The Associated Press
Hank Kurz Jr.
RICHMOND, Va.–Kyle Busch raced to his third-straight victory, celebrated, and then got yelled at by his boss.
Joe Gibbs, it seems, hadn’t seen Busch climb into the crowd to acknowledge what appeared to be friendly fan.
“You did?” Gibbs said. “Oh my gosh! You should not do that. You run a risk.”
For Busch, though, it seemed appropriate, coming at the end of a week marked by ample discussion of his dust-up with Dale Earnhardt Jr. at Richmond a decade earlier.
That race, many believe, is what cemented Busch’s reputation as NASCAR’s newest on-track villian.
“It was the 10-year anniversary of you know what,” Busch explained and he could see fans wearing his gear.
On the track, Busch pulled away on a restart in a two-lap overtime sprint to the finish in NASCAR’s Cup Series.
Busch, who started 32nd but quickly worked his way into contention, outran Chase Elliott and teammate Denny Hamlin for his fifth career victory at Richmond Raceway, the most among active drivers.
The victory was his 46th overall and came from the deepest starting spot in the field of his career.
It also is the deepest starting position for a winner at Richmond, surpassing Clint Bowyer, who started 31st in 2008.
The points leader also matched Kevin Harvick’s three-race winning streak from earlier in the season.
“Pats on the back, everybody,” Busch said on his radio after taking the checkered flag.
The race went more than 350 laps with the only cautions coming after stages one and two, both won by defending race champion Joey Logano, who wound up finishing fourth overall.
It remained clean until Ryan Blaney and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. crashed on Lap 353, bringing out the first on-track yellow.
Busch took the lead after the next caution, brought out by the smoking car of Ryan Newman, when he was running second to Truex heading onto pit road and got out first.
He also beat Hamlin and Harvick off the line on a restart with six laps to go, and then never let anyone contend when the race went back to green for the final time on Lap 400.
‘The pit crew tonight, they won this race for us,” Busch said.
“They got us off pit road first those last two times and got us where we needed to be.”
The three-race winning streak is the second of Busch’s career.
The first came in 2015, when he won his only championship.