NASCAR »

Bowyer clinches narrow win over Harvick

Unsurprisingly no one from the leaders pitted - Kasey Kahne back in 25th place was the highest-placed car to take to pit road - so at the restart it was Bowyer leading Johnson, Montoya, Hornish Jr and Kenseth with just four laps left to run. Now was the critical moment for having a good drafting partner: Bowyer had Montoya, Harvick has Reutimann come to his aid, but in the middle lane Johnson suddenly felt the absence of Gordon and he and Hornish fell backwards at a fast rate of notes, suddenly out of contention and crowded out of the four-wide battle up front.

It was going to be between Bowyer and Harvick, as the two of them and their respective drafting partners pulled out a huge lead over the rest of the field. As the white flag came out it was Harvick just putting his damaged nose ahead; and then suddenly, the race was over, the caution was out: a major wreck behind the leaders (although not quite the proverbial "big one") had sent cars shooting off in all directions.

Replays showed that Jimmie Johnson himself had been the trigger for it, still struggling in the middle of the pack and lacking a drafting partner. He had wobbled just enough to require him to lift up a fraction, and that sparked the problem behind him as the following cars reacted, setting off a series of small bumps that had big consequences. The worst affected was undoubtedly AJ Allmendinger, who was turned sideways and then flipped over entirely so that the car skidded across that wide concrete run-off apron upside down; then it made a heavy impact with the inside wall, rebounded, went up on its front end for a couple of dainty pirouettes before finally slamming back down to earth. Fortunately AJ was in good shape - more than could be said about what remained of his car - but with the #43 and several other cars all over the race track a yellow flag had been the knee-jerk and entirely correct call.

So who had won? It all came down to whether Harvick or Bowyer had been in front at the moment the yellow came out. That meant pouring over the video tapes and the scoring loops to work out exactly when the track went yellow, and who was in front when it did: as the minutes ticked by, it was clear that Bowyer felt that there was no question and that the win was his - "Hell yeah! Claim that one before somebody else does!" he joked; Harvick was more subdued and had a tense wait on pit road for word to come down.

And when it did, Bowyer's confidence was proved well-founded: he'd just been ahead, by a foot at most, but that was all that was needed. Bowyer finally had some measure of recompense for having his New Hampshire victory marred by the post-race penalty for technical infringement. It might be far too late to put him back into contention for the 2010 Sprint Cup, but it was as sweet as he could possibly have hoped for.

Meanwhile Harvick's second place, combined with steady but not exactly stellar seventh and ninths place finishes for his Chase rivals Jimmie Johnson and Denny Hamlin respectively, means that he closes up on them in the Sprint Cup standings, reducing his deficit to Johnson from 62pts to 38pts. Johnson can at least take comfort that he marginally pulls away from second-placed Hamlin, his overall lead up to 14pts, but there's no question that the Sprint Cup battle remains the closest in Chase history as they head into the final three races of the year.





Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Clint Bowyer at Daytona [Pic credit: Getty for NASCAR]
Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Cares Toyota, practices for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series FedEx 400 Benefiting Autism Speaks at Dover International Speedway on May 30, 2015 in Dover, Delaware (Photo Credit: Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Cares Toyota, left, poses with Miss Coors Light Amanda Mertz and the Coors Light Pole Award after qualifying for the pole for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series FedEx 400 Benefiting Autism Speaks at Dover International Speedway on May 29, 2015 in Dover, Delaware. (Photo Credit: Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Cares Toyota, left, poses with Miss Coors Light Amanda Mertz and the Coors Light Pole Award after qualifying for the pole for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series FedEx 400 Benefiting Autism Speaks at Dover International Speedway on May 29, 2015 in Dover, Delaware. (Photo Credit: Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 DiTech Chevrolet SS, qualified for sixth position, Friday, May 29, 2015, for the NASCAR Sprint Cup race Sunday at Dover International Speedway in Dover, Delaware. Harvick leads the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo by Alan Marler/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Martin Truex, Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Visser Precision Chevrolet SS, qualified for second position, Friday, May 29, 2015, for the NASCAR Sprint Cup race Sunday at Dover International Speedway in Dover, Delaware. Truex, Jr. is second in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo by Alan Marler/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Visser Precision Chevrolet, leads a pack of cars during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 24, 2015 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo Credit: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Patriotic Chevrolet, is involved in an on-track incident during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 24, 2015 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo Credit: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Visser Precision Chevrolet, Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, and Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Office Toyota, lead the field into turn one during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 24, 2015 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo Credit: Rainier Ehrhardt/Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS, finished in ninth place, Sunday, May 24, 2015, in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, North Carolina. (Photo by Garry Eller/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Martin Truex, Jr, driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Visser Precision Chevrolet SS, stops in his pit on his way to a fifth place finish, Sunday, May 24, 2015, in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, North Carolina. (Photo by Andrew Coppley/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS, finished in third place, Sunday, May 24, 2015, in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, North Carolina. (Photo by Alan Marler/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Austin Dillon, driver of the #33 Rheem Chevrolet, and Darrell Wallace Jr., driver of the #6 Cheez-It Ford, lead the field past the green flag to start the NASCAR XFINITY Series Hisense 300 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 23, 2015 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo Credit: Sarah Crabill/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Darrell Wallace Jr., driver of the #6 Cheez-It Ford, pits during the NASCAR XFINITY Series Hisense 300 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 23, 2015 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo Credit: Sarah Crabill/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Martin Truex, Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Visser PrecisionChevrolet SS, qualifies for tenth position, Thursday, May 21, 2015, for Sunday`s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, North Carolina. Truex, Jr. is second in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. All 43 drivers will be participating in
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS, qualifies for eighth position, Thursday, May 21, 2015, for Sunday`s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, North Carolina. Harvick leads the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. All 43 drivers will be participating in
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Patriotic Chevrolet, sits in his car prior to practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 21, 2015 in Charlotte, North Carolina. Johnson’s car features Army 1st Lt. Robert L. Henderson II as part of the 600 Miles of Rememberance.  (Photo Credit: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Darrell Wallace Jr., driver of the #6 Ford EcoBoost Ford, leads a pack of cars during the NASCAR XFinity Series 3M 250 at Iowa Speedway on May 17, 2015 in Newton, Iowa.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)

Start the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register before adding your comments.

Although the administrators and moderators of this website will attempt to keep all objectionable comments off these pages, it is impossible for us to review all messages. All messages express the views of the poster, and neither Crash Media Group nor Crash.Net will be held responsible for the content of any message. We do not vouch for or warrant the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of any message, and are not responsible for the contents of any message. If you find a message objectionable, please contact us and inform us of the problem or use the [report] function next to the offending post. Any message that does not conform with the policy of this service can be edited or removed with immediate effect.




© 1999 - 2015 Crash Media Group

The total or partial reproduction of text, photographs or illustrations is not permitted in any form.