Bowyer Survives To Get Victory At Talladega
By Rick Minter | Senior Writer
TALLADEGA, Ala. – The numbers said it all. Clint Bowyer, driving the No. 33 Chevrolet with a special 100th anniversary of Chevrolet paint scheme won the Good Sam Club 500, giving his car owner Richard Childress his 100th Sprint Cup win.
And in a race that featured drivers pairing up in groups of two from front to back, it was two teammates who wound up racing for the win at the end.
On the race’s final restart, Bowyer and Jeff Burton sped away from the pack, giving themselves enough cushion to decide the win among themselves. As Burton led down the frontstretch, Bowyer pulled to his inside and edged ahead by a fender as the two crossed the finish line. The official margin of victory was .018 seconds.
Dave Blaney, with a push from his race-long drafting partner Brad Keselowski, finished a Cup-career-best third, followed by the Red Bull duo of Brian Vickers and Kasey Kahne.
Carl Edwards, with an 11-place finish, boosted his points lead to 14 over Matt Kenseth, who finished.
Burton said he thought Bowyer made his move too soon, but he wound up being proven wrong.
“I thought I did what I needed to do to give myself a shot to win, but it didn’t work out,” Burton said.
It seemed, at least according to Burton, that the Chase contenders who lagged near the back for most of
the race, also waited too late to make their moves. On that assessment, he was spot on.
With two late-race cautions throwing a wrinkle in their plans, many of the Chase leaders wound up with mediocre race finishes. Of the contenders running on the lead lap, Kenseth was 18th, Dale Earnhardt Jr. was 25th, Jimmie Johnson 26th and Jeff Gordon 27th.
Those who fell behind because of on-track incidents include Harvick, who was 32nd, Kyle Busch, 33rd, Kurt Busch 36th and Ryan Newman 38th.
The finish further narrowed the race for the championship.
With four races left to run, there are only four drivers within 25 points of Edwards. Keselowski is third, 18 back, and Tony Stewart, who finished seventh is 19 back.
After crashing midway through the race, Kevin Harvick dropped three spots to sixth and is now 26 points out of first, while Kyle Busch, who like Harvick was in a crash but soldiered on, is sixth, 40 points out of the lead.
Defending Cup champion Jimmie Johnson moved up one spot in the standings to seventh despite a 26th-place finish, but he’s now 50 points out of the lead.
– Rick Minter can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.orgOne Comment