must have a magnet in his front bumper the way he gets attached to so many other cars.
  • Admit it. It's been nice having Michael Waltrip so quiet the last few weeks.

    Garage Talk
    "The Daytona 500 doesn't guarantee you anything. You never know how your season is going to go. I thought we were going to do much better than we did."
    -Jeff Gordon

    "Everybody wanted to be in it, but we gave it everything we had and we'll just keep trying."
    -Kevin Harvick on RCR not being in "The Chase".

    "I'm glad it's over with, or almost over with. I'm happy that were tenth, even though we should be first. We want to be first. We got ten more races to prove that."
    -Ryan Newman

    "The car was no good. You know, thankfully we had a strong start to the season where this last month we really didn't have to race our way in."
    -Jimmie Johnson

    "Jack Roush was yelling at me on the radio at the end, ‘Get away from the 8 car.' I was just having fun racing him."
    -Carl Edwards

    "My car was like it was possessed after that crash. It had a mind of its own and it was driving where it wanted."
    -Dale Earnhardt Jr.

    "Anybody know if the Gamecocks beat Georgia tonight?"
    -Earnhardt Jr. on lap 315 during a caution.

    "So many times, this track has bit us, whether we were leading and the fan belts fell off, or we had a lug nut get stuck. Every time we come to Richmond, we have so much fun. This was a great win for our team."
    -Kurt Busch

    Fan Forum (What they are saying on the Message Boards)
    "No RCR, DEI, Yates, Ganassi, only 1 Hendrick car in the Chase...maybe they should ALL merge with Roush...what a joke."

    "Matt Kenseth is not going away. Dont for a second take your eyes off him. He'll sneak right in there and steal that Cup."

    "I'm Still shocked Kurt Busch wants to drive the #2"

    "Another call for SMALLER FIELD SIZE...I understand the need for entertaining drivers. I like seeing Robby Gordon treat each event as his personal demolition derby. However, if you cannot be competitive, you shouldnt be on the track. Since these morons are able to qualify, we need to make it so there isnt ROOM for them to qualify."


    "Robby=Road course ONLY"

    RacingOne Rating
    On a scale of one to ten golden guitars, we'll give Saturday night's Chevy Rock & Roll 400 an eight. There was no way the race could have lived up to last year's dramatic conclusion, but there was still plenty to watch and get excited about. Without the "Chase" implications, Kurt Busch would have completely "stunk up the show." But the scramble to get into the playoffs, Gordon's problems, Hendrick's disaster and McMurray's send off made for exciting and interesting viewing. So we kick off the 2005 championship season in, yuk, Loudon. (Come on, put Bristol or Daytona in the "Chase.") We'll see who Robby Gordon takes out of contention this year in next Sunday's Sylvania 300.
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