28 April 2013
2013 Richmond NASCAR: Harvick surges through to steal win
"P***ed off," replied Montoya when asked how he was feeling. "We made the right calls when we pitted and when we stayed out and everything, but we got that caution at the end and it was a no-brainer to take tyres. I think what hurt us is we restarted on the outside and when you restart on the outside and people got really bad tires, everything packs up. And when you're on the outside, you can't; where are you going to jump?"
As for Burton, he explained his decision to stay out under that final yellow despite knowing full well that he's pay for it at the restart: "We were seventh there," he said. "The caution came out and what the heck, we might as well try something. ... Obviously new tyres a lot better, but [it was] worth a shot. We were going to maybe finish sixth without the caution so to pick up a spot from it was worth a shot."
Longtime leader Matt Kenseth completed the race in seventh place just in front of Aric Almirola. "It was up and down," said Kenseth of his evening. "In the beginning of the race, we were real strong and in the middle of the race we probably had a fifth to sixth-place car or something like that."
He added it had been a wild finish: "Just two laps, everybody is going to go for it and go for every hole they've got," he said. "If I could have drawn the inside line instead of the outside line then maybe I could have ran second. Just starting on the top you knew they were going to be three and four-wide and it was just tough."
As Harvick performed his celebratory burnouts, the fireworks were going off elsewhere: Tony Stewart was taking serious exception to being nudged wide from behind by Kurt Busch in the final stages of the race, a move that dropped him from fifth place all the way to 18th at the flag. He expressed his displeasure by repeatedly muscling the #78 in the side as the two headed back to pit road.
"It's a free-for-all at the end," said Busch. "There is rubber build-up in the outside groove. There are cars sliding up with old tyres. So, I don't know what the #14 was upset about. I got hit from behind, I got hit every which-way. So did he."
It wasn't just Stewart upset with him: Busch, who finally finished in ninth place, likely won't be the most popular man in the NASCAR paddock as he'd tried similar hard-nosed tricks on a number of other drivers during the closing laps.
"That last restart, just being on the outside and the #78 drove up through there and knocked my whole side off and put me in the marbles," grumbled Kenseth.
"I'll remember if we get in that position again what I'll do to Kurt," fumed Truex, recalling being spun out of the front at an earlier restart. "Just destroyed the back of the car."
Behind Busch there was a threesome of Hendrick Motorsports drivers: a newly-beardless Dale Earnhardt Jr. captured the final top ten place, with Jeff Gordon in 11th and Jimmie Johnson nursing the damaged #48 home in 12th, a solid result in the circumstances that means his lead in the NASCAR Sprint Cup championship standings is now 43pts over Carl Edwards
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