Bowyer edges Burton for Talladega win
Talladega, AL (Sports Network) - In what turned out to be another frantic
finish at Talladega Superspeedway, Clint Bowyer made a winning pass on his
Richard Childress Racing teammate Jeff Burton on the final lap to take
Sunday's Good Sam Club 500.
Both Bowyer and Burton were hooked up in a two-car tandem for most of the 500-
mile race at Talladega. Regan Smith's hard crash into the outside wall during
the closing laps set up a two-lap sprint to the finish. After the final
restart, Bowyer and Burton quickly pulled away from the field.
As the two RCR drivers came out of the last turn on the final lap, Bowyer dove
underneath Burton to take the lead. He crossed the finish line 0.018 seconds
ahead of Burton for his first win of the season and the fifth of his Sprint
Cup Series career. Bowyer also won last year's fall race at this 2.66-mile
"It was a good day, and I want to thank my teammate Jeff Burton," Bowyer said.
"We were just really good together. We thought about it, and we talked about
it a lot before the race, and things really did play out the way we planned.
We were really good on the restarts, getting together and getting bunched up
before the other cars, and I think that's what ultimately won the race."
Bowyer also gave team owner Richard Childress his 100th win in NASCAR's
"It means a lot to me to get all of these guys back in victory lane before we
cap off this season," Bowyer noted.
Bowyer is leaving RCR at the end of the year and heading to Michael Waltrip
Racing for the 2012 season. He has driven for Childress' team in both the
Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series since 2004.
"We put ourselves in position to win the race, and Clint did a great job,"
Burton said. "I thought he made the move a little too early, but it turned out
that he did it perfectly."
Burton was attempting to snap a three-year winless streak in the series. His
last victory came in October 2008 at Charlotte (108 races ago).
"Part of me wants to cheer, and part of me wants to cry," he added.
Bowyer and Burton did not qualify for this year's Chase for the Sprint Cup
championship. Both drivers made the playoffs in 2010.
Dave Blaney, driving for Tommy Baldwin Racing, finished a surprising third,
while Brad Keselowski was the highest finisher among the 12 Chase drivers with
a fourth-place run. Red Bull Racing teammates Brian Vickers and Kasey Kahne
took the fifth and sixth positions, respectively.
Carl Edwards finished 11th and increased his lead to 14 points over new
second-place and Roush Fenway Racing teammate Matt Kenseth, who placed 18th.
It's the largest points lead in the Chase so far.
Edwards partnered with teammate Greg Biffle in the two-car draft during the
race, which featured 72 lead changes among 26 drivers.
"This race is insane," Edwards said. "During that last dash to the finish,
Greg and I laid back, and we wanted to get a Ford into victory lane. We just
thought we would do best by staying out of the wrecks. Man, he just does an
unbelievable job. The communication was unreal. I just hope we can work
together in these races from now on."
Keselowski is now 18 points out of the lead, while Tony Stewart trails by 19
markers. Stewart finished seventh. He led the most laps with 30.
Jimmie Johnson finished 26th and fell 50 points behind Edwards. Just four
races remain, with the series heading to Martinsville Speedway -- the shortest
track on the schedule -- next weekend.
Other Chase drivers and their finishing positions include: Denny Hamlin (8th),
Dale Earnhardt Jr. (25th), Jeff Gordon (27th), Kevin Harvick (32nd), Kyle
Busch (33rd), Kurt Busch (36th) and Ryan Newman (38th).
The race also featured nine cautions, including Smith's serious wreck on lap
181. Smith hit the wall head-on after he bumped into Hamlin and pole sitter
Mark Martin. He walked away from the incident unscathed.
"That wasn't a fun hit, but that's what happens at restrictor-plate tracks,"
Smith said. "Unfortunately, you get caught up in other people's messes."
Safety had been a major concern in this race, following the death of race car
driver Dan Wheldon in a 15-car accident during last Sunday's IndyCar race at
Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Prior to the start of the Talladega race, drivers, teams and fans observed a
moment of silence for Wheldon, a two-time Indianapolis 500 winner and former
10/23 19:36:39 ET
Powered by The Sports Network.