By: Becca Cottingham Quimby
Headline Photo Credit: NASCAR Twitter Page
We head to Richmond Raceway for the first Summer race of the track’s history. It is a beautiful day for racing with just a small chance of rain. Kyle Larson will bring us to the green flag but it will not be long before we have a caution. Tyler Reddick and Ty Dillion make small contact and Tyler Reddick spins out on Lap three. This will bring us very quickly to our first restart. Ross Chastain will overtake Kyle Larson. On this restart, we will see drivers being extremely bold four wide to make moves around cars. Christopher Bell has found grip on the higher side of the track instead of the lower side of the track like in the night races. Most drivers and or teams watching Christopher Bell have decided to try out different lines to find the best grip and tire wear. Ross Chastain with less than twenty laps to go has put at least six drivers down one lap. Kyle Busch then got up in the wall as he had been riding the high line and his car slid into the wall. There does not appear to be too much damage on the car with the new body. Ross Chastain will sail into the stage one win.
Ross Chastain will bring us back to green for stage two with Kyle Larson and Denny Hamlin battling for positions. However, due to some contact, Joey Logano will get around all of them to take over the lead. Ross Chastain is slowly starting to fall back due to losing power steering. Cole Cluster has smoke coming out of his car and it appears that is from something dragging on the back of his car. Ty Gibbs gave Kyle Busch a shove from behind and that will start a huge battle between each other. Green flag pit stops will start happening around lap one twenty-four. Ricky Stenhouse Jr and the team were one of the last teams to stay out. They made contact with Martin Truex Jr and missed pit road and had to stay out an extra lap. This biggest issue was not missing the pit road and the contact. The issue was entering pit road too fast and will cost them their pit strategy. We will see the second wave of pit stops with less than sixty laps to go in stage two. Ryan Blaney thinks he has a tire loose and Christopher Bell had men over the wall too soon. Ty Gibbs has brought his car into the pits with smoke in and they have taken it behind the wall to hook it up to the computer as they see oil. Martin Truex Jr will battle his way back onto the lead lap before the end of stage two. Joey Logano however, will maintain the lead and will win stage two.
We get to stage three started and Kyle Larson got a great restart. However, we get a huge caution due to drivers taking things three wide and a wreck happening with multiple drivers being involved. Joey Logano and Kyle Larson will go back to battle on the restart from the caution. Joey Logano will get a better restart. Christopher Bell on brand new tires gets part of the apron and brings out a caution. So we get another restart and Joey Logano gets another good restart. Kyle Larson gets shuffled backward as he gets into other cars. Then we have an issue with smoke and fire inside the car with Chase Briscoe. They blew the smoke out and made sure the fire was out and sent him back out on the track. Joey Logano and Kevin Harvick battle hard for several laps and Joey put up a huge fight to hold the lead of the race. While that battle is happening Chris Buscher is playing catch up to that team. Kevin Harvick will get around Joey Logano. Green flag pit stops will take place again and some will be placing their last set of tires on the car. Other cars are unlapping themselves on Denny Hamlin. Denny Hamlin had an issue on the front left on what could be his final pit stop. Kevin Harvick and Chris Buscher will then go to battle for the first place spot. Kevin Harvick will hold off everyone to get the unofficial win at Richmond.