Gordon tired at end

DEAN MCNULTY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:02 PM ET

TORONTO - The story of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Crown Royal 400 at Richmond International Speedway wasn’t so much about how Kyle Busch won, but about how Jeff Gordon lost — again.

There he was, the four-time champion, in front on the final re-start with just five laps to the finish with a car that had toyed with the rest of the field in the latter half of the race.

First Jeff Burton looked like he could take his No. 31 Chevrolet up a notch to pass the No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet.

Nothing doing. Gordon blew his doors off the Richard Childress Racing entry.

Then Kevin Harvick and the No. 29 RCR Chevrolet stuck its nose close up close and personal to Gordon’s bumper. But the HMS Chevrolet sped off, leaving Harvick’s challenge in the dust.

At that point, just prior to the final caution period, it seemed nothing could get in the way of Gordon reaching victory lane of the first time since Texas more than a year ago.

But his decision to not take fresh tires proved fatal, opening the gate for Busch and the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota to make a relatively easy pass for his first Cup win of the 2010 season.

Busch, admittedly, dominated the early laps at Richmond but it appeared he had used up his Toyota before taking new tires on that final stop. The new rubber and Gordon’s old rubber made the difference and won Busch the race.

Pit stops

The good news for the IZOD IndyCar series at Kansas Speedway was that there were 27 cars on the starting grid, the most in a race not held at Indianapolis Motor Speedway since it merged with the Champ Car World series. The bad news is that Ganassi Racing finished 1-2, marking the fourth time in five races that either Ganassi or Penske Racing have won. IndyCar needs to level the playing field ... Montreal’s Alex Tagliani is proving the sceptics — who said he was foolish to be putting his own money in his Indy Car team — wrong so far. ... Expectations that Danica Patrick would find her form at Kansas with its 1.5 mile oval weren’t met. She was the best female, however, finishing in front of Sarah Fisher, Simona De Silvestro and Milka Duno. ... The wait for Juan Pablo Montoya to win on a NASCAR Sprint Cup oval goes on. He keeps threatening in the No. 42 Earnhardt Ganassi Chevrolet, but keeps coming up short ... Formula 1 champion Jenson Button says that it was his living life in the fast lane away from the track that held him back in his years with BAR and Honda.

Finish lines

It was heartbreak again for Canadian Steve Arpin at Richmond, where he finished 25th at the NASCAR Nationwide Bubba Burger 250 in the No. 7 JR Motorsports Chevrolet. That, combined with his 26th place finish the week before at Talladega, likely is not good enough to keep him in the unsponsored Chevy owned by Dale Earnhardt Jr., especially after the guy he replaced — Kelly Bires — brought his No. 10 Toyota home 11th at Richmond ... Word around the Sprint Cup garage is that Rick Hendrick’s new contract for Chad Knaus sets the bar high for other team owners wanting to hold on to their crew chiefs. The deal is rumoured to be in the $1.5 million US mark per season when bonus clauses click in ... Crew chief for the HMS No. 5 Chevrolet, Alan Gustafson, also signed a five-year extension to his contract ... Paul Tracy is so serious about winning at Indianapolis this year he has nearly doubled his exercise program to be in top shape for the 500-mile marathon.

Nuts and bolts

nascar sprint cup

Polesitter Kyle Busch bolted around Jeff Gordon on a restart with just five laps left in the Crown Royal 400 at Richmond International Raceway to bring his No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota across finish line first by a mere .755 seconds on Saturday night.

It was Busch’s 17th victory in the series.

Kevin Harvick finished third behind Gordon, followed by Jeff Burton and Carl Edwards.

Juan Pablo Montoya, Martin Truex Jr., Ryan Newman, Marcos Ambrose and Jimmie Johnson completed the top 10.

“I figured I was going to get the outside (for the last restart),” said Busch, who won the spring race at Richmond for the second year in a row. “All I wanted to do was just get into Turn 1 smooth and get a good launch up off Turn 2 down the backstretch—and then make sure I got into (Turn) 3 without over-driving it.”

Harvick took over the lead in the series standings from Johnson, who trails by 10 points through 10 events.

izod indycar series

Scott Dixon won the Road Runner Turbo Indy 300 for the second consecutive year, giving Chip Ganassi Racing its fourth victory in a row on the 1.5-mile oval. Dixon held off teammate Dario Franchitti over the final six laps after a restart in the first oval race of the season.

Andretti Autosport’s Tony Kanaan improved 11 positions to third and Helio Castroneves was fourth.

Ryan Hunter-Reay, driving the No. 37 IZOD car for Andretti Autosport, moved up 17 spots from his starting position to finish fifth. Pole sitter Ryan Briscoe in the

No. 6 Team Penske car finished sixth and Alex Tagliani was seventh in the No. 77 FAZZT Race Team entry.


Videos

Photos