by Mark Mayer | Las Vegas native Kyle Busch sits atop the points lead Sunday for the first time in his career, but in doing so may have replaced Jeff Gordon as public enemy No. 1. Dale Earnhardt Jr., considered the darling of NASCAR fans, led the 400-miler at Richmond with 18 laps to go when his car was sent into the wall in a collision with Busch.
Clint Bowyer wound up winning the event, while Busch needed security to escort him from the track. Busch was able to finish second and take an 18-point lead over Jeff Burton in the points championship. Earnhardt finished 15th and is third in the point standings, 104 behind Busch.
GamingToday motorsports analyst Micah Roberts had two of his five picks (Bowyer and Kevin Harvick) land in the Top 10 while a third, Denny Hamlin, led 381 of the 400 laps until a leaky right front tire forced him to finish 24th.
Station Casinos lists Busch at 4-1 to capture the Sprint Cup points title. Burton is 10-1 and Earnhardt is the 5-2 favorite. Bowyer paid his betting supporters 14-1 at Stations for winning at Richmond.
The circuit heads to Darlington, South Carolina for the Dodge Challenger 500 next Saturday night. For more on the Darlington race check Roberts’ Finish Line column in this Tuesday’s GT edition.