The spring Cup race at Richmond was a pivotal one, to say the least. For some drivers, Richmond was redemption at the ideal time, and three drivers in particular salvaged themselves from a number of pre-race predicaments they found themselves in with their top-ten finishes on Saturday night.
At Richmond, Juan Pablo Montoya proved that he could be a challenger on an oval after nearly two years of not achieving a top-five finish, and was even on the way to his first Cup series oval win before the caution flag flew causing a green-white-checkered finish. Though Montoya didn’t take the checkered flag first, he showed that he easily could have, and could do so in the future.
For Kurt Busch, the Toyota Owners 400 was a chance to show the underdog strength of Furniture Row Racing. A contender for the majority of the race, Busch made the statement that he could indeed be a serious factor with his new team. Post-race aided the public perception of Busch as well after he kept his composure in an incident with Tony Stewart, a trait that Busch isn’t commonly known for.
After a devastating week in penalties, Joe Gibbs Racing’s Matt Kenseth managed to prove himself this weekend also. By solely winning the pole at Richmond, Kenseth exploited his ability to not be shaken by the events that occurred during the week. Kenseth went on to lead the most laps and prove that his penalties couldn’t deter him in the race for the championship, a tough feat to accomplish so soon after his penalties were given out.
While the fall Richmond race, the last race of the regular season, is usually the determining factor for drivers, the spring race took after its fall counterpart this year. At the very least, the finishes that Montoya, Busch, and Kenseth earned in the face of adversity have proven their wide range of abilities as drivers.
By Alanis King