In a Nutshell: It was another chapter of the same story Friday night in the Emerson Radio 250, as Kevin Harvick chalked up his sixth Busch Series win of the year at Richmond International Raceway. Harvick was once again the class of the field and clearly dominated all night, leading 154 laps en route to the victory. Greg Biffle finished a distant second, followed by Matt Kenseth, Paul Menard and Reed Sorenson rounding out the top five.
Who Should Have Won: Harvick. The only guy who looked like he might have anything for Harvick this week was teammate Jeff Burton, but he dropped out on lap 124 with brake issues. After that, it was pretty much clear sailing for Harvick once again. Harvick and company are sending a strong message in support of their championship bid, as they not only draw away in the points but continue to post wins along the way. No one can say this team is just taking it easy and points racing, as the sixth victory for Harvick is the series high for a competitor for the season. It just goes to show that sometimes the guy that wins the most races can win the championship, too.
Three Questions You Should Be Asking After the Race Weekend
1) Would the Busch Series be more interesting with a Chase?
I guess it depends on whether you appreciate the phenomenal job Harvick and his team have done for what it is more than having a tight battle for the championship. Honestly, after putting that much work into building that much of a lead, it would be a travesty not to allow any driver to finish off the run and take home the championship, no matter what series he really belongs to. I think if anyone else were to win it through a system like a Chase, it would be obvious that it was not deserved.
2) Should a budget cap be put on Busch Series teams?
Some argue that Harvick and the other Cup drivers have an unfair advantage with an almost unlimited budget coming from their multiple sponsorship and Cup owners. This may be, but exactly how does one police exactly where every dime comes from? This would be almost impossible to enforce for one thing, and for another, racing really is a free enterprise. There are “haves” and there are “have nots” and that’s a fact of life.
3) Does Tim Sauter need glasses?
I don’t want to be mean, but he seems to crash into someone every week, including his own brothers more than once.
Worth Noting/Points Shuffle
It was nice to see sponsor Western Sizzlin’ return to give Kevin Grubb and the No. 56 of Mac Hill Motorsports another chance, but it was unfortunate to see them exit the race so early as Grubb got into the wall on the first lap.
Nice runs for Dave Blaney and Scott Wimmer, who came home seventh and eighth. Normally, I don’t highlight Cup drivers in this category, but in this case I will make an exception because these part-time Busch competitors are fresh faces in the top 10.
Menard was the highest finishing Busch regular this week with a fourth-place result. Danny O’Quinn Jr. was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race, coming home 14th for one of his best runs of the year.
As for the points, who else but Harvick would you expect to see at the front of the championship standings? Harvick grows his lead still further to 619 points over second-place Carl Edwards. With seven races remaining, Harvick is now ahead of Jeff Green‘s record-setting 2000 winning margin of 616 points. He has also tied Green’s win total of six races, with seven events remaining to beat that mark.
In the battle for “best of the rest,” Denny Hamlin remains third, 659 points behind the leader. Clint Bowyer, JJ Yeley, Menard, Kyle Busch, Biffle and Johnny Sauter remain fourth through ninth. The only other change this week occurred for the 10th position, as Jason Leffler slid back to 11th while Sorenson moved into the 10th spot. That brings the total number of Cup regulars in the top 10 to eight, with Sorenson running one fewer and Biffle four fewer races than their full-time competitors.
Buschwhackers in this race: 15
Starting spots taken by Buschwhackers YTD: 398 of 1,212
Buschwhackers finishing in top 10: 9
Buschwhackers finishing in top 10 YTD: 204 of 280
Races won by Buschwhackers YTD: 26 of 28
Buschwhackers ranked in top 10 in Busch Series points standings: 8
“It looked like Talladega the last 10 laps there. It was like three- and four-wide for second through 10th. It was a lot of fun, though, racing with all the Cup guys that were up there. I had a lot of fun and we’ll get ’em next time. We’ll go to Dover and see what we can do there.” – Danny O’Quinn Jr.
“Unfortunately, I made a rookie mistake. The caution came out and the guy in front of me stopped and he stopped quicker than I anticipated or before I even knew there was a caution. I went to miss him and I crushed my left-front fender, so we had to pit and we lost all our track position. We went from the top 10 all the way to last, and had to work our way back up.” – John Andretti
Next Up: The Busch Series gets a well-deserved week off before returning to action in two weeks at Dover International Speedway. The Dover 200 is scheduled to air at 3:00 p.m. ET on TNT on Saturday, Sept. 23rd.