Jeff Gordon saw his 2.5 second lead in the closing laps of the Crown Royal 400 at Richmond International Raceway evaporate when Elliott Sadler blew a tire and slid across the track. He limped around to pit road, but left debris on the track, forcing a caution.
Gordon, Jeff Burton, Kevin Harvick, Juan Montoya, and Ryan Newman stayed out because green flag pit stops had been completed right before Sadler’s spin. Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin, Martin Truex Jr, and others came down pit road for fresh tires.
Busch methodically made his way up to second behind Gordon before the caution flew when David Ragan and Sam Hornish Jr got together, sending Hornish spinning into the inside wall. On the restart, Gordon chose the inside lane, with Busch starting inside the outside lane.
Busch surged passed Gordon on the restart, and cleared him in turns 3 and 4. He drove away from Gordon, and won the race by 0.755 seconds.
Top 5: Busch, Gordon, Harvick, Burton, and Carl Edwards.
Juan Montoya, Martin Truex Jr, Ryan Newman, Marcos Ambrose, and Jimmie Johnson rounded out the top 10.
Notables: Denny Hamlin (11th), Clint Bowyer (12th), Matt Kenseth (13th), Kurt Busch (18th), Jamie McMurray (19th), Brian Vickers (20th), Kasey Kahne (21st), Greg Biffle (22nd), Tony Stewart (23rd), Mark Martin (25th), and Dale Earnhardt Jr (32nd).
Dale Earnhardt Jr seemed to have a strong car early in the race. He passed cars and was running in the top 15 before the first round of pit stops. But after, he started to struggle and was lapped. Shortly after that, he made contact with Paul Menard and Bobby Labonte, which cut down his tire. He lost three laps and was never able to make them up. He finished 32nd.
Mark Martin had a very quiet day. He ran mid-pack early, but managed to recover. But, a late pit road speeding penality killed any chance of posting a decent finish. He wound up 25th at the end of the day.