A black cat didn't cross under a ladder but the curse of Friday the 13th certainly took its bite out of the Dollar General 300 at Lowe's Motor Speedway. After a bizarre string of incidents Dave Blaney and Kevin Harvick ended the night as the most...
A black cat didn't cross under a ladder but the curse of Friday the 13th certainly took its bite out of the Dollar General 300 at Lowe's Motor Speedway. After a bizarre string of incidents Dave Blaney and Kevin Harvick ended the night as the most fortunate.
Blaney won the race. Harvick clinched the Busch series title.
"I just don't believe it," said Blaney. "That was fun. That was a crazy night. We had a good car for awhile and a bad car for awhile. We had a flat tire but got the lucky dog at the right time. I knew what I had to do to hold Matt (Kenseth) off but I didn't know if I could do it."
The controversy boiled over late in the race when Casey Mears had the lead and pitted giving up the lead to Carl Edwards. But Mears made a quick stop, did not get tires, and blended in ahead of Edwards on the track because NASCAR made a mistake with the light at the end of pit road, turning it red then green then red.
Edwards should have been the leader but Mears was scored in the top spot. With 10 to go, NASCAR halted the field under a red flag so they could sort out timing and scoring. After a five-minute think tank amongst the powers that be, the error was corrected and Mears was scored second and Edwards as the leader.
The race finally restarted with eight to go as Mears breathed down Edwards' bumper, trying to regain the lead. Mears' charge was slowed when a caution fell at lap 193, setting up a furious dash for the checkers with five to go.
With three to go, Mears attempted to get by Edwards on the inside, wrecking them both.
"It's not the way I wanted it to happen," said Mears. "We had a better car there at the end, Carl was doing all he could to keep it on the bottom. I got loose off and took him out. I feel bad for him but we were going for the win. One of Carl's guys had words for me but he kept walking off. The last thing I wanted to do is take him out."
The Mears/Edwards wreck brought out the third red flag of the event as they cleaned the track to set up a green/white/checker finish.
"If that had been the last lap that would have been the coolest finish ever," laughed Edwards.
The wreck gave the lead to Dave Blaney as the field restarted with just five cars on the lead lap. Matt Kenseth, who had started second, challenged Blaney door-to-door, but Blaney would not give up the position, and Kenseth spun in the final turn of the final lap.
It was Blaney's first win in any of NASCAR's series. Michael Waltrip, Stacy Compton, Kenseth and Danny O'Quinn complete the top five.
"That was one mess of a race," said Kenseth.
Kevin Harvick mathematically clinched his second career Busch series championship, "This is really awesome. What a year it has been."
It was a crazy night for Harvick as well who went three laps down with a flat tire mid-race. He needed to finish 32 points ahead of Edwards, which looked impossible until Edwards wrecked out. Harvick wound up finishing ninth, with a 775-point lead in the standings.