Bowyer a big loser when late race move fails
Clint Bowyer figured he was in line for a fourth-place
Then he was looking at a chance at victory, and when he went for
it – and failed – the fingers pointed every which way.
It was Bowyer’s move to the inside of Jeff Gordon and Jimmie
Johnson entering Turn One that wound up wiping out all three of
them on the penultimate restart, but Bowyer said he had a boost
from behind from Ryan Newman to help him.
He also was one of many wondering exactly what David Reutimann
was doing as he circled the track with no brakes and the race
winding down, and then stopped in a precarious spot just before
Turn One to bring out the caution that changed everything.
”He drove around there for 10 laps with no brakes and finally
just stopped,” Bowyer said. ”That was ridiculous.”
It irked Brad Keselowski, too. He ran near the lead all day, but
wound up ninth.
”That was really, really uncalled for and ruined the day for a
lot of people,” he said.
The caution allowed everyone but Gordon, who was leading, and
Johnson, who was second, to stop for at least two tires. The two
Hendrick Motorsports cars had dominated the day, but the new rubber
behind them made their ability to hold on questionable.
On the restart, the cars chasing bunched up quickly, and mayhem
”They had the cars to beat. They should have won the race and
we should have finished fourth there, but that’s just the nature of
the beast,” he said, adding that Gordon, on old tires, spun them
on the restart, and Bowyer went where Newman was heading.
”If I didn’t go down there, (Newman) had already hit me in the
rear and he was going to. I did and (Newman) won.”
.Newman said he’s been on the opposite end of such scenarios,
too, and made no apologies.
”Like I said, we’ve lost them that way hands down several
times. It’s nice to be able to win one,” he said.
Reutimann said he was trying to stay in the top 35 in points,
which guarantees him a spot in the next race, and was very
apologetic for what happened, and how it changed the outcome for so
”They gave me a black flag. We were coming to pit road and it
shut off,” he said. ”And that’s as far as I could go.”
Gordon, meanwhile, seemed to take his lost opportunity in stride
once Bowyer explained what had happened.
”That’s Martinsville, green-white-checkered,” he said. ”There
are no guarantees at this place.”
HELLO, NEWMAN: Bowyer wasn’t thrilled with Newman for bumping
him into the melee at the end, but second-place finisher A.J.
Allmendinger could hardly have been more complimentary of the way
Newman raced him on the final two-lap sprint.
”He didn’t run me up the racetrack. He ran me as clean as could
be,” he said.
HAMPERED HAMLIN: Denny Hamlin has won four times at
Martinsville, but tried something new Sunday.
”We just tried a new setup trying to see if we could make some
big gains for the fall and just didn’t have it all figured out
today,” he said. ”We brought a new car here and it looks like it
needs some different things than what we typically run.”
Hamlin led twice for 31 laps, and finished sixth.
AND BABY MAKES … WORK: Kevin Harvick is a whole lot more
relaxed at the track these days now that he’s no longer juggling
his driving duties and the one he had as an owner and sometimes
driver in the truck series.
”There’s a lot of things going on,” he said. ”I really
haven’t missed it at all and really underestimated how big of a
relief it would actually be. So, it’s been great and I still get to
drive the cars and trucks, and enjoy that part of it. I get to be
more a part of my Cup team off the race track, in the trailer, and
at the shop. That part of it is going well.”
With wife DeLana expecting their first child, there’s plenty of
activity at home.
”Well right now they are working on nurseries, playrooms, and
the back yard has been completely dismantled,” Harvick said of
baby-proofing efforts. ”It’s a pile of dirt now. We’re digging out
swimming pools and all kinds of stuff to start working in that
direction. Everything from baby gates, to dingers on elevators, you
name it. There’s a lot that’s being changed. It’s been fun though.
It’s fun to walk up there and see his clothes sitting in the closet
and know that its real and coming that direction pretty fast.
”The time is going by pretty quick.”
A growing family also gives him another thing to talk about with
fellow racers who also are parents.
”With the baby coming, there’s a lot more that you can relate
to with the guys in the garage. That’s kind of fun, and fun to talk
about experiences that they’ve had, and try to get a little insight
on things that are going around. You never know what kind of
conversation is going to pop up when you’re riding around. It
depends on how long the ride is. It won’t be long here.”
PIT STOPS: The 515 laps and 270.89 miles made the race the
longest in Martinsville history in terms of distance. … The seven
cautions for 56 laps were the lowest on the 0.526-mile oval since
there also were seven on Sept. 22, 1996. … Gordon’s 328 laps led
were the most by a non-winner since Rusty Wallace led 343 on April
9, 2000, and finished 10th. Gordon finished 14th. … Newman’s
victory was the 16th of his career and first at Martinsville.