Bowyer wins rain shortened Nationwide race
The winning move for Clint Bowyer in Saturday’s Sharpie Mini 300 Nationwide Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway was simply staying on the track when the rain started.
|Clint Bowyer passes pole sitter Scott Wimmer en route to winning the Sharpie Mini 300 at Bristol Motor Speedway|
|Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR|
Bowyer and the eight cars behind him in the final running order remained on the track when NASCAR called the seventh caution of the race on lap 164, after a light sprinkle turned to heavy rain. After seven more laps under caution, Bowyer waited out a stoppage of approximately 47 minutes before NASCAR called the race and declared him the winner.
It was Bowyer’s fifth victory in the Nationwide Series and his first at Bristol. Kasey Kahne was credited with the runner-up finish, followed by David Reutimann, Brad Keselowski and Mike Bliss. Jason Leffler, Kevin
Harvick, David Ragan, David Stremme and Mike Wallace completed the top 10.
“It’s awesome -- I take it any way I can get it,” Bowyer said. “Kasey raced me clean. He had the best car, but it’s not always the best car that wins. It’s just special. This is a racetrack that’s always been special to me ever since I’ve come here. It’s hard to race on, and you’ve earned it every time you roll into victory lane.”
Kahne had dogged Bowyer for more than 40 laps as the top two cars worked lapped traffic until NASCAR called the seventh caution on Lap 164.
“I should have pressed the issue a little more,” Kahne said ruefully, as he sat in his No. 9 Dodge during the rain delay. “I had the best car. I should be leading right now. I let him have it…
“I was just trying to do everything I could to get by him without running through him. Then the rain came.”
Bowyer’s No. 2 Chevy had led 119 laps to that point, in a race that had seen the cars of Martin Truex Jr. and Kyle Busch eliminated in the early going.
In what may be his only ride of the year in the No. 5 JR Motorsports Chevrolet co-owned by his friend Dale Earnhardt Jr., Truex checked up behind Carl Edwards and spun on Lap 13. Truex’s momentum carried him
back up the track and into the path of Busch’s No. 32 Toyota.
Busch tried to avoid the spinning Chevy to the outside, but clipped Truex’s car and slammed the outside wall in Turn 3.
“I feel bad for those guys,” Truex said of the No. 5 team. “I wanted to do a good job for them. I feel pretty stupid running 10 laps and wrecking.”
Notes: After seven laps of caution for rain, NASCAR red-flagged the race after Lap 171 as the rain intensified. … One of the strongest cars in the early going, Harvick’s No. 33 Chevy had to return to the pits after stopping under caution on Lap 102 when one of his tire changers failed to secure a lug nut. That dropped Harvick to 19th in the running order, but by the time rain halted the race, he had worked his way back to seventh. … Reutimann posted his third Nationwide top-10 of 2008 and his third in four races at Bristol. ... Keselowski's fourth-place finish was a career-best in the series.