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Bowyer nips Harvick with last lap crash

NASCAR Sprint Cup at Talladega
Sunday, October 31, 2010

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Clint Bowyer celebrates
CIA Stock Photo
In a win that was vindication for Clint Bowyer, all three leading Chase contenders dodged potential trouble Sunday at Talladega Superspeedway as the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup tightened dramatically.

Bowyer had nosed ahead of Richard Childress Racing teammate Kevin Harvick in Turn 1 on the 188th and final lap of the Amp Energy Juice 500 when a violent wreck behind them sent AJ Allmendinger upside down into the inside wall, caused the fifth caution of the race and froze the field as it ran.

By virtue of his runner-up finish, Harvick trimmed his points deficit to Chase leader Jimmie Johnson to 38 points. On the strength of a late surge from the rear of the field, Johnson came home seventh, two positions ahead of Denny Hamlin, his closest pursuer in the championship battle.

Johnson leads Hamlin by 14 points with three races left in the Chase.

The victory—Bowyer’s first at a restrictor-plate track—was his second of the Chase, his second this season and the fourth of his career. It also eased the sting of a 150-point penalty after his win in the first Chase race at New Hampshire, when his car failed post-race inspection by 60 thousandths of an inch.

The anxious moments for Hamlin began on Lap 77 when he was shuffled to the back of the field and lost the draft. Falling behind at a rate of almost four seconds per lap, Hamlin’s No. 11 Toyota went a lap down when Harvick passed him through Turns 1 and 2 on Lap 105.

Hamlin didn’t recover the lost circuit until Lap 144, when he got a free pass back to the lead lap under caution for a seven-car wreck on the backstretch that damaged the front end of Harvick’s No. 29 and the rear of Johnson’s No. 48.

The damage, however wasn’t sufficient to hurt either car significantly, and throughout the remainder of the race, all three drivers worked their way toward the front.

Results

FIN ST CAR DRIVER MAKE SPONSOR PTS/BNS LAPS STATUS
1 2 33 Clint Bowyer Chevrolet BB&T 185/5 188 Running
2 14 29 Kevin Harvick Chevrolet Realtree / Shell - Pennzoil 180/5 188 Running
3 21 00 David Reutimann Toyota Aaron's Dream Machine 170/5 188 Running
4 1 42 Juan Montoya Chevrolet Target 165/5 188 Running
5 25 20 Joey Logano Toyota The Home Depot 160/5 188 Running
6 18 56 Martin Truex Jr. Toyota NAPA Auto Parts 155/5 188 Running
7 19 48 Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet Lowe's 151/5 188 Running
8 17 11 Denny Hamlin Toyota FedEx Freight 147/5 188 Running
9 11 12 Brad Keselowski Dodge Penske Racing 143/5 188 Running
10 31 24 Jeff Gordon Chevrolet National Guard / DuPont 139/5 188 Running
11 30 5 Mark Martin Chevrolet GoDaddy.com 135/5 188 Running
12 38 98 Paul Menard Ford Serta / Menards 132/5 188 Running
13 39 78 Regan Smith Chevrolet Furniture Row Companies 124/0 188 Running
14 10 77 Sam Hornish Jr. Dodge Mobil 1 126/5 188 Running
15 33 19 Elliott Sadler Ford Hunt Brothers Pizza 123/5 188 Running
16 27 17 Matt Kenseth Ford Crown Royal Black 120/5 188 Running
17 23 99 Carl Edwards Ford Subway 117/5 188 Running
18 42 7 Robby Gordon Toyota Speed Energy 109/0 188 Running
19 34 16 Greg Biffle Ford 3M 106/0 188 Running
20 22 71 Chad McCumbee Chevrolet ModSpace / TRG Motorsports 103/0 188 Running
21 37 9 Aric Almirola Ford Budweiser 105/5 188 Running
22 8 39 Ryan Newman Chevrolet U.S. Army 97/0 188 Running
23 9 13 Casey Mears Toyota GEICO 94/0 188 Running
24 28 6 David Ragan Ford UPS "We Love Logistics" 91/0 188 Running
25 32 18 Kyle Busch Toyota M&M's 93/5 188 Running
26 20 55 Michael Waltrip Toyota Aaron's 55th Anniversary 90/5 188 Running
27 16 83 Kasey Kahne Toyota Red Bull 87/5 188 Running
28 4 87 Joe Nemechek Toyota HostGator.com 84/5 188 Running
29 29 82 Scott Speed Toyota Red Bull 76/0 188 Running
30 3 2 Kurt Busch Dodge Operation Home Front / Miller Lite 78/5 188 Running
31 26 14 Tony Stewart Chevrolet Office Depot / Old Spice 70/0 188 Running
32 36 43 A.J. Allmendinger Ford Valvoline 67/0 188 Running
33 40 37 David Gilliland Ford Taco Bell 64/0 188 Running
34 35 47 Marcos Ambrose Toyota Kleenex / Clorox 66/5 188 Running
35 15 46 Michael McDowell Chevrolet Whitney's Collision Centers 58/0 186 Running
36 12 1 Jamie McMurray Chevrolet Bass Pro Shops Dale Earnhardt Tribute 60/5 183 Running
37 41 34 Robert Richardson Jr. Ford A&W All American Food 52/0 180 Running
38 24 09 Bobby Labonte Chevrolet Komatsu / Tractor & Equipment Company 49/0 172 In Pit
39 6 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Chevrolet The Legend of Hallowdega Amp Energy Juice / National Guard 56/10 163 Running
40 43 26 Bill Elliott Ford Air National Guard 43/0 140 Running
41 5 31 Jeff Burton Chevrolet Cat Financial 45/5 133 Running
42 7 36 Dave Blaney Chevrolet Tommy Baldwin Racing 37/0 12 In Pit
43 13 197 Jeff Fuller Toyota HeatRedefined.com 34/0 2 In Pit

* Denotes Rookie

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