The Chase is all about winning – contenders need a few wins to win the championship – and now Brad Keselowski has two wins, three races into the Chase.
Keselowski didn’t lead a single lap until there were ten laps to go but, in the end, Keselowski brought home the victory.
Fuel Mileage cost several drivers a shot at victory, including the dominant car of the day, Kyle Busch. Busch led over 200 laps Sunday afternoon in Dover but having to pit with just eleven laps to go, cost him the victory he had earned with a dominate performance.
Denny Hamlin started the day off right by leading the first 35 laps but on lap 36, Kyle Busch got around Hamlin for the lead.
The first caution of the day didn’t come out until lap 69 for debris in turn three, from the No.36 of J.J Yeley, who had blown a tire.
The race then spread out until the first round of green flag pit stops began on lap 141.
The second caution of the day came out on lap 179 for debris in turn three. The leaders made their way down pit road and Denny Hamlin came out first after his team put on two tires while the rest of the field put on four.
Hamlin couldn’t hold off Kyle Busch on the restart and Busch re-took the lead.
Chase contender Greg Biffle made an unscheduled pit stop on lap 193 for a loose wheel. The halfway mark in the race approached quickly and Kyle Busch still was the leader followed by Hamlin, Johnson, Gordon and Keselowski.
The next yellow flag flew on lap 246 for debris in turn three. The leaders made their way down the pit lane and Kyle Busch came off pit road first.
More trouble for Roush-Fenway Racing occurred on lap 310 when Matt Kenseth broke something on his car and smoke started coming out the rear. Kenseth remained in the race but not for long. The leaders pitted again and Jimmie Johnson beat Kyle Busch off pit road.
Not even one lap after the restart the caution came out again for Matt Kenseth. Kenseth spun off turn four and made contact with the inside wall on the frontstrecth. Kenseth took his car behind the wall. Drivers can have one bad race in the Chase if they still want a shot at the championship and Kenseth had his today.
With 45 laps to go, Kyle Busch re-took the lead from Johnson.
Chase contender Kasey Kahne made an unscheduled pit stop with 39 to go because of a loose wheel. Kahne came in, changed all four tires and then Kahne was penalized for a missing lug nut. Kahne had to pit again and he went multiple laps down.
Drivers who couldn’t make it on fuel started pitting with around ten laps to go. Kyle Busch was the first to come in with eleven laps to go and his teammate Hamlin came in just one lap later. Jimmie Johnson knew how crucial it was for him to not run out of fuel so he started slowing down to save fuel and salvage a decent finish. At one point Johnson had fallen below NASCAR’s minimum speed and he was told to get moving faster. Johnson had enough fuel to finish but it wasn’t the finish he was expecting at one of his best tracks – Dover.
Brad Keselowski had plenty of fuel to finish the race and crossed the finish line first for the second time in the Chase. Keselowski said, “We (his team) keep getting better.”
Previous statistics say that you need a couple of wins in the Chase to win the championship and now Keselowski has two wins, making him much more of a dangerous threat.
Jimmie Johnson wound up ninth and commented after the race that he is “not that good at fuel mileage races.” Johnson was very close to victory today but he wound up fourth. A great run but Johnson expected better at his best track in the Chase.
Denny Hamlin said it was “frustrating in the end,” when he had to pit while running in the top spot. Hamlin has had highs and lows so far in the Chase but Hamlin still remains third in the points.
Other notable Chase drivers finishes include Jeff Gordon in second, Truex Jr in sixth, Hamlin in eighth, Bowyer in ninth, Earnhardt Jr eleventh, Harvick thirteenth, Kahne fifteenth, Biffle sixteenth, Stewart twentieth and Kenseth thirty-fifth. The points took another major shakeup as Keselowski rocketed to the top again after winning. Johnson fell back to second and is five points behind Keselowski. Hamlin is third, sixteen back from Keselowski.
Clint Bowyer jumped up to fourth in the standings and he is only twenty-five back, going into the race he has won the last two years. Truex Jr shot up to eighth in the standings and Jeff Gordon is now tenth. After Dover, we are still talking about Keselowski, Johnson and Hamlin and they are still looking like the three favorites for the championship.
The biggest wild card in the Chase is next at the Talladega Superspeedway. Talladega is sure to bring excitement and it will shake up the points even more. Tune in next Sunday to witness the wildest race of the Chase.
Results via Nascar.com
|1||10||2||Brad Keselowski||Dodge||Miller Lite||47/1||400||Running|
|2||7||24||Jeff Gordon||Chevrolet||Drive to End Hunger||43/1||400||Running|
|3||26||55||Mark Martin||Toyota||Aaron’s 2000th Store / Bronx, NY||41/0||400||Running|
|4||11||48||Jimmie Johnson||Chevrolet||Lowe’s / Kobalt Tools||41/1||400||Running|
|6||3||56||Martin Truex Jr.||Toyota||NAPA Auto Parts||38/0||400||Running|
|7||5||18||Kyle Busch||Toyota||Interstate Batteries||39/2||400||Running|
|8||1||11||Denny Hamlin||Toyota||FedEx Office||37/1||400||Running|
|9||2||15||Clint Bowyer||Toyota||5-hour Energy||36/1||400||Running|
|10||14||20||Joey Logano||Toyota||The Home Depot||34/0||400||Running|
|11||25||88||Dale Earnhardt Jr.||Chevrolet||National Guard / Diet Mountain Dew||33/0||398||Running|
|12||17||6||Ricky Stenhouse Jr.||Ford||Cargill||0||397||Running|
|15||9||5||Kasey Kahne||Chevrolet||Farmers Insurance||29/0||397||Running|
|17||18||78||Regan Smith||Chevrolet||Furniture Row / Farm American||27/0||397||Running|
|19||21||43||Aric Almirola||Ford||Super 8||25/0||397||Running|
|20||24||14||Tony Stewart||Chevrolet||Office Depot / Mobil 1||24/0||397||Running|
|21||8||39||Ryan Newman||Chevrolet||U.S. Army||23/0||397||Running|
|22||19||27||Paul Menard||Chevrolet||Menards / CertainTeed||22/0||396||Running|
|23||28||51||Kurt Busch||Chevrolet||Phoenix Construction||21/0||395||Running|
|25||4||22||Sam Hornish Jr.||Dodge||Shell / Pennzoil||0||393||Running|
|29||33||93||Travis Kvapil||Toyota||Burger King / Dr Pepper||15/0||392||Running|
|30||31||34||David Ragan||Ford||Long John Silver’s||14/0||392||Running|
|32||42||38||David Gilliland||Ford||Taco Bell||12/0||391||Running|
|34||40||36||J.J. Yeley||Chevrolet||Drive Sober, Drive Alive DE||10/0||388||Running|
|35||12||17||Matt Kenseth||Ford||Ford EcoBoost||9/0||371||Running|
|36||22||83||Landon Cassill||Toyota||Burger King / Dr Pepper||8/0||354||Running|
|37||23||26||Josh Wise *||Ford||MDS Transport||7/0||92||In Pit|
|38||32||98||Michael McDowell||Ford||Phil Parsons Racing||6/0||51||In Pit|
|39||37||87||Joe Nemechek||Toyota||AM / FM Energy Wood & Pellet Stoves||0||48||Out of Race|
|40||34||195||Scott Speed||Ford||Jordan Truck Sales||4/0||32||In Pit|
|42||36||23||Scott Riggs||Chevrolet||North Texas Pipe||2/0||26||In Pit|
|43||29||191||Reed Sorenson||Chevrolet||Plinker Tactical||0||18||In Pit|