Richmond: Petty Enterprises race report

Clint Bowyer picked up his second career Cup victory in Saturday night's Crown Royal presents the Dan Lowry 400 at the Richmond International Raceway (RIR). Kyle Busch brought his car home in second place. He will take the over the point's ...

Clint Bowyer picked up his second career Cup victory in Saturday night's Crown Royal presents the Dan Lowry 400 at the Richmond International Raceway (RIR). Kyle Busch brought his car home in second place. He will take the over the point's standings heading into this weekend's race in Darlington, S.C.

The race was highlighted by two late race cautions that spoiled the chances of two front-running cars. Hometown driver Denny Hamlin and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. both saw the checkered flag slip away due to misfortune. The two drivers would combine to lead a total of 396 out of the 400 laps.

Bobby Labonte and the No. 43 Speed Racer/Cheerios Dodge team finished a very respectable 13th in Saturday night's event. As has been the norm this year, Labonte's crew used hard work to give the 2000 Sprint Cup champion a car that he could use to race hard. Shortly after the green flag fell, Labonte radioed that the car would not turn in the middle of the corner and he lost a lap early on. Crew chief Jeff Meendering began to adjust the car on the following pit stops and by lap 180 Labonte was one of the five fastest cars on the track.

Good pit stops and a fast car usually mesh well with a talented driver. This was the case as Labonte got his lap back on a lap 260 caution. Around lap 313, Labonte was the fastest car on the track and he was carving his way through the field with the skill of a surgeon. Had it not been for the late race cautions, Labonte could have driven into the top-10 because his car was much better than many of the cars on the track on long runs. However, the 13th place finish will give the No. 43 team a shot in the arm as the series enters the second quarter of the season. As a result, Labonte moved up four spots and is now 18th in the point's standings.

"We weren't very good at the start of the race," said Labonte. "The car just felt completely different than it did in practice and you have to attribute that to the race being at night, whereas practice was under the sun. It was an impound race so the car was basically the same. But we worked hard and came out with a top-15. That was a decent night for us."

Kyle Petty and the No. 45 Paralyzed Veterans of America Dodge team finished 27th in the event. The veteran racer was making his 53rd start at RIR. He used his experience to get the most out of a car that was not driving the way he would have liked. His solid finish moved Petty up three spots in the point's standings.

"I agree with my teammate that the cars were just way different from practice to the race," sounded Petty. We were happy with the car in practice, but it seemed like I jumped in a different car tonight. With these cars, once you get away from the setup that you need, you have to swing big on your adjustments. We made some big adjustments and the car was okay at the end."

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will visit the Darlington (S.C.) Raceway next weekend for a Saturday night event. The race will be broadcast on FOX, the Motor Racing Network (MRN) and Sirius Satellite Radio channel 128.

-credit: pe

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Bobby Labonte , Kyle Petty , Clint Bowyer , Denny Hamlin , Kyle Busch