Bowyer gets a big Halloween treat with Talladega win
Talladega, AL (Sports Network)
Clint Bowyer won Sunday’s Amp Energy Juice 500 after a chaotic finish at Talladega Superspeedway.
Bowyer edged his Richard Childress Racing teammate Kevin Harvick for the lead just before NASCAR displayed the caution flag on the final lap for a five-car accident on the frontstretch. A.J. Allmendinger’s car got airborne and flipped upside down on the track before it rolled back over. Allmendinger was not injured.
After the 500-mile race ended under caution, it took NASCAR several minutes to determine a winner. Officials reviewed replays and then credited Bowyer with the victory.
Bowyer, who is one of the 12 drivers in the championship Chase, picked up his second win of the season and the fourth of his Sprint Cup Series career. He won the first race in the Chase last month at New Hampshire. However, Bowyer was penalized 150 points after his New Hampshire-winning car failed post-race inspection.
His crew chief, Shane Wilson, will return to the track next weekend at Texas after serving a four-race suspension for the New Hampshire rules violation. Scott Miller had been filling in for Wilson.
“Everybody at RCR has worked very hard to get us back,” Bowyer said. “Shane built an awesome racecar. Scott has done a great job all year long of being a competition director and filling that role that we never had, filling the void. To be able to step in and come close to winning two races in the four races, it’s pretty incredible.”
Bowyer finished second to winner Tony Stewart on October 10 at California, which was the first race during Wilson’s suspension.
Kevin Harvick second-place run gave RCR a 1-2 finish at Talladega. Harvick won here in April.
“It’s cool that it came down to myself and Clint,” Harvick said. “We didn’t know who won. I knew that we had beat him to the start/finish line, but I didn’t know when the caution had come out.”
Bowyer also gave Richard Childress his 11th win at Talladega, which is the most for a car owner here.
“Standing in the winner’s circle with Clint and the team, it was real special, because it brought back memories of being here 10 years ago with Dale Earnhardt when he won this race; I was thinking about that,” Childress said.
Earnhardt’s 76th and final Cup victory came in the 2000 fall race at Talladega.
Harvick rebounded from damage to his right-front fender after being caught up in a six-car wreck on lap 141. Bowyer tapped Marcos Ambrose from behind and put him into a spin. Harvick then ran into Ambrose.
“It’s a typical Talladega day, with a few dents here and there,” Harvick added.
Juan Pablo Montoya, the pole sitter, finished third, while David Reutimann and Joey Logano rounded out the top-five. Martin Truex Jr. was sixth.
Jimmie Johnson was scored in seventh place and took a 14-point lead over Denny Hamlin, who overcame a one-lap deficit to finish ninth. Harvick moved to within 38 points of Johnson, which makes it the closest Chase points battle with three races to go.
“It’s going to be an awesome championship battle all the way to Homestead; I’m really looking forward to it,” Johnson said.
Hamlin fell out of the draft and ran alone, which put him a lap behind just before the half-way point. He got back on the lead lap during a caution with less than 50 laps to go.
“I wish I could have raced a little bit more aggressive and had a better show,” Hamlin said.
The race featured 87 lead changes, which was one swap short of tying the all- time NASCAR record for most lead changes, set here in the spring race.
10/31 19:01:04 ET