Clint Bowyer took his second win of the year Saturday night at the Richmond International Raceway, host of the final race before the Chase for the Sprint Cup begins. Bowyer led 88 laps and they were all in the final one-hundred laps of the race. Saturday night’s race had two rain delays each delay lasting approximately 90 minutes long but NASCAR, the fans, crew members and drivers all persevered and finished all 400 laps, the prescribed distance.
Bowyer led 88 of 400 laps before taking his win. Conserving fuel helped Bowyer get to victory lane. He had a great car but the dominating force all night long (and into early Sunday morning) was Denny Hamlin. Hamlin led a total of 202 laps but fuel mileage played a major role in the race only allowing Hamlin to finish 18th, just inside the top 20. Hamlin was going for his third consecutive win after winning both Bristol and Atlanta.
Going into the Chase, Hamlin and Bowyer will have the most momentum however; I don’t think either of them will be contending for the Cup at the very end of the season. Bowyer has run very mediocre this season and just does not have the team behind him to be a striking force in the final stretch of the season. As for Hamlin, I think he will have a 2010 Chase-esque post-season. I think he will be in title hunt up until the 7th or 8th race. We witnessed the No.11 team choke the championship away back then and I believe the same thing will happen again.
The next race for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series circuit is at Chicagoland Speedway (which I will be attending!) This race will be the first race for the Chase for the Cup. Denny Hamlin will enter the chase in the lead with a three point lead over Brad Keselowski, Jimmie Johnson and Tony Stewart. Make sure you tune in; it is bound to be a wild race!
By Tyson Lautenschlager