Richmond Recap

The Key Moment – Ryan Newman was able to get a clean restart and all Hell broke loose behind him. Jeremy Mayfield kept Newman honest but never could quite get into bumper tag position.

In a Nutshell – Another memorable night on NASCAR’s best track.

Dramatic Moment –

Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt got the fans on their feet with some spirited racing mid-way through the event.

A flurry of late cautions gave Kevin Harvick two chances to get around Ryan Newman for the lead and the caution that claimed Harvick gave Jeremy Mayfield one shot at the win as well.

What They’ll Be Talking About Around the Water Cooler This Week

How about we just forget Loudon next weekend and run all three divisions at Richmond again?

Is Harvick going to get suspended again for his post race antics?

If NASCAR realizes how good racing is at Richmond are they going to realign this place too?

Well it looks like that suspension NASCAR gave Jimmy Spencer really taught the other drivers to keep their temper, huh? Not.

If Junior knew he’d hit the debris with his right front tire why didn’t the 8 team pit under the eleventh caution flag?

Is Ricky Rudd still holding a grudge towards Kevin Harvick for spinning him out of the lead here back in 2001?

What’s this I’m hearing I’m going to have to junk my scanner and buy new equipment from Nextel? That can't be right.

Those SAFER barriers seemed to work pretty well, huh?

Is the having all these consecutive races weekend after weekend the reason everyone’s temper is so short right now?

The Hindenburg Award For Foul Fortune

Richard Childress had two cars in the top 5 with ten laps to go. Both got wrecked out. Jeff Burton spun Robby Gordon and apologized after the fact. Ricky Rudd got into Kevin Harvick and sent him hard into the wall. And because of the post-race altercation Childress might have to sell the 30 team to pay all the fines.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. had a car that looked capable of winning the race but hit the debris that brought out the 11th caution. The team made an ill-advised decision not to pit and a few laps later Junior limped to the pits with a flat tire.

Jimmy Spencer had a strong run going but lost an engine late in the race.

Mike Skinner wrecked in first practice but then went out and won the pole. He then proceeded to total the pole winning car in Happy Hour and was forced to start at the rear of the field in a third car.

Bill Elliott seemed to have his car whoaded up during the fourth wreck of the evening but got run into from behind by Johnny Sauter who said he was also rear-ended.

The Sadler brothers finished 39th and 40th.

Dale Jarrett got caught up in two wrecks not of his own making.

Tony Stewart had a miserable night wrecking twice at a track where he normally runs very strong.

It doesn’t matter what number is on the side of the car he’s driving bad luck just seems to shadow John Andretti.

The “Seven Come Fore Eleven” Award For Fine Fortune

Matt Kenseth hit the wall unassisted for the second straight weekend and then was spun from behind as he tried to gather the 17 up. Yet somehow he took his battered car, dodged a bunch of big wrecks and finished seventh ahead of his four closest pursuers in the points. How does he do that?

Earnhardt Jr. hit Jeff Burton hard midway through the race but Burton managed to gather the car up. He finished fourth.

Jeff Gordon barely avoided the wreck involving Jamie McMurray and Hermie Sadler, then battled an evil handling race car he felt might have a flat to come away with a tenth place finish.

Worth Noting

Ryan Newman’a 6th win of the season occurred on September 6th and moved him into 6th place in the standings. He also has 6 poles.

There have now been 44 caution flags flown in the last three races.

No Chevys finished in the top five in a race Chevrolet sponsored. The top 10 finishers drove three Dodges, three Fords, three Chevys and a Pontiac.

Jamie McMurray was the top finishing rookie coming home nineteenth. Greg Biffle was one spot back in 20th.

Matt Kenseth continues to lead all drivers with the most top 10 finishes, with twenty top 10s in 26 points races. But he’s in a three-way tie for the most top 5 finishes. Kenseth, Newman and Bobby Labonte all have ten.

Jeremy Mayfield scored his first top 5 of the 2003 season. His second place result was his best during his tenure with Ray Evernham.

Ricky Rudd’s third place finish equaled his best of the season. He also finished third at Daytona in July.

Jeff Burton scored his first top 10 finish since Pocono in July.

Rusty Wallace scored his first top 5 finish since he ran third at California.

Terry Labonte’s eighth place finish was his third consecutive finish of eleventh or better.

Johnny Benson scored his second top 10 finish in the last four races. His only other top 10 of the 2003 season was a fifth place result at Dover.

Jeff Gordon finished inside the top 10 for the first time in five races.

Christian Fittipaldi has finished fortieth or worse in four of the last five races.

Kevin Harvick’s sixteenth place finish was his worst since Joliet in July.

Michael Waltrip finished outside the top 30 for the third consecutive race.

What’s the Points?

No surprise here. Matt Kenseth continues to lead the points and is now 418 markers ahead of Dale Earnhardt Jr. Kevin Harvick’s late race wreck dropped him 441 points behind Kenseth but he remains in third in the standings.

Cue up the Tom Petty because Michael Waltrip is free falling. He was fifth in the standings after Michigan (and for most of the season) but he’s now fallen to tenth in the standings

Inside the top 10 the big gainer was Terry Labonte who moved up two spots to ninth. Ryan Newman and Bobby Labonte both moved up a spot to sixth and seventh respectively. Kurt Busch was the big loser inside the top 10 falling two spots to eighth. Tony Stewart dropped a spot and fell out of the top ten. He’s now eleventh.

Other movers and shakers in the Bull Market include Ward Burton and Jeremy Mayfield who each moved up three spots to nineteenth and 24th respectively. Rusty Wallace jumped up two spots to fifteenth.

Those caught up in the Bear Market include Elliott Sadler and Joe Nemechek who both fell three spots to 22nd and 26th. Bill Elliott fell two spots to sixteenth.

Overall Rating (On a scale of one to six beer cans with one being a stinker and a six pack an instant classic) Give it five and a half icy cold cans. It was a good night of racing but cautions interrupted the action just a little too much to give this race a perfect score.

Next Up – We’re off to New Hampshire to try out the track’s new SAFER barrier.

Related Topics:

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup, 2003

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