Another Top Five Adds FUEL to Bowyer's Race to the Chase Fire SPEEDWAY, Ind. -- Clint Bowyer and the No. 33 Wheaties FUEL Chevrolet team earned their second consecutive top-five finish with a fourth-place effort in Sunday's Brickyard 400 at ...
Another Top Five Adds FUEL to Bowyer's Race to the Chase Fire
SPEEDWAY, Ind. -- Clint Bowyer and the No. 33 Wheaties FUEL Chevrolet team earned their second consecutive top-five finish with a fourth-place effort in Sunday's Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
With six races remaining before the 12-man Chase for the Sprint Cup begins, Bowyer remains 12th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series point standings, 62 markers forward of Mark Martin in 13th and 16 points behind Greg Biffle in 11th.
The Shane Wilson-led team brought a brand new Chevrolet Impala to Indy and kicked off the weekend by posting the 13th- and fourth-fastest speeds, respectively, in Friday's dual practice session. The following morning, Bowyer toured the historic 2.5-mile Indiana oval in 49.582 seconds (181.517 mph) in qualifying and secured the sixth starting spot for Sunday's 400-mile race. Following Saturday time trials session, the Emporia, Kan., native continued to prove that he had a strong Wheaties FUEL Chevy, as he posted the second- and third-fastest speeds, respectively, in the weekend's final two practices. The No. 33 team left the track Saturday evening confident they were prepared to potentially win the 17th running of the Brickyard 400.
An estimated 140,000 race fans were on hand as the green flag dropped to begin Sunday's 160-lap affair shortly after 1:15 p.m. local time. Bowyer maintained the sixth position in the opening laps until debris brought out the yellow flag, which coincided with NASCAR's competition caution, on lap 15. The two-time NSCS race winner hit pit road on the ensuing lap, taking on four tires, fuel and minor air pressure adjustment. Several competitors elected to take only right-side tires, lining Bowyer up in 11th for the lap-20 restart.
Bowyer methodically worked his way around seven competitors over the next 26 circuits and was scored fourth when he made a green-flag pit stop on lap 48. Quick pit work, by way of the Helping Hands over-the-wall pit crew, allowed Bowyer to maintain the fourth position once the field had cycled through pit stops on lap 52.
The 31-year-old RCR driver continued to run in the fourth spot for 85 of the next 87 laps, only losing the position during a round of green-flag pit stops between laps 98 and 100. He retained the position on lap 100 and remained there until the caution flag was displayed for debris on lap 138. Wilson and Bowyer elected to take four tires, based on earlier success with their four-tire decision, while six other competitors took on right-side tires. The black and orange colored No. 33 machine took the green flag ninth for the lap-142 restart.
Once racing resumed, the Wheaties FUEL driver picked off three spots in just five laps. He was sixth when the race's sixth and final yellow flag was displayed on lap 147. This set the stage for an 11-lap shootout to the checkers. Bowyer raced his way past two more competitors in the closing laps, taking the checkered flag fourth.
Jaime McMurray, powered by Earnhardt-Childress Racing Engines, earned his second victory of the 2010 season and became only the third driver to win both the Daytona 500 and Brickyard 400 in the same year. Bowyer's RCR teammate Kevin Harvick finished second, while Greg Biffle finished third. Bowyer crossed the start/finish line fourth, Tony Stewart finished fifth and fellow RCR stablemate Jeff Burton came home sixth.
Next weekend, the NSCS will head to Pocono Raceway for the second and final time of the season. Bowyer led 59 laps and finished ninth the last time NASCAR's senior tour visited the 'Tricky Triangle' in June.
"I had a lot of fun out there today. The Wheaties FUEL Chevrolet was strong all weekend long. Shane Wilson (crew chief) and the entire No. 33 team put a lot of time and effort into this chassis. Their hard work paid off with a good points day for us. We just need to continue having solid runs like these over the next six races."