Camry driver Kyle Busch claimed his first victory of the season in Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) race at Richmond International Speedway.
Busch led the field twice for 32 laps in the 400 lap race.
The win marks the fourth consecutive spring race victory for Busch at Richmond International Raceway. He broke the record of three straight spring race wins previously held by Richard Petty (1971-73).
It was Busch's 20th win driving a Camry and the 42nd win for a Toyota since the start of the 2007 season. Toyota drivers Denny Hamlin (fourth), Clint Bowyer (seventh) and Mark Martin (eighth) also posted top-10 finishes at the .75-mile Virginia short track.
Martin started the race from the pole position and led the first 29 laps of the event.
Other Toyota drivers in the field included Bobby Labonte (17th), Landon Cassill (20th), Joey Logano (24th), Martin Truex Jr. (25th), Travis Kvapil (30th), David Stremme (37th), Joe Nemechek (41st) and Mike Bliss (42nd). Hamlin moved up to third in the unofficial NSCS point standings -- sitting nine points behind leader Greg Biffle. Camry drivers Truex Jr. (fifth), Busch (11th), Bowyer (12th) and Logano (15th) are also in the top-15 in the points
KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 M&M's Brown Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Finishing Position: 1st Why are you so successful at Richmond? "Great team. Great cars. Being aggressive when it matters, but yet trying to save your tires when you can. I don't know where that last caution came from, but that was our saving grace today. I can't say enough about this M&M's Camry. It was a really good race car. Just didn't quite have enough on the long runs like (Tony) Stewart had. He was really, really good and beat us there."
What did you think about the final caution? "It was a gift. Man, I just don't know where it came from or what it was or anything, but it doesn't matter. We came down pit road and Dave Rogers (crew chief) and these guys went to work and gave me a great pit stop -- got me out front. Gave me the lead so I could restart the race how I wanted to. That was the win right there. This thing was so fast if I could abuse the tires, but I knew in long runs you couldn't do that. And we always kind of struggled in the long run, but had a lot in reserve on the short run. So, that was really cool. This M&M's Camry was awesome."
How much did the track change during the race? "It c hanged a little bit, especially the first 20, 25 laps. That's kind of the biggest thing that you go through once you're really putting down rubber and racing on top of rubber is probably the most challenging aspect of these things. And you try to figure out what your car's going to do on restarts and on the long runs. That's the biggest challenge we fight. (Tony) Stewart was phenomenal. I hate it that -- I hate it for him that we had that caution like that. He deserved to win the race, but I can't say enough about us just getting our lucky break there and getting a chance to win and get here in victory lane. It feels good."
How does it feel to win a record-setting four straight spring races at Richmond? "Is that some sort of record? I'm hoping it is. I don't know. It means so much that we're able to come to this place every time and know that we can have a decent car and again, like I said, it wasn't the best car, but it was really good. We just kept fighting, kept ourselves up there in track position, kept the fenders clean, the right side clean -- didn't hit the wall or anything -- so I think it's in relative one piece. We probably get ready here to go to Loudon (New Hampshire)."
Would you have caught Tony Stewart without the last caution? "No. I was losing half a tenth to a tenth on every lap to what Tony (Stewart) was doing up there. He was just so fast. At that point, I kept trying and staying with him there early in that run to get him the pressure and use up his tires a little bit and I could see him doing some of that, but then my car just started getting a little bit too tight in the center and a little bit too loose off where I started losing ground. And once I about couldn't see him anymore, I figured, 'Okay. I'm going to save what I've got here and just try to make it to the end here and see if any of the guys catch me from behind, give me something that I have left that I can reach them with if they get to my back bunker.' No catching Stewart without that caution."
Was it harder to win as a driver or owner this weekend? "It's way harder to win as an owner for sure. I'm standing there on the pit wall and I've got no control over what's going on. I'm ready to come on the radio with Kurt (Busch) and tell him what all he needs to be doing. I'm glad Joe's (Gibbs) buttons broke."
DAVE ROGERS, crew chief, No. 18 M&M's Brown Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Do you think about slumps and hot streaks? "As a crew chief, honestly I don't focus on that. I have to perform a job and my job is to bring the best race cars I can to the race track each and every week, regardless of whether or not people are saying we're in a slump or not. You know, obviously a year ago I think you look back and we were leading the most laps and contending for the win nearly every week at this point in the season. Now we're not living up to that standard. That tells me we've got to work harder, bring better race cars to the race track. I feel this race is an indication that we're turning the corner. I think Kansas was an indication. Kyle came back after Kansas and just gave me phenomenal feedback about what we need in our mile-and-a-half program and that we'd come back to Richmond, a place we think we should run good and we do. I don't think one race makes or breaks a season, but pleased we were able to run up front here. Now looking forward to going to Talladega, Darlington, Charlotte and seeing what we can do at those tracks."
DENNY HAMLIN, No. 11 FedEx Freight Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Finishing Position: 4th How was tonight's race? "We just never really hit it today. We had times where we were competitive and we just got behind on one run. We were extremely loose and just fell outside the top-10 and it's so hard to get that track position back and we just couldn't do it, but our FedEx team did a good job getting us back to the top-five. That was important and obviously a good points day. We come here to win. We want to win. At this point nothing will suit us but a win."
Are you disappointed to not win at your home track? "Yeah, a little disappointed. Definitely not what we were looking for -- we wanted to be a little faster than that. We got off real bad on one run and we went all the way outside the top-10, so we just couldn't recover from that. The track position was just too hard to overcome."
What do you need to work on? "I'd like to say we need to make our cars better, but our teammate just won. We've got to get our setup a little better and I've got to get a little better."
Did the race get more intense as the laps went by? "It typically gets more intense. We had fresh tires. We only had a 10-lap shootout at the end, so everyone can run as hard as they want, where normally you have to save tires at the beginning of the run so guys are more conservative. Everyone was just going to go for everything they had knowing that they weren't going to pay a price for tires."
CLINT BOWYER, No. 15 5-hour ENERGY Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing Finishing Position: 7th
MARK MARTIN, No. 55 Aaron's Dream Machine Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing Finishing Position: 8th How was the team able to improve your car? "I've never seen a guy (Rodney Childers, crew chief) improve one of my cars that much in one race. You've got to be able to do that. I'm really surprised. They did a great job."
BOBBY LABONTE, No. 47 Bush's Brown Toyota Camry, JTG-Daugherty Racing Finishing Position: 17th
LANDON CASSILL, No. 83 Burger King/Dr. Pepper Toyota Camry, BK Racing Finishing Position: 20th
JOEY LOGANO, No. 20 Home Depot Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Finishing Position: 24th
MARTIN TRUEX JR., No. 56 NAPA Brakes Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing Finishing Position: 25th
TRAVIS KVAPIL, No. 93 Burger King/Dr. Pepper Toyota Camry, BK Racing Finishing Position: 30th
DAVID STREMME, No. 30 Inception Motorsports Toyota Camry, Inception Motorsports Finishing Position: 37th
JOE NEMECHEK, No. 87 AM/FM Energy Wood & Pellet Stoves Toyota Camry, NEMCO Motorsports Finishing Position: 41st
MIKE BLISS, No. 19 Humphrey Smith Racing Toyota Camry, TriStar Motorsports Finishing Position: 42nd