By: Noel Lanier Special to The Times
September 10, 2013
RICHMOND, Va. — Clint Bowyer and his #15 5-Hour Energy Toyota spun out at Richmond International Raceway Saturday night with only seven laps remaining in the last race for The Chase but that spin changed the future of four other drivers.
Carl Edwards in the #99 Cheez-It/Frosted Flakes Ford won the Federated Auto Parts 400 Sprint Cup race and performed his trademark back-flip on the start/finish line. He beat Kurt Busch by a mere .668 seconds.
It was only Edwards second win of the season and first at Richmond but all of that was secondary to what was the final race in determining the 12 drivers making The Chase.
Joey Logano eliminated four-time champion Jeff Gordon from the top 10 by one point and took away Gordon’s spot in the Chase for the Sprint Cup. Bowyer’s teammate Martin Truex Jr. was able to claim the second wild-card position in The Chase in a tiebreaker over Ryan Newman.
Prior to the caution, third-place finisher Newman was in the lead with only nine laps remaining. A win by Newman would have given him one of the two wild card spots and knocked Truex Jr. out. Gordon, who was running seventh at the time of the caution, would have made The Chase and eliminated Logano.
But all that changed with Bowyer’s spin.
Newman stopped for four tires, came off pit road in fifth place and was only able to gain two positions with three laps to the checkered flag.
After the race Bowyer rebuffed the idea he aided Truex Jr. by spinning on purpose.
“It’s unfortunate. I know it’s a lot of fun for you guys (media) to write a lot of wacky things. Go ahead, if you want to. Get creative. But don’t look too much into it,” said Bowyer when questioned.
Edwards, Jimmie Johnson, Clint Bowyer, Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch, Kurt Busch, Matt Kenseth, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Greg Biffle and Joey Logano make up the Top 10. Martin Truex Jr. and Kasey Kahne claimed the two wild-card spots.
Race notes: A statement issued by NASCAR following the race read as follows: “NASCAR is reviewing Saturday night’s race at Richmond International Raceway per protocol and has no plans for further statement until that process is complete.”
Noel Lanier has been covering NASCAR since 1995 and provides NASCAR coverage for the S.C. Regional Newspaper Group of Civitas Media LLC. For more racing images, visit www.northbeachphotos.smugmug.com/