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Kyle Busch! Happy Birthday, kid...with a rockin' Richmond 400 victory


Kyle Busch! The Richmond 400 winner salutes the crowd on NASCAR win No. 50 (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)



   By Mike Mulhern

   It was a zinger of a race, just what NASCAR needed.
   A Saturday night of feisty, fiery action, capped by Kyle Busch's birthday-celebration victory in a wild and crazy Richmond 400, keeps NASCAR racing on the rebound charge, and seeming to mark a sudden and swift resurgence of the sport that opened the season so sluggishly.
   Kyle Busch took advantage of pit stop problems that bedeviled teammate Denny Hamlin all night, and Busch then sprinted away from Tony Stewart and Jeff Gordon down the stretch to win for the third time this season.
   But the big story was that the sport has now had back-to-back thrillers. The Talladega 500 and Richmond 400 are easily the two best events of the year so far.
   It was Busch's 50th win in NASCAR's top three national touring series, a remarkable run for a man who just turned 24.

Pit road was Denny Hamlin's Achilles Heel (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)

Hamlin dominated much of the race, but too many problems on pit road – including a lengthy stop the last time in, for a balky right-front lug nut – doomed the hometown favorite.
   "You guys are awesome," Busch told his crew after the win, in a special paint job orange Toyota.
   "Man, this is a phenomenal team. We've had four bad weeks. But we don't give up.
   "This is so exciting for me. I hope the team enjoys it as much as I do. This is amazing, it's so cool.
  "This car was good, but it wasn't perfect. So you have to keep giving feedback.
   "Steve (Addington, his crew) made all the right calls – no tires, four tires, whatever.
   "Glad I didn't have to deal with Tony, beause I know he was coming."
   Stewart came close to becoming the newest owner-driver to win, and continues his sparkling rookie season as an owner.
   "We got lucky, to get tires with 50 to go, and then a long green run at the end, which we don't usually get," Stewart said.
   "I think we backed into this. But I think we know what we did wrong."
   The race appeared to be down to Hamlin versus Gordon late in the evening, but Hamlin had problems, and Gordon faded.
  "Guys were making it three-wide getting into turn one on every restart, so it was a wild and crazy night," third-place finisher Jeff Burton said.

   "Everybody feels like if you don't make a move right then, you'll never get another chance. So the restarts were crazy.
   "The intensity level is really high.
   "How good is Kyle Busch? He's pretty darned good. He's awfully good. I just saw that stat of his about most-wins under 25,"
 Burton added.
    The action was incredibly rowdy, even by NASCAR short-track standards.  
   "There's less and less give-and-take every week," Stewart said. "That does makes it hard.
  "Kyle Busch? Nothing surprises me any more. I've watched Kyle all week…when you get on a streak like Kyle is on, that confidence carries a long way. I know he's got good equipment…but we all drive for good race teams."

NASCAR's burnout king, Kyle Busch (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)








Kyle is just getting better

Kyle is just getting better and better. This kid has awesome talent and he is now tempering his driving with patience as he matures. He knows what to do out there and when to do it... yes, excuse me Brian Vickers, but I need to go on and win this race ! He has become my favorite driver out there on the circuit and I think that now he is finally earning the respect of the other drivers. It is all good.

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