Richmond, VA (Sports Network) - After dominating the first half, Kyle Busch had to rally in the final laps to win Saturday's Crown Royal 400 at Richmond International Raceway.
Busch, the pole sitter, led 221 of the first 229 laps before he experienced an ill-handling car. His team, led by crew chief Dave Rogers, made several key adjustments on the car late in the race to put him back in winning contention.
Jeff Gordon had dominated the second half and appeared to be on the way to ending his 38-race winless streak in the Sprint Cup Series. But an incident involving Sam Hornish Jr. set up a five-lap dash to the finish. Gordon led the way, with Busch on the outside of him for the final restart.
Busch passed Gordon on the outside and then led the last five laps for his first Sprint Cup win since last August at Bristol -- 21 races ago.
"We missed the handle on the car there in the middle of the race," Busch said. "We made some changes back to the car to get it going a little bit better. Especially at the end of the race when Dave made the call to come to pit road and put tires on with 25 or 30 to go. We just got going on restarts from there."
Busch, who claimed his 17th win in the series, turns 25 years old on Sunday. He won this race one year ago on the same day he turned 24.
"I won last year on my birthday, but this year, we got an early birthday present," Busch added.
Busch also gave Rogers his first win as a crew chief. Rogers moved into the role at Busch's No.18 Joe Gibbs Racing team last November.
Gordon, who finished second, let another win slip away from him this season. The four time Cup champion also lost the lead late in the races at Las Vegas, Martinsville, Phoenix and Texas earlier this year.
"I've been doing this long enough to know they don't give out trophies for leading any lap other than the last one," said Gordon, who led a total of 144 laps. "It's a little disappointing we haven't won some races yet. If we keep doing this, those will come."
Kevin Harvick, last week's winner at Talladega, finished third, while his Richard Childress Racing teammate Jeff Burton came in fourth. Carl Edwards completed the top-five.
Harvick reclaimed the points lead, holding a 10-point advantage over Jimmie Johnson, who finished 10th. Busch moved up to third in points (-109).
Dale Earnhardt Jr. suffered a flat tire after making contact with Paul Menard just before the half-way point in the 400-lap race. Earnhardt Jr. fell three laps down during his pit stop and wound up finishing 32nd.