To The Point: Two rain delays and 12 cautions made this one a marathon but amazingly NASCAR managed to get in all 250 laps. Ryan Newman played his strategy to perfection to end up in the right place at the right time. Namely the lead. Newman held of all would-be challengers to rack up his third consecutive win in the Busch Series. Greg Biffle came home second followed by Kevin Harvick, Clint Bowyer, and Johnny Sauter.
Who Should Have Won: Ryan Newman. Newman ran near the front but never had the fastest car and yet once he got the lead, he held off all who would take it away from him. I’m sure Kasey Kahne is still trying to figure out how he was the one to end up spinning out after trying to nudge Newman out of the way. Newman was also a genius on restarts, keeping those behind him guessing and preventing them from making any type of move on him. Despite the complaints of some behind him, Newman was within the rules on each and every restart, but his cat that swallowed the canary grin when asked about it in Victory Lane confirms it was no accident that he hit the gas at a slightly different point each time. For using intelligence and bulldog determination to hold off the likes of Greg Biffle and Kevin Harvick, Newman deserved that win.
Three Questions You Should Be Asking After the Race Weekend
1) Should a team that is caught blatantly cheating before a race be allowed to run at all?
2) If NASCAR states things will happen one way on the track in the pre-race driver’s meeting and then varies from that procedure for no obvious reason, should any consideration be given to that fact when deciding on penalties during the race?
3) Martin Truex Jr. is making a habit of having problems that send him to the back of the field and having to run in catch up mode. How long can a team continue to make mistakes like this and still stay in championship contention? Does that make him a more or less worthy champion if he does win it?
Worth Noting/Points Shuffle:
Championship leader Martin Truex Jr. finished sixth but did it the hard way again after a penalty sent him to the back of the field. Truex was one of four lead cars who headed for the pits before they were open. Although Truex realized his mistake and tried to get back on the track before actually entering the pit lane, he’d already passed the commitment line and was penalized right along with then leader Kyle Busch, Dale Earnhardt Jr., and Paul Menard who all continued in and received service. Truex and Earnhardt, who finished seventh, managed to recover while Busch got caught up in an accident and Menard hit the wall.
The big story of the weekend was illegal tire tampering by the No. 41 team of Reed Sorenson. NASCAR caught a tire specialist from the team illegally applying a foreign substance to the tires just after practice. All of the teams tires were confiscated, crew chief Brian Pattie and the tire specialist were removed from the speedway, and Sorenson was not permitted to post a qualifying time. The team was allowed to purchase new tires and Sorenson started from the back of the field. He went on to finish 11th even without the presence of his crew chief.
Points leader Martin Truex Jr. managed to minimize what could have been a huge hit in his points lead by finishing just two spots behind second place contender Clint Bowyer. Truex still maintains a lead of 194 points over Bowyer.
In the first change in quite some time among the top five, Denny Hamlin moves up into fifth while Kenny Wallace slides back one spot to sixth.
Paul Menard lost the ground he’d picked up last week after a 41st place result and slides back two spots to ninth. David Green moves back up to seventh and David Stremme retakes eighth.
Jason Keller picked up two spots to reenter the top ten in tenth place while Ashton Lewis drops out and back to 11th.
"The REESE’S Chevy was really good. All the cautions at the end of the race didn’t help us much. We would have given Ryan Newman a run for the money if we could have kept the green flag out longer than five laps at a time." Kevin Harvick
"Ryan had a great car. The Duraflame car ran really good tonight. He was just protecting bottom and that’s Bristol; that’s what you’ve got to do. He was protecting the bottom quite a bit, and we were pretty much faster than he was, and so was Kevin Harvick behind me. He (Harvick) was putting a lot of pressure on me, but I couldn’t go anywhere with Ryan Newman protecting the bottom. It was a good night for us. We wanted to finish better than what we did. Kevin let me go a few times there. I didn’t see him beside me on that restart, but that’s Bristol." Greg Biffle
"It’s days like today that remind me about why drivers hate this track. You can prepare as much as you want, but in the end, it’s a driver’s track and no amount of preparation can prepare you for what happens out there." David Green, 27th place finisher and victim of two wrecks.
"We practiced and qualified well and had a pretty solid outing in the race. If you can avoid the wrecks and finish on the lead lap here, chances are that you’re going to have a decent finish." Jason Keller after finishing 12th.
"It was a long night, but I’m glad we got it in. We sure didn’t want to come back on Monday to complete the race. Time at the shop and at home is valuable for all of us. We have to get ready for the California race on Saturday. It would have made it very difficult if we had to stay in Bristol for two extra days." Jason Keller
Next Up: It’s another west coast swing for the Busch Series as they accompany the Nextel Cup Series to Fontana, California for the Labor Day holiday weekend. The Ameriquest 300 from California Motor Speedway will be broadcast on NBC starting at 8:30 PM EST.
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