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Five Points to Ponder: 2009 Crown Royal 400 at Richmond Edition

*A Busch birthday* On a magical night for NASCAR’s brightest young star, Kyle Busch blew out 24 candles and picked up a Sprint Cup trophy in the same day, becoming only the second driver to accomplish such a feat. The birthday win puts him in a league with only Cale Yarborough, but its significance is even greater when you look at the numbers. At exactly 24 years of age, the flamboyant Vegas native is now the youngest driver ever to record 15 Sprint Cup wins, and is at a total of 50 victories across the sport’s top three series.

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Roush’s, Ford’s Rough Start Peaks During Short Track Slump

There were three big reasons for three of NASCAR’s “Big Four” owners to smile on Saturday night. Joe Gibbs was busy congratulating Kyle Busch in Victory Lane, his young prodigy scoring a season-leading third win while jumping to fifth in points. Behind him, Hendrick “B” team Stewart-Haas Racing had their owner/driver knocking on the door, putting together a runner-up finish that combined with teammate Ryan Newman’s second top 5 finish in a row. Combine that with Jeff Gordon retaking the point lead, and there was plenty to be happy about over in the Hendrick camp. Last but not least, Saturday night was Jeff Burton’s 2009 coming out party, as he clearly got his act together for owner Richard Childress – finishing third on a night where a midrace spin could have left him 25th. Clearly, it was a night in which NASCAR’s Chase-eligible owners from last season were able to prove how and why they made the playoffs their own personal playground. Of course, that came with one notable exception… Jack Roush.

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Rookie Report: Joey Logano, Marcos Ambrose Bruised In Battle But Win the War in Richmond

*Joey Logano:* *Start: 13th; Finish: 19th* *Summary:* Joey Logano rolled off the grid in the 13th position for the Crown Royal presents the Russ Friedman 400, his third best start of the 2009 season. But unlike his previous two top 13 qualifying efforts (9th at Daytona and 10th at Texas), the rookie was able to hang with the lead pack for virtually the entire night. In fact, the neon orange and white Home Depot Camry rarely fell out of the top 20. Logano’s Sprint Cup Richmond debut was not incident-free, however, as is typically the case with short track events.

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Bubble Breakdown: Hornish’s Two Top 10s Make Qualifying On Speed A Distant Memory

What a strange weekend for our beloved bubble dwellers it was at Richmond. At Friday’s qualifying session, Mike Bliss put the No. 09 Dodge in the sixth starting position with what seemed to be a car running with the momentum from last week’s upset win at Talladega. Scott Speed also looked like his team was harnessing their momentum from the previous weekend with an eighth place qualifying run. In contrast, Robby Gordon, whose career starting average at Richmond is 30th, looked to be struggling with a 36th place qualifying effort, while Sam Hornish, Jr. looked to be back to normal with a lackluster 28th place starting spot. But as you know, strange things happen under the lights at Richmond... so to see if our bubble teams flipped their weekends around, read on in this week’s edition of the Bubble Breakdown.

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Nationwide Series Breakdown: 2009 Lipton Tea 250 at Richmond

It was business as usual at Richmond Friday night, as Kyle Busch in his No. 18 ran up front all night, led the most laps, and won the race. Busch, who led four times for 115 laps, had little trouble holding off Carl Edwards following a late restart in notching his third victory of the 2009 campaign. But, much like last season’s race at O’Reilly Raceway Park that saw Busch do the same thing on a short track, there was plenty of racing throughout the pack to make Friday night an enjoyable show.

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Birthday Boy Kyle Busch Brings Home the Hardware at Richmond

Previous to Saturday night, Cale Yarborough was the only driver in the history of the Cup Series to win a race on his birthday (he pulled off the feat twice, at two different race tracks, North Wilkesboro and Bristol). Well, after Saturday night, Cale has some company. Kyle Busch started …

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Carl Edwards Wasn’t Quite Right

Sprint Cup Series Director John Darby announced this week that there won’t be any changes in the plate racing, espousing the excitement of Daytona and Talladega just days after two drivers had near-death experiences. Too many writers agree. Quite a few have said that Talladega was a great race and NASCAR shouldn’t do a thing to change it. Some have said that all of the safety precautions worked. Not quite. Seven fans were injured. If that isn’t a wake up call, it damn well oughta be. If a car goes into the grandstand and kills 50 fans, NASCAR is over, my friends. There will not be another race. Believe it. Darby also said, presumably with a straight face, that people play up the danger of wrecks at plate tracks as opposed to wrecks at Atlanta or Charlotte. So Daytona and Talladega are two of the most exciting tracks on the circuit because of the danger, but they aren’t any more dangerous than Atlanta or Charlotte. I’ll figure that one out and get back to you.

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