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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]
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Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway on June 28, 2015 in Sonoma, California. (Photo Credit: Jonathan Moore/Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, celebrates after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway on June 28, 2015 in Sonoma, California. (Photo Credit: Rainier Ehrhardt/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, crosses the finish line to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway on June 28, 2015 in Sonoma, California. (Photo Credit: Jonathan Moore/Getty Images)
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AJ Allmendinger, driver of the #47 Kingsford Charcoal Chevrolet, leads the field to the green flag at the start of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway on June 28, 2015 in Sonoma, California.  (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Fans cheer as cars race during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway on June 28, 2015 in Sonoma, California. (Photo Credit: Robert Laberge/Getty Images)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Pro Services Chevrolet, leads Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway on June 28, 2015 in Sonoma, California. (Photo Credit: Robert Laberge/Getty Images)
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Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Folds of Honor/Outback Steakhouse/Budweiser Chevrolet SS, finishes in fourth place, Sunday June 28, 2015, in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Sonoma Raceway in Sonoma, California.  (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS, finishes in second place, Sunday June 28, 2015, in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Sonoma Raceway in Sonoma, California.  (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS, finishes in second place, Sunday June 28, 2015, in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Sonoma Raceway in Sonoma, California.  (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/HHP for Chevy Racing)

Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS, finishes in second place, Sunday June 28, 2015, in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Sonoma Raceway in Sonoma, California.  (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/HHP for Chevy Racing)

Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Folds of Honor/Outback Steakhouse/Budweiser Chevrolet SS, finishes in fourth place, Sunday June 28, 2015, in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Sonoma Raceway in Sonoma, California.  (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/HHP for Chevy Racing)

Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Folds of Honor/Outback Steakhouse/Budweiser Chevrolet SS, finishes in fourth place, Sunday June 28, 2015, in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Sonoma Raceway in Sonoma, California.  (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/HHP for Chevy Racing)

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