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Hamlin wins Richmond at last

The pair flip-flopped in and out of the twelfth spot in the standings as they gained and lost positions on the track, but the decisive stretch of the race came after a caution was called on lap 326, when Michael Waltrip spun on the frontstretch. Vickers restarted seventh, two spots behind Busch, but soon passed his rival and took over the fifth spot, as Busch complained sarcastically about a bad set of tyres for the crucial late-race run.

Vickers had some nervous moments after the final caution of the race on lap 380, when Busch beat him out of the pits. Busch gained two spots on the restart but gave them back over the final 14 laps, while Vickers held the seventh spot.

“We picked a really good night to figure this place out,” said Vickers, whose only top ten at Richmond came in 2004, “[Crew chief] Ryan [Pemberton] and the guys did a tremendous job, and this was probably the best car I've ever had [at Richmond].”

Busch was philosophical after falling short.

“Well, we did all we can do,” he said, knowing that his clutch of early season wins will now count for little in the bigger picture, “We gave a valiant effort, and it was a good night for the M&M's Toyota to come in fifth place. That's what you look for in these deals, but unfortunately it wasn't enough to get ourselves locked in the Chase.

“But it's not just tonight, or it's not just last week that's kept us out. It's been the past 26 races that, unfortunately, some days I didn't do my best, and we didn't have the best cars, or whatever it might have been. So you can look at a whole different scenario or a whole different slew of things, but what it boils down to is we missed.”

Also of note, Regan Smith finished 40th, suffering his first DNF in 54 Cup races.

by Reid Spencer / Sporting News NASCAR Wire Service



Related Pictures

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Brian Vickers [Pic credit: Getty for NASCAR]
Denny Hamlin - Joe Gibbs Racing   [pic credit: NASCAR/Getty]
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, and Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John`s/Budweiser Chevrolet, lead the field at the start of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Windows 10 400 at Pocono Raceway on August 2, 2015 in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/NASCAR via Getty Images)
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Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, pits during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Windows 10 400 at Pocono Raceway on August 2, 2015 in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, leads a pack of cars during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Windows 10 400 at Pocono Raceway on August 2, 2015 in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. (Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, leads Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, and a pack of cars during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Windows 10 400 at Pocono Raceway on August 2, 2015 in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. (Photo Credit: Jonathan Ferrey/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 Dollar General Toyota, takes the chequered flag to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Windows 10 400 at Pocono Raceway on August 2, 2015 in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 Dollar General Toyota, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Windows 10 400 at Pocono Raceway on August 2, 2015 in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. (Photo Credit: Tim Bradbury/Getty Images)
Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 Dollar General Toyota, celebrates with the trophy in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Windows 10 400 at Pocono Raceway on August 2, 2015 in Long Pond, Pennsylvania.  (Photo Credit: Tim Bradbury/Getty Images)
Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 Dollar General Toyota, celebrates with the trophy in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Windows 10 400 at Pocono Raceway on August 2, 2015 in Long Pond, Pennsylvania.  (Photo Credit: Tim Bradbury/Getty Images)
Kyle Larson, driver of the #42 Suave Men Chevrolet, leads a pack of cars during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Windows 10 400 at Pocono Raceway on August 2, 2015 in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/NASCAR via Getty Images)
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Ryan Blaney, driver of the #22 Discount Tire Ford, celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR XFINITY Series U.S. Cellular 250 at Iowa Speedway on August 1, 2015 in Newton, Iowa. (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Ryan Blaney, driver of the #22 Discount Tire Ford, does a burn out after winning the NASCAR XFINITY Series U.S. Cellular 250 at Iowa Speedway on August 1, 2015 in Newton, Iowa. (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Ryan Blaney, driver of the #22 Discount Tire Ford, takes the chequered flag while winning the NASCAR XFINITY Series U.S. Cellular 250 at Iowa Speedway on August 1, 2015 in Newton, Iowa. (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Ryan Blaney, driver of the #22 Discount Tire Ford, leads during the NASCAR XFINITY Series U.S. Cellular 250 race, at Iowa Speedway on August 1, 2015 in Newton, Iowa. (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #51 Dollar General Toyota, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Pocono Mountains 150 at Pocono Raceway on August 1, 2015 in Long Pond, Pennsylvania.  (Photo Credit: Nick Laham/Getty Images)

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