AP Sports Writer
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Kurt Busch held on in a side-by-side, last-lap duel with local favorite Denny Hamlin to win the Nationwide Series race at Richmond International Raceway on Friday night.
Driving a car owned by brother Kyle, Busch passed Kevin Harvick on the 222nd lap after the green-flag stops. Busch seemed likely to cruise to the victory until Hamlin pulled up on his rear bumper with a few laps to go, and ducked inside him as they crossed the white line for the final lap. Busch, somehow, held off Hamlin on the outside to win by a nose.
"I've driven for guys like (Roger) Penske and (Jack) Roush, but when you're driving for a guy named Busch, you've got to be on it, and I was glad to be able to deliver," Busch said in Victory Lane, having given the team owned by his younger brother its first victory.
Hamlin, he said, "just came out of nowhere."
So did Kyle in Victory Lane, greeting his brother before he even climbed from the car.
"This is the most emotional I've ever been for a win," Kyle Busch said.
Watching, he said, was harder than driving, especially as Hamlin, his teammate with Joe Gibbs Racing in the Sprint Cup Series, closed in and then pulled inside on the last lap,
Hamlin needed to after a mistake early on. Running third when he headed for pit road, he missed his stall and had to come back around. It dropped him to 24th place.
"I drove for everything. I drove qualifying laps for the last 150 laps and made up a lot of time and was just a few feet short," Hamlin said after losing by less than a hood length.
Harvick, who dominated much of the race with a car that seemed the class of the field, especially on fresh tires, faded after the final stops under green and finished third. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. was third, followed by Sam Hornish Jr. Points leader Elliott Sadler was sixth.
The race also included a bit of history as 70-year-old Morgan Shepherd led four laps when he stayed out under a caution, extending his series record as the oldest to lead a lap.
The race marked the debut of X Game star Travis Pastrana in the series, too, and after starting 25th, he climbed into the top 20 late in the race before getting caught with a speeding penalty on pit road. The pass through penalty hurt, and he dropped to 22nd.
Danica Patrick, who started 16th, was in the mid-20s all night and finished 21st.
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