The NASCAR Cup race on Sunday, July 30th, at Richmond Raceway went by with calculated strategy rather than “hit and run” havoc. The temperatures were still quite hot with in-car readings reaching 130 degrees. The pressure was on for a win as the Playoff season is coming fast. (The cut off race is Daytona at the end of August).
Team mates Brad Keselowski and Chris Buescher were the race lap leaders for almost half of the Cookout 400. Keselowski is also an owner for the Roush Fenway Keselowski Racing team.
There were only 3 cautions and 2 were the stage finishes. The third came as the race was coming to a close setting up a 3 lap run for the checkers that had Buescher leading Denny Hamlin by half a second. The #17 Fastenal RFK Ford was well in front of the #11 of Hamlin before the caution.
Pit stops proved to be the “make it or break it” events for the race. Bubba Wallace had a good early run but a tire change mishap set him back. Pole sitter Tyler Reddick was flagged for a pit commitment violation and had to race back to a 16th place finish. Brad Keselowski also had a pit sequence which had him in the stall a bit too long with an odd angle going in forcing extra time on exit.
Tyler Reddick was the stage 1 winner. Brad Keselowski took stage 2.
Buescher’s win sets him into the playoffs. Denny Hamlin ran 2nd. Kyle Busch, Joey Logano and Ryan Preece filled the top 5.
PHOTO GALLERY – NASCAR CUP – Richmond Raceway – Cookout 400 – July 30, 2023