Putting Richmond to rest on a Monday

Kyle Busch joined Kevin Harvick as a winner of three consecutive Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races this season with his victory Saturday night at Richmond (Va.) Raceway, now having won at Texas (1.5-mile), Bristol (.533-mile) and Richmond (.75-mile).

Five different winners in nine races isn’t bad, but when two of the five have won six of the nine, well …

Someone asked me Sunday who won the Richmond race and when I told them Kyle Busch their response was, “I bet folks are getting tired of him winning all the races.”

No more so than when Harvick won three straight earlier this year, I said. Imagine when Richard Petty won 10 in a row (in ’67) …

It didn’t hurt that while Busch had to start 32nd, the first half of the season’s ninth race ran caution free, stopped only briefly for the end of the first two stages at laps 100 and 200. Then, of course, all hell seemed to break loose in the second half with four yellow flags inside the final 50 laps. …

A two-lap shootout at the end between Busch (Joe Gibbs Racing No. 18 Toyota) and Martin Truex Jr. (No. 78 Furniture Row Racing Toyota) would have been interesting. Had it not been for that problem with the jack during the No. 78’s pit stop …

Busch now has 46 career Cup wins, the same as NASCAR Hall of Fame member Buck Baker. Every driver in front of Busch in career victories is in the Hall of Fame with the exception of Jeff Gordon, who is on this year’s ballot for ’19 inductees, Jimmie Johnson (still active) and Tony Stewart (eligible for 2020 class).

The voting and announcement for the 2019 class is scheduled for May 23, by the way …

Chase Elliott finished second and now has been a runner-up eight times in his Cup career without a victory, the same number posted by his father before Bill Elliott scored his first win. The elder Elliott’s breakthrough came at Riverside (Calif.) Raceway in 1983 …

Joey Logano (fourth) earned his first two stage wins of 2018 at Richmond; all three Team Penske drivers now have at least one stage win, and the points bonus that comes with it. Busch and Denny Hamlin (JGR), Harvick and Kurt Busch (Stewart-Haas Racing) and Truex also have picked up stage wins this year. Logano was one of a few drivers who appeared to have excellent long-run cars at Richmond. Toss Aric Almirola (SHR) into that group as well …

• Surprising that not a single lap at Richmond was led by a Chevrolet driver. Even more surprising? It’s the third time this season that’s happened.

There are five Chevrolet drivers in the top 16 in points after Richmond, led by Kyle Larson in 10th …

• Looking ahead: Goodyear’s rescheduled tire test for Michigan International Speedway is set for Tuesday and Wednesday (April 24-25). Scheduled to participate in the test are Truex, Alex Bowman (Hendrick Motorsports), Austin Dillon (Richard Childress Racing), Keselowski (Penske) and Almirola.

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