Ricky Stenhouse Jr. rounded out the top five in his No. 17 Roush Fenway Racing Ford with a fast lap of 119.893 miles per hour.
"We didn't make a mock-run in practice, and we thought the spread would be about three-tenths", Busch said.
Joey Logano has won the first stage of the NASCAR CUP Series race at Richmond. His pit crew gained him stops repeatedly on pit road, and on the second to last restart, the No. 18 vehicle dive-bombed the second row, going from fifth to third.
The youth movement might be the rage of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, but, as often was the case in the past, it is something of a mirage. The first came in 2015, when he won his only championship. "It's hard to go to Tallagega with the much of a winning streak and think that you can get to Victory Lane".
"I don't know if you can shoot for four in a row", he said.
With three laps to go, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. spun, bringing out another caution. He lost at least seven spots by the time NASCAR had sorted out the next restart starting order. These were his first stage wins of the season.
HAMLIN BOUNCEBACK: Hometown favorite Denny Hamlin sounded anything but hopeful after a few rounds of practice, saying "we have some issues, for sure" and "it's super frustrating from my standpoint and it is for (the team), too". For some reason the tire here today, even in race trim, your fastest lap was the seventh lap. "We just don't need to let the results hinder our efforts in moving forward". We were 13th, 15th, something like that in the first half of the race. But from a pit stop standpoint, and the circumstances, and the way things played out, we ended up in decent shape. The only cautions of the night have come between stages. Then, he steadily improved his position, finishing a remarkable sixth. "The problem is with these two practices so close to each other, I don't think we can fix it because we're trying to put all the parts and pieces from our teammates in the vehicle, we just don't have time to put it all, so we're trying to guess on what it might be". Laughing, he added: "I'd love to take a jump forward, but we're definitely taking steps forward". Only one driver since 2004 under age 30, Brad Keselowski in 2012, has won the Cup.
The son of Bill Elliott ran outside the top 10 for much of the night, so he wasn't complaining about this finish.
UP NEXT: The series heads from consecutive short tracks to the longest, 2.66-mile Talladega in Alabama.
"The 42 was strong last week", Busch said.
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