Bowyer Wins, Gordon In

Clint Bowyer

Bowyer will be the sixth seed in the Chase after his win. (Photo: Getty Images)

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Clint Bowyer won Saturday night's Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond International Raceway and Jeff Gordon raced his way into the Chase as a Wild Card entry.

Bowyer came back from an earlier race cut tire and spin to score his second victory of the season in the rain-delayed race that didn’t end until past 1 a.m. (ET).

“Unbelievable. To win tonight, the way we won it, we got the left rear knocked down, that ultimately ended up winning us the race,” said Bowyer.

“Proud of everybody at MWR, my teammates. Martin Truex was up there, had a great car just like I did. Everybody. It's unbelievable. To be able to come to a new team, new home like I did with MWR, to be able to have the success our first year is a dream come true.”

Gordon also rallied back from an ill-handling car and falling several laps back to claim the second Wild Card berth and lock himself into the field of 12 drivers that will make up this year’s Chase for the Sprint Cup championship.

“Wow, what a race for us,” said Gordon. “You can look at this race. All the things that have gone for us this year, everything went right for us tonight. We had some guys stay out there on tires on basically that last caution that really cost them good finishing positions. We came in and got tires at that time. We were able to drive up through there. Had a good race car.”

Mark Martin, Tony Stewart, Gordon and Matt Kenseth rounded out the top five.

“I think the team is good in shape, we have been having great, great days on pit road, pretty good adjustments, made something out of, I don't want to say nothing but we didn't have a great car and (crew chief) Jimmie (Fennig) and them guys did a great job on pit road, strategy and adjustments and got us a top 5,” said Kenseth. “So we've had a couple decent weeks. I can't wait to go to Chicago and race there. We definitely know we need to win some races to have a shot at this thing so hopefully we can have a shot next week.”

Jeff Burton, Brad Keselowski, Ryan Newman, Greg Biffle and Kevin Harvick completed the first ten finishers.

Gordon wound up edging Kyle Busch by one point in the Wild Card race after the Joe Gibbs Racing driver endured a rough night that included a miscue on pit road. Busch had the number two spot heading into the race but will not be a spectator in the championship battle.

“We missed, plain and simple,” Busch said. “There’s no good way to handle this.”

It was also a disappointing night for Carl Edwards, who after losing last year’s championship to Stewart in a tiebreaker missed out on making this season’s Chase field.

“Yeah, this isn’t about one race,” said Edwards who finished 17th. “It is 26 races and we just let too many points get away for a bunch of different reasons. There was a lot of luck involved and everyone tried really hard. This is the fastest we have been the last six weeks all year and I am proud of everyone for rallying around Chad (Norris) and Bob (Osborne) included for making the best effort we could. We will just go try to build the best team we can for next year and try to make sure a Ford wins this championship.”

Ryan Newman had the lead of the race at one point and would have made it into the Chase with a victory. However the Stewart-Haas Racing driver faded to eighth and failed to make the field of twelve.

"It's disappointing. I don't really know what to say other than that,” said Newman. “We gave it all we had in the Quicken Loans Chevrolet, and we didn't get the win we needed to make the Chase."

The 2012 Chase begins next Sunday afternoon with the Geico 400 at Chicagoland Speedway.

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