For a time four in a row for Brad Keselowski was plausible. In the end, the “Big Three” were the top three at Richmond Raceway on Saturday night.

It might not be time yet to consider them the “Big Four”, but the drivers who have separated themselves from the pack with their performance this year each made their noise before Kyle Busch took the checkered flag.

Kevin Harvick started the race from the pole and led from the outset until Martin Truex, Jr. took control and won both stages. An infraction on pit road for an uncontrolled tire for the 78 bunch torpedoed a potential winning effort as Truex rallied to finish third, charging hard to climb the leaderboard. A timely caution could have put Truex in victory lane.

Kyle Busch had his own troubles with a brush with the wall during qualifying that relegated him to the back of the field. Wending his way through traffic, Busch eventually took the lead from Keselowski after tracking down the 2 car and taking the lead with 38 laps left. Keselowski faded to ninth in the final running order while Harvick took second.

Next week is the unknown quantity known as the Roval at Charlotte Motor Speedway with the added specter of elimination for four drivers from the playoff hunt. Two drivers are almost in must-win status in order to advance with Erik Jones and Denny Hamlin. Jimmie Johnson and Clint Bowyer are also currently out, but close enough to twelfth place to put the fear into a host of drivers. Less than 20 points separate Kyle Larson who is in seventh to Johnson in fourteenth.

 

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