Martinsville II: Clint Bowyer race report

Late Penalty Ends Top-10 Run for Bowyer at Martinsville CONCORD, N.C. -- Clint Bowyer appeared to have a top-10 finish lined up in Sunday's Tums Fast Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway, but after being hit with a late-race speeding penalty ...

Late Penalty Ends Top-10 Run for Bowyer at Martinsville

CONCORD, N.C. -- Clint Bowyer appeared to have a top-10 finish lined up in Sunday's Tums Fast Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway, but after being hit with a late-race speeding penalty exiting pit road, Bowyer was credited with a 19th-place finish that does not reflect the strong performance of the BB&T Racing Team.

Despite the less-than-desired result, Bowyer maintained the 15th position in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series point standings with just four races remaining in the 2009 season.

Bowyer recorded the seventh-fastest time in Thursday's opening practice session and, later that afternoon, ran a lap of 19.742 seconds, at an average speed of 95.917 mph, to place him 19th on the starting grid for Sunday's race.

The Emporia, Kan., native wasted little time showing the strength of his BB&T Impala SS in the early going's of Sunday's 500-mile event, advancing to the 10th position at lap 32. Despite changing weather conditions that altered the handling of his Chevrolet, Bowyer continued to hold his place inside the top 10 for the first half of the event.

Despite a lack of overall grip that hindered his ability to exit the corners, Bowyer continued to hold his own over the second half of the event. As drivers began to hit pit road for their final scheduled service of the day under green-flag conditions, Bowyer followed suit at lap 418 to take on four tires and fuel. As he exited pit road, NASCAR reported that the No. 33 Chevy was going too fast exiting pit road, resulting in a pass-through penalty. Despite the unfortunate circumstance, Bowyer was able to gain positions in the closing laps of the event to finish 19th.

Virginia native Denny Hamlin captured his third win of the 2009 season, beating Jimmie Johnson to the checkered flag. Juan Pablo Montoya, Kyle Busch and Jeff Gordon rounded out the top-five finishers.

Bowyer's RCR teammates Kevin Harvick, Jeff Burton and Casey Mears finished 10th, 15th and 18th, respectively.

Next weekend, NASCAR's senior circuit heads to Talladega Superspeedway for the final restrictor plate race of the season.

CLINT BOWYER:

"That's a disappointing end to a really good day. Our BB&T Chevrolet was fast all day. We had a top-10 finish coming, there's no doubt about that. I was too fast exiting pit road and that took away the finish we deserved. I hate it for all the guys on this team. They were awesome today on pit road. It's definitely not the way we wanted to end our day at Martinsville."

-credit: rcr

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Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Juan Pablo Montoya