Fortunate Bowyer Wins Richmond

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RICHMOND, Va. - Clint Bowyer won his second career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race Saturday night, but that story may be an afterthought.

After a wild last 20 laps, Saturday's Crown Royal Presents the Dan Lowry 400 at Richmond International Raceway will be a race that will be talked about for some time to come.

The night appeared to belong to Denny Hamlin, who dominated the race and led a record 381 laps.

Unfortunately a flat tire with twenty laps to go cost the hometown hero the lead, a chance to win and ultimately ended Hamlin's night with a 25th place finish.

“You can’t whine about it," said Hamlin, who was penalized two laps by NASCAR for parking his car on the track when his tire went down to bring out the cuation. "It just wasn’t meant to be. God didn’t want me to win today.”

Hamlin's exit set-up a battle for the lead between Kyle Busch and Dale Earnhardt, Jr., who was looking to end his 71-race winless streak at the track where he scored his last Cup win two years ago.

The duo was racing side-by-side with three laps to go and made contact entering the third turn, with Busch's car sliding up into Earnhardt, Jr.'s.

The impact sent the No. 88 Chevrolet spinning backwards into the wall and not surprisingly, set off a near riot in the grandstands as Earnhardt, Jr. fans voiced their displeasure over the turn of events.

"Everybody probably is racing around the race track scared to death of wrecking Dale Earnhardt Jr., so why wouldn’t I be any different?” Busch said. “But that was just a product of good hard racing and I apologize that it happened and I hate it that it did. If I wanted to do it deliberately I would have waited until the last lap where I probably still could have won the race."

“I’ll say it again, its just unfortunate circumstances for him because he didn’t get a win, and for me because now I’ve got to put up with it.”

Earnhardt, Jr. sat dejected next to his battered car and although he hadn't seen a replay of the incident gave his side of what happened.

"He’s gonna need security from all of us,” Earnhardt said of Busch. "I haven’t seen the replays, but (crew chief Tony Eury Jr.) said it looked like he got loose underneath us. It’s just disappointing because we’ve been running real good and were in position for a win.”

That led to a green-white-checkered overtime finish with Bowyer, who snuck by the front running duo as they crashed, now in command.

When the green flag flew, Bowyer was able to jump ahead to a two-car advantage and as Busch battled Mark Martin for the runner-up spot, was able to drive his Richard Childress Racing Chevy to his first win of the season.

Bowyer's second career triumph came in his 83rd series start.

“We knew we had that all day, didn’t we?” Bowyer laughed.
“It’s awesome. I love this place. I messed things up in qualifying for the guys, we just dug deep and worked hard and things worked out—took advantage of a misfortune right there up front. This is awesome. It’s what it’s all about.”

Tony Stewart and Martin Truex, Jr. rounded out the top five.

Ryan Newman, Carl Edwards, Kevin Harvick, Jeff Gordon and Kasey Kahne completed the first ten finishers.

A huge accident on lap 230 involving 11 cars brought out the red flag and stopped the race for 22 minutes.

The incident started on the backstretch and entering the third turn and when it ended it included Jeff Burton, Jimmie Johnson, Ryan Newman, Kurt Busch, Carl Edwards and others with Patrick Carpentier receiving the brunt of the damage hitting both the inside retaining wall and several other cars.

Another incident involving Michael Waltrip and Casey Mears with 45 laps to go resulted in NASCAR parking Waltrip after he drove into the rear of Mears' car and accelerated after the two made contact with each other and the wall.

The Sprint Cup Series now heads to Darlington Raceway for next Saturday night's Dodge Challenger 500.

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