NASCAR »

Late caution propels Busch back onto victory lane

Edwards got a great restart ahead of Jimmie Johnson (who absolutely did not!), Tony Stewart, Kasey Kahne and Kyle Busch, already back to fifth place. Edwards was threatening to pull away into the distance, but Stewart hung on and over the next dozen laps challenged hard for the lead - and finally won it down the inside of turn 2 on lap 250, after which Edwards fell back to fourth as a result of losing the clean air that had suited the #99 so well up till then.

Stewart on the other hand almost had the reverse problem: after the #14 had been mighty at navigating traffic to get to the front, now it was there it seemed pegged by the challenge of Busch's #18 and Johnson's #48. The two of them finally made their move past the current Cup champion on lap 286, leaving Stewart speculating that he had a tyre going down on him although not sure enough of the problem to take to pit road ahead of the next round of pit stops.

A few cars that had stayed out during the last caution to get a lap back through the wave-around had to pit first, among them Joey Logano, Casey Mears and Marcos Ambrose - the Australian having made the start despite suffering from back-spasms before the start that had led Richard Petty Motorsports to line up Trevor Bayne as a possible mid-race replacement for Ambrose should he be unable to see out the full 400 laps.

Kyle Busch was among those sounding the official starting gun on lap 307 for what was looking like being just a bit too early to the final round of pit stops of the night. Denny Hamlin, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Tony Stewart and Jimmie Johnson were also in over successive laps, but Carl Edwards missed his entry at just the moment when Jeff Burton managed to find the wall in turn 4 and give it a sharp hit.

With NASCAR trying not to affect the race with a caution in the middle of a round of pit stops, officials tried not to immediately bring out the caution for Burton's hit but then found that the impact had left debris on the track that could not be ignored, and that there was no option but to throw the yellow.

Edwards had been the only driver not to have pitted before the caution, but with only four cars classed on the lead lap it didn't seem like much of a big deal for him to come in under the caution. Certainly not as bad as the turn that Jimmie Johnson's race had just taken: a penalty imposed after one of his crewmen rolled a tyre unattended toward the pit wall put him at the back of the field for the restart.

"I think a wheel got away or something on the pit stops," Johnson confirmed. "Equipment leaving the pit box required us to go to the tail end of the lead lap. We had a couple of little mistakes like that today unfortunately. We had a really fast race car."

In the meantime, Kyle Busch was able to pull off a cunning move: although off Edwards' lead lap when the caution initially came out, he was classified in the lucky dog position and promoted back up - allowing him to then follow Edwards onto pit lane for a second 'free' pit stop for fuel and new tyres, while still lining up for the restart in third place. behind Edwards and Stewart.

Or was it Stewart and Edwards? This was no minor query of style or etiquette: in fact, it was about to decide the race. Edwards was told that he was on pole for the restart and despite his own private doubts he acted accordingly as the green flag came out; but NASCAR had a different view of the situation. They had Stewart listed as the leader, and that meant Edwards had technically jumped the start.

"Right before that start, my spotter Jason Hedleskey was told by NASCAR officials that the #99 was the leader," he said later. "Jason told me and I had a split second to decide what I was going to do. I thought, okay, NASCAR made a mistake and they lined us up wrong.




Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Tony Stewart, driver of the #14 Mobil 1/Office Depot Chevrolet, leads the field during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Capital City 400 at Richmond International Raceway on Saturday. (Photo Credit: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Kyle Busch takes his fourth chequered flag in a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Richmond International Raceway on Saturday. (Photo Credit: Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet SS, races to win Sunday, August 17, 2014 in the Pure Michigan 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Michigan. Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy Johns Chevrolet SS finished second. This was Gordon`s third win of the season. (Photo by Alan Marler/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Danica Patrick, driver of the #10 GoDaddy Chevrolet, Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row Chevrolet, Trevor Bayne, driver of the #21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center Ford, Justin Allgaier, driver of the #51 Brandt Professional Agriculture Chevrolet, and Michael Annett, driver of the #7 Allstate Peterbilt/Pilot Chevrolet, are involved in an incident during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway on August 17, 2014 in Brooklyn, Michigan.  (Photo Credit: Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Sam Hornish Jr., driver of the #54 Monster Energy Toyota, leads the field at the start of the Nationwide Childrens`s Hospital 200 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on August 16, 2014 in Lexington, Ohio.  (Photo Credit: Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy Johns Chevrolet SS, qualified sixth Friday, August 15, 2014 for Sunday`s Pure Michigan 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Michigan. Harvick is 8th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo by Alan Marler/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Regan Smith prepares to stand in for Tony Stewart at short notice at Watkins Glen International on Sunday, August 10 2014. (Photo Credit: Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Stewart-Haas vice-president Greg Ziparelli addresses the media at Watkins Glen International on Sunday, August 10 2014. (Photo Credit: Robert Laberge/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Nelson Piquet Jr., driver of the #77 WORX Ford, prepares his equipment in the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Cheez-It 355 at Watkins Glen International on August 8, 2014 in Watkins Glen, New York. (Photo Credit: Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Michael Baker International Chevrolet, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series GoBowling.com 400 at Pocono Raceway on August 3, 2014 in Long Pond, Pennsylvania.  (Photo Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Michael Baker International Chevrolet, crosses the finish line to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series GoBowling.com 400 at Pocono Raceway on August 3, 2014 in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the #88 Michael Baker International Chevrolet SS, captures the flag with his victory Sunday, August 3, 2014 after winning Sunday`s Nascar Sprint Cup race at Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the #88 Michael Baker International Chevrolet SS, races to win Sunday, August 3, 2014 in Sunday`s Nascar Sprint Cup race at Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the #88 Michael Baker International Chevrolet SS, celebrates his victory Sunday, August 3, 2014 after winning Sunday`s Nascar Sprint Cup race at Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Michael Baker International Chevrolet, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series GoBowling.com 400 at Pocono Raceway on August 3, 2014 in Long Pond, Pennsylvania.  (Photo Credit: Tom Pennington/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the #88 Michael Baker International Chevrolet SS, celebrates his victory Sunday, August 3, 2014 after winning Sunday`s Nascar Sprint Cup race at Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Michael Baker International Chevrolet, celebrates in Victory Lane with a broom after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series GoBowling.com 400 at Pocono Raceway on August 3, 2014 in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. (Photo Credit: Tom Pennington/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Michael Baker International Chevrolet, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series GoBowling.com 400 at Pocono Raceway on August 3, 2014 in Long Pond, Pennsylvania.  (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/NASCAR via 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 - 2014 Crash Media Group

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