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Kyle Busch Locks in Respectable Richmond Podium

Kyle Busch tallied his sixth podium finish of the year in Sunday’s Cook Out 400 at Richmond. (Photo: Mitchell Richtmyre | The Podium Finish)

RICHMOND, Va. – As the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series season progresses, Kyle Busch continually returns to his title contending form.

Prior to Sunday’s Cook Out 400 at Richmond Raceway, Busch logged wins at Fontana, Talladega and Gateway along with seven top fives and 12 top 10 finishes. By far, the Las Vegas native has raced a lot like his dominant self after a difficult season last year.

Ranked sixth in the championship standings ahead of Race No. 22, the Richard Childress Racing driver looked for more momentum at “The Action Track.”  Seeking his first win at Richmond since 2018, the two-time Cup champion started from the second position.

In the early going, it was a bit of a struggle as the 63-time Cup race winner fell to a 12th place finish in Stage 1. The 38-year-old racer improved to a sixth place result in Stage 2, a significant showing as the sole Chevrolet racer finishing in the top 10.

Although Busch lacked the dominant pace prevalent with RFK Racing’s Chris Buescher and Brad Keselowski, he was good enough to hover inside the top five in Stage 3. Smooth and steady in the closing moments at Richmond, the No. 8 pit crew delivered with the race’s only genuine pit stops during a non-stage break caution inside the final 10 laps.

Busch rallied from a 12th place finish in Stage 1 to a podium finish at Richmond. (Photo: Wayne Riegle | The Podium Finish)

From there, Busch held a pretty wheel with a wise, patient resolve. While Buescher drove to his first win of the year, Busch crossed the stripe in third.

Busch was complimentary of his team particularly with their pit stops throughout the quick 400-lap race.

“We certainly fought hard on the long runs and had a solid day in the No. 8 X World Wallet Chevrolet at Richmond Raceway,” Busch said. “We had a really good day on pit road and a solid effort all around.”

As badly as Busch’s No. 8 Chevrolet Camaro handled and drove in Stage 1, the stock car veteran, with quality teamwork, was able to get back into the mix.

“It was after about Lap 50 that we dropped off and fell off, but the first 50 laps, we could hang on and do OK,” he said. “We short pitted each time and put ourselves in position to have a chance at the end, but the No. 11 car spun the tires a little bit on the restart and automatically got us a row behind.

“It’s hard to make that back. The No. 22 car also had a strong run and I got pinched lower than letting my car naturally drift out. We were able to battle back and get a third-place finish. It’s the finish we deserved, which is really, really good.”

Old friends duked it out at Richmond. (Photo: Wayne Riegle | The Podium Finish)

Improving to fifth in the regular season standings while remaining third in the Playoff standings, Busch was pleased with one of his better short track performances since joining the RCR organization ahead of this year.

“I really appreciate the No. 8 Chevy team, X World Wallet, Netspend, Chevrolet, and all of our partners,” Busch said. “Thank you to RCR and ECR especially. I ran the heck out of this engine today. I think I spent most of the race in fourth gear, while almost everybody else was in fifth gear.

“It just helped me the way I was driving and it got us a good, third-place finish. We needed something like this to be solid on the short tracks and to get our momentum heading in the right direction. I’m happy with what we’ve got right here.”

Rob Tiongson is a sports writer and editor originally from the Boston area and resides in the Austin, Texas, area. Tiongson has covered motorsports series like NASCAR and INDYCAR since 2008 and NHRA since 2013. Most recently, Tiongson is covering professional basketball, mainly the WNBA, and women's college basketball. While writing and editing for The Podium Finish, Tiongson currently seeks for a long-term sportswriting and sports content creating career. Tiongson enjoys editing and writing articles and features, as well as photography. Moreover, he enjoys time with his family and friends, traveling, cooking, working out and being a fun uncle or "funcle" to his nephew, niece and cat. Tiongson is an alum of Southern New Hampshire University with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication and St. Bonaventure University's renowned Jandoli School of Communication with a Master of Arts in Digital Journalism.

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