Toyota Owners 400 – Richmond Raceway

In a word: Aggressive

Pole-sitter Martin Truex Jr led the field to green for the first night race in the regular season. Both Stages 1 and 2 had a little bit of everything that NASCAR fans love most – beating, bumping, side-slamming, and impressive saves. Having no cautions in either segment allowed for what fans have been wanting lately: uninterrupted battling for position. Stage 1 went to Joey Logano in the #22 Ford. Despite falling back on the restart, he rallied when it mattered most and took Stage 2 as well.

The final stage was more of the same. Surprisingly, for the amount of action, there were only 4 cautions – all coming in the last 50 laps. First, with 46 to go in the race, Ricky Stenhouse Jr tried to pull a ‘dump and run’ on Ryan Blaney in an effort to gain position. The move backfired when Blaney spun and took out Stenhouse who had pulled out from behind to pass. In an effort to avoid Stenhouse who was also now spinning, Brad Keselowski impressively, and narrowly, squeezed between Stenhouse and the inside wall. In the end, Blaney and Stenhouse sustained damage, but both returned to track and continued the race.

The second caution came a few laps later when Kurt Busch moved up the race track and pinched Jaime McMurray in the #1 Chevrolet into the wall. McMurray took a fairly hard hit that slowed his momentum drastically. As a result, Ryan Newman in the #31, who was right behind him, slammed into the back of the #1. McMurray’s teammate Kyle Larson in the #42 was behind Newman and quickly pulled out of the line to avoid hitting the #31. Since McMurray could only see Larson in his mirror, he assumed the #42 was to blame for the hit. After the caution flag flew, McMurray found Larson and began door-slamming the #42 to express his displeasure.

With 11 to go, David Ragan cut a tire and abruptly spun around in Turn 3 into the wall. The race no sooner went back green and Ricky Stenhouse Jr brought out the final caution with 3 to go when he got into the wall. The race went into overtime thus resulting in a 2-lap shootout.  Kyle Busch nailed the restart and drove away to his third win in a row this season. Chase Elliott placed 2nd for the 8th time in his career. Denny Hamlin, Joey Logano, and Kevin Harvick rounded out the top 5.

The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series will be at Talladega next weekend. Get your tickets HERE!

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