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Clint Bowyer Wins NASCAR Bank of America 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway

By James Fish
Epoch Times Staff
Created: October 13, 2012 Last Updated: October 14, 2012
Related articles: Sports » Motorsports
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Clint Bowyer, driver of the No. 15 5-Hour Energy Benefiting Avon Foundation for Women Toyota, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Bank of America 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. (Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Clint Bowyer, driver of the No. 15 5-Hour Energy Benefiting Avon Foundation for Women Toyota, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Bank of America 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. (Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Clint Bowyer didn’t lead the most laps at Charlotte Saturday night—that honor belonged to points leader Brad Keselowski—but he led the most important laps, the final 24.

The Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota driver took the lead on lap 275 of 334-lap contest when Keselowski tried to stretch his fuel a little too far and ran dry. Bowyer pitted three laps later, was fourth with 28 laps to go, and retook the lead on lap 310 when the leaders had to pit.

Bowyer beat Denny Hamlin to the line by less than half a second, with Jimmie Johnson, who had also run out of gas and lost a lot of position, a full 15 seconds back.

The Toyota driver barely made it himself; Bowyer didn’t have enough gas in his tank to do a good victory burn-out. “I want to do a burnout!” Bowyer told ESPN. “Am I ever going to get to do a burnout?”

It was Bowyer’s third win of the season, his first season with MWR; he had been with Richard Childress Racing. “It makes you almost giddy,” Bowyer said. “It’s so much fun to come to the racetrack knowing that you’ve got cars that are capable of getting the job done.

“Who would have thought in a million years, after making the switch and coming over to a new family, and everything that was new, that we’d be in Victory Lane three times?

“With five races left, we’re still in contention for a championship our first year together.”

The win moves Bowyer from fifth to fourth in the points, behind Hamlin, Johnson, and Keselowski, whose lead is now down to seven.

“Realistically, we’re still in the thing,” Bowyer told NASCAR.com. “We’ve just got to keep doing what we’re doing. Talladega [where Bowyer was the victim of a 25-car last-lap crash and finished 23rd] was a huge setback, but what a great way to bounce back and get pointed back in the right direction.”

The Gas to Pass

Fuel mileage has become a factor in NASACR races hits year; several Chase races have been affected as much by who got the best mileage as by who had the best set-up.

This week it wasn’t Brad Keselowski winning by stretching his fuel however. The Penske Dodge driver ran dry while locked in a battle for the lead with Jimmie Johnson, who has never been that good at fuel saving.

Keselowski tried to get on an off-sequence strategy by pitting during a lap-four caution period and stretching his fuel through the next two yellows at laps 15 and 36. The strategy seemed to be paying off until he tried a 53-lap stint, which proved to be one lap too many. He eventually finished 11th.

Johnson managed to make it to the pits when he ran dry, zig-zagging down pit lane to shake the last few drops out of the tank. Johnson managed to conserve enough fuel to finish. He moved from eighth on lap 306 to third on lap 319 when most of the leaders—and Brad Keselowski; no economy records at this race—had to stop for a splash.

The Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet driver made it to the finish but didn’t have enough gas left to contest the win. Still, his third-place finish earned him enough points to halve the gap to Keselowski.

Bank of America 500

 

#

driver

lap

behind

1

15

Clint Bowyer

334

0.000

2

11

Denny Hamlin

334

0.417

3

48

Jimmie Johnson

334

15.355

4

16

Greg Biffle

334

27.280

5

18

Kyle Busch

333

1 Lap

6

55

Mark Martin

333

1 Lap

7

99

Carl Edwards

333

1 Lap

8

5

Kasey Kahne

333

1 Lap

9

20

Joey Logano

333

1 Lap

10

56

Martin Truex Jr.

333

1 Lap

11

2

Brad Keselowski

333

1 Lap

12

43

Aric Almirola

333

1 Lap

13

14

Tony Stewart

333

1 Lap

14

17

Matt Kenseth

333

1 Lap

15

22

Sam Hornish Jr.

333

1 Lap

 

2012 Sprint Cup Driver Standings

 

+/-

driver

points

behind

1

--

Brad Keselowski

2214

Leader

2

--

Jimmie Johnson

2207

-7

3

--

Denny Hamlin

2199

-15

4

+1

Clint Bowyer

2186

-28

5

-1

Kasey Kahne

2179

-35

6

+3

Greg Biffle

2171

-43

7

+1

Martin Truex Jr.

2165

-49

8

-1

Tony Stewart

2164

-50

9

-3

Jeff Gordon

2164

-50

10

--

Kevin Harvick

2158

-56

11

+1

Matt Kenseth

2147

-67

12

-1

Dale Earnhardt Jr.

2128

-86

 

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