The race that didn’t end until after 1:00 AM Eastern Time sent Clint Bowyer to victory lane for the second time this season. Bowyer had previously won at Sonoma back in June. This win gave Bowyer more bonus points heading into the Chase that is now starting. Bowyer had to bounce back from a spin that occurred on lap 235 but Bowyer came back and showed his skill in the car. In a post-race interview Bowyer said “thanks Juan Pablo for wrecking me than winning me the race.” Bowyer was referring to Juan Palo Montoya who cut Bowyer’s tire down when Bowyer spun earlier in the race.
The race didn’t end up starting until after 9:30 PM eastern time due to rain that moved through the area. The race started under a green/yellow condition so the cars could finish drying areas of the track that the jet dryers couldn’t dry. A green/yellow condition is where the race laps are counting but the cars are not allowed to advance their position and they have to follow the pace car. The first seven laps were run under the green/yellow condition and since Dale Earnhardt Jr won the pole he got to lead the first seven laps.
On lap 7 the green flag officially came out and the cars roared off into turn one. Wild Card contender Jeff Gordon passed his teammate Dale Earnhardt Jr to lead the next few laps. But on lap nine, Earnhardt Jr retook the lead. The second wild card position currently belonged to Kyle Busch and Jeff Gordon was chasing Busch down for the spot. In the beginning of the race we saw Gordon start to lose positions and move back and we saw Busch charge towards the front. The competition caution came out on lap 46 due to the rain that washed out the track earlier in the day.
On lap 52 David Ragan brought out the third caution when he spun on the frontstrecth. Soon after the restart Denny Hamlin took the lead from Earnhardt Jr. For the next thirty laps we saw Earnhardt Jr and Hamlin keep swapping the lead. Hamlin took the lead for awhile on lap 94. The next caution came out on lap 138 for more rain. Then the red flag was displayed because of the rain. The red flag period lasted 57 minutes. Once the cars got to restart once again, Dale Earnhardt Jr took the lead.
The halfway point finally arrived meaning the race was official. Hamlin led followed by Bowyer, Truex Jr, Kahne and Johnson. On lap 224 a round of green flag pit stops began. On lap 235 eventual race winner Clint Bowyer spun on the frontstrecth after making contact with Juan Pablo Montoya that cut Bowyer’s tire down. Martin Truex Jr took the lead for the first time on lap 242 but Hamlin took the lead again just seven laps later.
More rain moved into the area to bring out the caution on lap 276 but the cars remained on the track and the race got restarted quickly. Wild card contender Jeff Gordon got back on the lead lap under this caution. Stewart-Hass Racing moved to the front on lap 265 when Tony Stewart went three-wide for the lead. Soon Ryan Newman would move up to second and then take the lead from Stewart on lap 300. Newman needs to win the race to make the Chase.
The final lead change took place with 87 to go when Bowyer took the lead from Newman. As wild card contender Jeff Gordon started moving forward, Kyle Busch started to move back. Gordon needs to finish more than thirteen spots ahead of Busch to make the Chase. Busch made his final pit stop with 66 laps to go and then Busch went three laps down when he came back on the track. With 42 laps to go Jeff Gordon made his final pit stop. Busch eventually got one lap back but that wasn’t enough to catch Gordon.
Jeff Gordon went onto finish second to race winner Clint Bowyer and Gordon earned the second wild card spot and he got into the Chase. Busch was extremely disappointed that he didn’t make the Chase and he said after the race “we missed.” Even though Busch is not in the Chase, he could still be a big threat to win some races in the Chase. Gordon said that his team “made this car good enough to run up front.” Gordon needed to run up front if he wanted a shot at making the Chase and he did everything he needed to do. Kasey Kahne stayed in the first wild card position and he will make the Chase after missing out on it last season.
The Chase field is now reset by victories each driver has this season. Denny Hamlin leads the way with four wins and he gets the top seed for the Chase. Jimmie Johnson is the second seed, Tony Stewart third, Keselowski fourth, Biffle fifth, Bowyer sixth, Earnhardt Jr seventh, Kenseth eighth, Harvick ninth and Truex Jr tenth. Both Wild Card drivers’ wins will not give them bonus points for the Chase. So Gordon and Kahne will start out tied. A very late night has the twelve Chase drivers celebrating and Clint Bowyer celebrating his second win of the season.
The final ten races of the season will be exciting and interesting. The Chase for the Sprint Cup kicks off next Sunday at the Chicagoland Speedway.
Results via Nascar.com
STATUS1 4 15 Clint Bowyer Toyota 5-hour Energy 47/4 400 Running 2 2 24 Jeff Gordon Chevrolet Drive to End Hunger 43/1 400 Running 3 6 55 Mark Martin Toyota Aaron’s Dream Machine 41/0 400 Running 4 28 14 Tony Stewart Chevrolet Office Depot / Mobil 1 41/1 400 Running 5 17 17 Matt Kenseth Ford Best Buy 39/0 400 Running 6 20 31 Jeff Burton Chevrolet Caterpillar 38/0 400 Running 7 10 2 Brad Keselowski Dodge Miller Lite 37/0 400 Running 8 14 39 Ryan Newman Chevrolet Quicken Loans 37/1 400 Running 9 23 16 Greg Biffle Ford 3M / Owens & Minor 35/0 400 Running 10 13 29 Kevin Harvick Chevrolet Budweiser 34/0 400 Running 11 11 22 Sam Hornish Jr. Dodge Shell / Pennzoil 0 400 Running 12 21 5 Kasey Kahne Chevrolet Quaker State 33/1 400 Running 13 5 48 Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet Lowe’s 32/1 400 Running 14 1 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Chevrolet Diet Mountain Dew / National Guard 31/1 400 Running 15 22 9 Marcos Ambrose Ford Mac Tools 29/0 400 Running 16 15 18 Kyle Busch Toyota M&M’s 28/0 400 Running 17 16 99 Carl Edwards Ford Kellogg’s 27/0 400 Running 18 7 11 Denny Hamlin Toyota FedEx Express 28/2 400 Running 19 12 83 Landon Cassill Toyota Burger King 25/0 400 Running 20 24 42 Juan Montoya Chevrolet Target 24/0 400 Running 21 9 56 Martin Truex Jr. Toyota NAPA Auto Parts 24/1 400 Running 22 26 1 Jamie McMurray Chevrolet Bass Pro Shops / Allstate 22/0 398 Running 23 25 27 Paul Menard Chevrolet Menards / Moen 21/0 398 Running 24 3 78 Regan Smith Chevrolet Furniture Row / Farm American 20/0 398 Running 25 29 47 Bobby Labonte Toyota Bush’s Baked Beans 19/0 397 Running 26 18 43 Aric Almirola Ford Smithfield 18/0 397 Running 27 32 93 Travis Kvapil Toyota Burger King / Dr Pepper 17/0 397 Running 28 30 51 Kurt Busch Chevrolet Phoenix Construction 16/0 396 Running 29 42 13 Casey Mears Ford GEICO 15/0 396 Running 30 8 20 Joey Logano Toyota The Home Depot 14/0 396 Running 31 35 38 David Gilliland Ford Mossy Oak / Pursuit Channel 13/0 395 Running 32 27 34 David Ragan Ford Taco Bell 12/0 395 Running 33 33 36 Dave Blaney Chevrolet Tommy Baldwin Racing 11/0 395 Running 34 37 10 David Reutimann Chevrolet Inc. 5000 / @TMone 6-peat 10/0 393 Running 35 39 32 Ken Schrader Ford Federated Auto Parts 9/0 393 Running 36 36 33 Stephen Leicht * Chevrolet Special Ops OPSEC 8/0 390 Running 37 31 30 David Stremme Toyota Inception Motorsports 7/0 127 Brakes 38 34 87 Joe Nemechek Toyota AM / FM Energy Wood & Pellet Stoves 0 90 Brakes 39 38 23 Scott Riggs Chevrolet North Texas Pipe 5/0 78 Brakes 40 40 119 Mike Bliss Toyota Plinker Tactical 0 70 Wheel Bearing 41 19 98 Michael McDowell Ford Phil Parsons Racing 4/1 63 Brakes 42 41 26 Josh Wise * Ford MDS Transport 2/0 57 Brakes 43 43 191 Reed Sorenson Chevrolet Plinker Tactical 0 57 Power Steering
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