In A Nutshell: It was a different verse of the same song Friday night, as Richard Childress Racing again flexed some Busch Series muscle. With Kevin Harvick spending this race on the sidelines, it was Clint Bowyer who took the win in Phoenix, his 1st of the 2007 season. Bowyer found things slipping away when Matt Kenseth got by him on a restart with about 30 laps remaining, but that wasn't the end of the story as far as the No. 2 team was concerned. Bowyer fought back and waged a side-by-side battle with Kenseth, retaking the lead on lap 186 of 200 and holding it until the checkered flag flew. A late restart with seven laps remaining gave Kenseth one more shot, but Bowyer quickly shut the door and drove off, easily leading when a last lap spin by J.J. Yeley brought out the final caution to end the race. Kenseth wound up second followed by Jeff Burton, Denny Hamlin, and Busch Series points leader Carl Edwards rounding out the Top 5.
Who Should Have Won: Clint Bowyer. Kenseth gave it a good try, but Bowyer led early and often throughout the day. While that is not so unusual, Bowyer is one of those guys that just attracts misfortune. He's had many a good run spoiled by misfortune but not this time. This was clearly a driver on a mission with the best car and for once his luck held out as well.
Three Questions You Should Be Asking After the Race Weekend
1) What was Shane Huffman doing all the way down there?
Huffman got bottled up, locked them up, and slid through the inside of turn one and back up into traffic, collecting Aric Almirola and Tony Raines on the first turn of the first lap. Oops!
2) What were the Cup drivers hoping to get out of this race?
The Cup Series is running the Car of Tomorrow in Phoenix while the Busch Series isn't. So what did the 23 Cup drivers in the Busch Series race hope to gain out of running on Friday night?
3) Who would have run if those Cup guys hadn't?
We keep hearing that the entrance of the Car of Tomorrow will help alleviate the Buschwhacker problem by minimizing the advantage of Cup drivers running Busch races. It's too early to tell if that will be the case, but over half of the field this week were Cup drivers. So, if they hadn't run, who would have? Would we have been left with a NASCAR field of only 20 drivers?
Worth Noting/Points Shuffle:
Regan Smith in eighth is the highest finisher that does not run full-time in the Cup Series; however, he is on a part time schedule. If you prefer a driver with no Cup obligations as your highest finishing Busch driver, the next choice is Timothy Peters in 13th.
This was not the best weekend for Raybestos Rookie contenders. Juan Pablo Montoya takes top honors for this week with a 21st place finish.
Carl Edwards just keeps picking them up and putting them down. His fifth place run this week is good enough to keep him a mere 424 points in front of second place Dave Blaney in the race for the points championship. Kevin Harvick remains third, 449 points off the lead, but has run only seven of nine races. Matt Kenseth holds down fourth, also with only seven starts, while David Reutimann rounds out the Top 5.
Kyle Busch, another part-timer with only seven starts, sits sixth, while the full time Busch drivers are lined up right behind him. Mike Wallace is best among Busch only competitors in seventh with Marcos Ambrose holding down eighth and representing the freshman. Bobby Hamilton, Jr. slid back two spots to ninth while Denny Hamlin, with only six Busch Series starts this season, completes the Top 10.
Buschwhackers in this race: 23
Starting spots taken by Buschwhackers YTD: 184 of 385
Buschwhackers finishing in Top 10: 9
Buschwhackers finishing in Top 10 YTD: 72 of 90
Races won by Buschwhackers YTD: 9 of 9
Buschwhackers ranked in Top 10 in Busch Series points standings: 7
"It was a lot of fun. I hope the fans enjoyed the race between Clint and Matt, that was pretty neat." Carl Edwards
"He was doing a great job on the bottom. I couldn't run down there, and I got real loose off of four that lap. And drove beside him a little bit, but he didn't quite leave me a whole lot of room to get through there, and then the next corner we went through there and I just got too loose to hang on. I was doing everything I could and he was doing everything he could. It was a heck of a race." Matt Kenseth
"The 5 and whoever got in the wall there coming out of 4 there and I went low and the 5 came right across the track before I could get up any. I ran into him, busted the radiator. A brake line or something must have been cut because coming back through I'm sorry I got into the back of the 24 of Casey. I'd never do anything like that under caution." David Ragan
"I was completely clear and Steven [Wallace] just tried to out brake myself, out brake himself and wrecked everybody like he always does. And he just keeps doing it. Every time he's around somebody there's always a wreck. You know, lucky enough I didn't lose the car there and he did. That is funny. It's been a couple of races where it's been like that, that I should have been the guy getting spin and I'm not. At least I'm happy about that." Juan Pablo Montoya
Next Up: It's a high speed chess match on the wide open spaces of Talladega Superspeedway for the Aaron's 312 next weekend. Coverage is scheduled to start at 2:30 PM EDT on ABC on Saturday, April 28th.
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