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NASCAR Sprint Cup Series

Busch wins third consecutive Richmond spring race



Richmond, VA (Sports Network) - Kyle Busch continues to master the Richmond International Raceway during the spring time.

Busch conserved enough fuel and easily held off teammate Denny Hamlin in the closing laps of Saturday's Crown Royal 400 to win the spring race at Richmond for the third straight year.

He put on a dominating performance by leading 235 of 400 laps.

"This race tonight was a good one; we had a really good car," said Busch, who collected his second Sprint Cup Series victory of the season and the 21st of his career. "We knew if we could get through traffic a little bit better than [Hamlin], then we would have the shot at the win. We did that tonight."

Busch became the first driver to win three spring races in a row at Richmond since Richard Petty did it nearly four decades ago. Petty won seven straight races at Richmond from 1970-73.

Busch's win at Richmond comes as an early birthday present. He will turn 26 years old on Monday.

Hamlin crossed the line 1.8 seconds behind Busch to give Joe Gibbs Racing a 1-2 finish. It was Hamlin's first top-five run in a Sprint Cup race since he won at Texas last November. He led 38 laps in this race.

"It was very important for us to have a smooth race and have nothing go wrong," Hamlin said. "We just got beat by our teammate today. We were so equal, but he was a little bit better on restarts. He was able to get out there and set his pace. He just drove a great race."

Hamlin, who hails from nearby Chesterfield, VA, was attempting a weekend sweep at his hometrack. He won his charity race on Thursday and the Nationwide event the following day.

Kasey Kahne, who continues to recuperate from recent knee surgery, turned in an impressive performance with a third-place run.

"It was a good night," said Kahne, who led 29 laps. "We've had three bad [races] in a row, so to come back and get a solid top-five and lead some laps is good."

Busch, Hamlin and Kahne drove the final 100 laps around the 0.75-mile track without pitting.

Roush Fenway Racing teammates David Ragan and Carl Edwards rounded out the top-five.

Clint Bowyer took the sixth spot, followed by A.J. Allmendinger, Jimmie Johnson, who won two weeks ago at Talladega, Tony Stewart and Brian Vickers.

The Richmond race featured eight cautions, including one for a nine-car accident on the backstretch on lap 301. Bowyer and Matt Kenseth bumped into each other, with Kenseth loosing control and triggering the incident. Jeff Gordon was among those caught up in the wreck. Gordon spun and then slammed hard into the inside wall. He finished 39th.

"It took the wind out of me a little bit there," Gordon said. "I seem to find the worst angles of walls. As hard as I hit on the left side, I must of hit the corner of that inside wall. I wish there was a SAFER [Steel and Foam Energy Reduction] barrier there."

Ryan Newman and Juan Pablo Montoya, the pole sitter, tangled twice in the race. Montoya made contact with the wall after Newman got into the back of him on lap 103.

Montoya retaliated shortly after when he bumped Newman and turned him around. After the race, Newman headed to the NASCAR hauler to complain to race officials.

"To retaliate the way [Montoya] did, he didn't show that much class," Newman said.

Montoya did not comment on the situation.

Edwards remained the points leader. He now holds a nine-point advantage over Johnson. Busch moved up to third in the standings (-30).

05/01 00:29:47 ET

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