Clint Bowyer claimed the rain shortened Sharpie Mini 300 win at the Bristol Motor Speedway Saturday. Despite the race being cut 129 laps from the scheduled distance Bowyer had the dominant car. He led the way in his No. 2 BB&T Chevrolet for 124...
Clint Bowyer claimed the rain shortened Sharpie Mini 300 win at the Bristol Motor Speedway Saturday. Despite the race being cut 129 laps from the scheduled distance Bowyer had the dominant car. He led the way in his No. 2 BB&T Chevrolet for 124 of the run 171 laps.
"I was just excited to come to this racetrack. It makes for a good race. This is the one, if you win here you did your homework, you had a good car and you were smart on the racetrack, smart in the pits and did everything right," Bowyer said.
"At the start of the race I told Clint we were going to try to get the lead and lead to lap 150 (halfway) and see what happens. At about 140 on my radar it said it should have been raining and it wasn't. It all worked out for us. If it looked like it was going to clear up we were going to have to come in and pit," crew chief Dan Deeringhoff said of his decision to keep Bowyer on track under the last caution flag.
NASCAR called the remainder of the event after a lingering rain fell over the half-mile track. Even with lights at the facility, by the looks of the radar, there was no hope to reach the finish. This is the first time a Nationwide Series event has ever been cut short due to inclement weather.
Kasey Kahne finished second to Bowyer in the called event. Once the race was official Kahne felt as if he had given the victory to Bowyer, stressing that he had a better car.
"The Ragu Dodge was fast. I got to Clint. He was wide. His car was wide. He did everything to hold me up. I just didn't do my job," Kahne said. "There was plenty of opportunity to get by if I wanted to force the opportunity."
"He had the best car and I had to make it as wide as I could. We knew the weather was coming and it was only a matter of time. You're basically racing for the win there," Bowyer added of Kahne.
David Reutimann, Brad Keselowski and Mike Bliss were the top five. The fourth place finish was a career best for JR Motorsports driver Keselowski.
Jason Leffler, Kevin Harvick, David Ragan, David Stremme and Mike Wallace rounded out the top 10. For the second week in a row Harvick's Kevin Harvick Inc. No. 33 team faltered on pitroad under a pitstop on lap 95. Harvick had to make an additional stop after the team failed to tighten all of the lugnuts on the right and left sides of his Chevrolet.
Last weekend in Atlanta Harvick finished second to Matt Kenseth and held a lot of the blame towards his pitcrew after having a slow stop under the last round of pitstops.
Favorites entering the event, past winners Martin Truex, Jr. and the hot as of late Kyle Busch wrecked on lap 14. Truex checked up to avoid the slower car of Carl Edwards, who was battling a loose condition, and spun after contact from behind from David Ragan. Busch had nowhere to go but into the spinning machine of Truex.
There were seven yellow flag periods including the final period on lap 164 for the rain.
Rain plagued the Nationwide events throughout the weekend and for the second week in a row the field was set based on 2007 owner point standings. Last weekend in Atlanta the field was set after snow knocked out time trials. This weekend qualifying was knocked out on Friday after weather forced the cancellation of practice. Rather than qualifying Saturday NASCAR decided to give the teams an hour and a half of practice.
Following the practice sessions for both the Nationwide and Sprint Cup Series rain fell over the racetrack delaying the start of the race by two hours. Once past halfway mark of 150 the caution flag was forced for rain. The field ran seven laps under the caution flag before being led down pitroad under red flag conditions. There was one attempt to restart the event but immediately after the engines were refired and the jet driers pulled off of the racing surface, the skies opened up.
Sprint Cup and the Craftsman Truck Series are off next weekend with the Nationwide teams carrying the NASCAR banner on the 1.33-mile Nashville Superspeedway.