We didn’t know what to expect in Sunday’s AdvoCare 500 at the Phoenix International Raceway. For the first two/thirds of the race it was pretty uneventful as the best battle to watch was the points as of now feature on ESPN.
But all of a sudden, with 77 laps to go, Jimmie Johnson blew a right front tire and hit the outside SAFER barrier in Turn 4. Johnson, would go to the garage and later return. He would wind up 32nd and now trails Brad Keselowski by 20 points heading to the season finale at Homestead.
That would have been enough news for the day, but what transpired after put NASCAR on the main headlines of all the news networks. Usually, the NFL steals the show on Sundays in November but today it was NASCAR.
Jeff Gordon and Clint Bowyer’s rivalry reached its boiling point and Gordon put Bowyer in the wall coming to the white flag in the race. Gordon, was made for Bowyer running Gordon rough a few laps prior and decided to make his payback. Gordon hooked Bowyer entering Turn 4 and took the two into the Turn 4 wall bringing innocent Joey Logano with them.
In the garage, Bowyer’s crew came and attacked Gordon and his crew and a full blown melee took place. Bowyer, sprinted from his car to join and the mess in the garage became immediate headline material. The race was red flagged due to that while the officials tried to sort everything out.
Kevin Harvick was leading but him and his crew were mad that the race was put under yellow as he thought he took the white flag prior to the incident. ESPN showed he actually didn’t, but the No. 29 team was still fuming.
Following the restart, Danica Patrick got into the wall in Turn 4 and stalled for a slight moment. NASCAR failed to throw the yellow flag when it was clear they should have and allowed the field to race to the finish. Patrick retired in an attempt to complete the final lap but put tons of oil down in the final turn and down the front stretch.
She was going so slow it was dangerous to the others and as the field came around for the final time a huge wreck took place as cars slipped in her oil and took out five cars on the last lap. Patrick was hit hard by cars spinning behind her. It wrapped up a wild ending to the race and will surely be talked about for the next week on every sports TV network.
Photo courtesy of NASCARmedia.com
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