Edwards Wins, Logano, Truex Jr. Make Chase in Controversial Ending in Richmond

Photo- Getty Images
Photo- Getty Images

We expected Saturday Night in Richmond to be wild, but it turned out to be even crazier than thought possible. It truly came down to the last few laps and one caution changed everything. A Clint Bowyer spin with seven laps to go shook up the Chase positions along with conspiracy-theorists again. Carl Edwards managed to sneak out with the victory and three more bonus points heading into the Chase. This night was far more complicated than imaginable and it will have people talking for a long time.

Jeff Gordon, Brad Keselowski, and Kurt Busch were all looking to secure their Chase spot during the race. Throughout the beginning of the night, it looked as they would succeed in doing so. Each led multiple laps and looked to be the ones to beat for most of the race. They all seemed to be the ones exchanging the lead until pit stops under yellow during a lap 266 caution moved Clint Bowyer to the top spot.

Bowyer stayed up front for awhile, but once he fell from that position, he never climbed back up.

Green-flag pit stops were ongoing when the first game changing yellow-flag was thrown for Jimmie Johnson hitting the wall after blowing a right front tire. Drivers’ pit cycles were thrown a loop now as some were trapped a lap down after making their stops under green.

A new crew was spotted up front on the second to last restart of the race. Carl Edwards led followed by Menard in second and Kurt Busch in third. Edwards got out to a big lead, but one hungry driver began hunting him down. That driver was a determined Ryan Newman whose best bet to make the Chase was to win.

Newman kept gaining ground on Edwards and with ten laps to go, he took the lead. He found himself in the perfect position. Leading with ten laps remaining and knowing a win would put him in. The conclusion looked bright for Newman until the yellow flag flew for the most controversial spin of the night.

If the caution hadn’t come out, Newman was going to beat out Martin Truex Jr. for the final wild card position. This caution however, changed everything and the makings of it were quite peculiar.

Truex Jr.’s teammate Clint Bowyer was the one who spun out. At first, it looked as if he had contact with Dale Earnhardt Jr., but Earnhardt Jr. later denied that. “He just spun right out” was how Earnhardt Jr. described the incident in his ESPN interview. “It was crazy” Junior continued to say as obviously, this wasn’t your normal spin.

“We had a flat tire or something” was what Bowyer told ESPN caused the spin. He also denied that it was at all intentional.

Despite the oddness of the incident, this caution had changed the course of the ending. Instead of Newman winning and getting in, it was now up to his pit crew to keep him in that position. The pit stops featured varying strategies and Menard managed to sneak off pit road first. Edwards was second and Newman had fallen back to fifth.

The controversy from the caution carried over to the next restart. This time, Edwards clearly jumped the gun on the restart. He beat Menard, the leader, to the line and was now pacing the field. NASCAR made no call and now drivers made last-ditch efforts at securing their Chase positions.

Ryan Newman charged at second-place Kurt Busch on the final lap since he needed to pass him to make it in. He came close, but didn’t end up doing so and that led to no-Chase for Newman. Disappointment was evident on his face since his Chase berth slipped away in just a matter of laps. He put up a tough fight, but ultimately, didn’t win the prize.

While Newman and Jeff Gordon were out, Joey Logano and Martin Truex Jr. had made it in by virtue of their finishing positions. Logano squeaked into the top ten over Jeff Gordon by one point while Truex Jr. took the second wild card in which he tied with Newman for. Truex Jr. owned the tie-breaker putting the No.56 in.

The Chase field is now set and Jimmie Johnson, Carl Edwards, Clint Bowyer, Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch, Matt Kenseth, Greg Biffle, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kurt Busch, Joey Logano, Kasey Kahne, and Martin Truex Jr will duel it out for the championship.

Saturday Night will arguably go down as the most insane race to the Chase conclusion in the Chase’s history. So much changed in such little time and hope turned to disappointment for a few drivers in a matter of laps. The next ten weeks will begin the next chapter in an already thrilling season. Craziness ensued in Richmond and more could be awaiting NASCAR in Chicago.

By Jason Schultz

Results via ESPN.com

POS DRIVER MANUFACTURER

LAPS

MONEY

START

LED

PTS

BONUS

PENALTY

1 Carl Edwards Ford

400

26

46

47

4

0

2 Kurt Busch Chevrolet

400

2

73

43

1

0

3 Ryan Newman Chevrolet

400

24

4

42

1

0

4 Jamie McMurray Chevrolet

400

7

6

41

1

0

5 Paul Menard Chevrolet

400

22

3

40

1

0

6 Matt Kenseth Toyota

400

5

5

39

1

0

7 Martin Truex Jr. Toyota

400

11

0

37

0

0

8 Jeff Gordon Chevrolet

400

1

49

37

1

0

9 Mark Martin Chevrolet

400

16

0

35

0

0

10 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Ford

400

21

0

34

0

0

11 Kevin Harvick Chevrolet

400

17

0

33

0

0

12 Greg Biffle Ford

400

9

0

32

0

0

13 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Chevrolet

400

14

0

31

0

0

14 Kasey Kahne Chevrolet

400

18

0

30

0

0

15 AJ Allmendinger Toyota

400

34

0

29

0

0

16 Juan Pablo Montoya Chevrolet

400

12

0

28

0

0

17 Brad Keselowski Ford

400

3

142

29

2

0

18 Jeff Burton Chevrolet

400

19

0

26

0

0

19 Kyle Busch Toyota

400

13

0

25

0

0

20 Aric Almirola Ford

400

15

0

24

0

0

21 Denny Hamlin Toyota

399

6

0

23

0

0

22 Joey Logano Ford

399

8

0

22

0

0

23 David Gilliland Ford

399

37

0

21

0

0

24 Brian Vickers Toyota

399

20

0

0

0

0

25 Clint Bowyer Toyota

398

4

72

20

1

0

26 Casey Mears Ford

397

25

0

18

0

0

27 Marcos Ambrose Ford

397

32

0

17

0

0

28 Travis Kvapil Toyota

397

33

0

16

0

0

29 David Ragan Ford

397

23

0

15

0

0

30 Danica Patrick Chevrolet

396

36

0

14

0

0

31 Dave Blaney Chevrolet

396

40

0

13

0

0

32 David Reutimann Toyota

395

35

0

12

0

0

33 Tony Raines Chevrolet

395

41

0

0

0

0

34 Landon Cassill Chevrolet

395

28

0

0

0

0

35 Ryan Truex Chevrolet

395

38

0

0

0

0

36 J.J. Yeley Chevrolet

393

43

0

8

0

0

37 Ken Schrader Ford

393

42

0

7

0

0

38 David Stremme Toyota

391

29

0

6

0

0

39 Joe Nemechek Toyota

388

31

0

0

0

0

40 Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet

372

10

0

4

0

0

41 Josh Wise Ford

142

27

0

0

0

0

42 Reed Sorenson Ford

126

39

0

0

0

0

43 Michael McDowell Ford

76

30

0

1

0

0

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