Sunday, October 23, 2011

Bowyer Wins Childress' 100th

Clint Bowyer, who is leaving Richard Childress Racing at the end of the season, has solidified himself in the RCR history books; he has won Childress' 100th race in the Sprint Cup Series.  Clint Bowyer has said that he wanted to win a race with RCR before he left for Michael Waltrip Racing, and he was able to do it Sunday at Talladega.  On the final restart, Bowyer and RCR teammate Jeff Burton took off from the rest of the field.  As other drivers were swapping positions to get with their partners, the tandem of Burton and Bowyer left the field in the dust.  Entering the trioval coming to the checkered flag, Bowyer jumped out from behind Burton to try for the win.  Some very un-teammate-like bumping and banging ensued as they raced toward the start-finish line, but Bowyer had enough speed to take the victory.  The win was Bowyer's 5th career victory, and possibly his last with Richard Childress Racing.

Clint Bowyer beats Jeff Burton to the line at Talladega (Photo courtesy Getty Images)
 This race was the real wildcard race in the Chase for the Sprint Cup.  Brad Keselowski, Tony Stewart, Denny Hamlin, Carl Edwards, and Matt Kenseth were the Chase drivers who finished inside the Top 20.  Denny Hamlin's eighth-place finish was particularly amazing.  At one point, Hamlin found himself a lap down after he was the only driver who did not have a drafting partner.  Eventually, after receiving the lucky dog, he was able to hook up with multiple drivers on his way to his good finish.

Talladega was not as kind to the other Chase drivers.  Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jimmie Johnson, and Jeff Gordon finished 26th, 27th, and 28th, respectively.  Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch were involved in a wreck, and finished 32nd and 33rd.  Kurt Busch had the same problems that befell his little brother, and wrecked on Lap 173; he would finish 36th.  Ryan Newman was also involved in a wreck, and finished 38th.

Juan Pablo Montoya makes contact with Kyle Busch after their wreck. (Photo courtesy Getty Images)
 When the series stops at Talladega, there is always talk of drivers who run well who don't run up front often.  Such was the case for Dave Blaney, who finished 3rd.  This was Tommy Baldwin Racing's first Top 10 in 87 races.  Michael Waltrip, in a rare Sprint Cup Series appearance, finished 9th. 

This race at Talladega shook up the Chase, just like everyone expected.  But one thing didn't change; Carl Edwards is still atop the Sprint Cup standings.  After the Good Sam Club 500, here are the point standings, courtesy of

This race had very interesting implications on the Chase for the Sprint Cup.  And next week promises to be no different.  The Cup Series will go from the biggest track to the smallest track, and race at Martinsville.  It would be very possible for a Chase driver to get into a wreck that wasn't their doing.  The Chase picture will become a bit more clear next week, when one driver comes a little closer to hoisting the Sprint Cup Trophy.

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