Event: Gander Outdoors 400 (Round 30 of 36)
Series: Monster EnergyNASCAR Cup Series
Location: Dover (Del.) International Speedway (1-mile concrete oval)
Format: 400 laps, broken into three stages (120 laps/120 laps/160 laps)
Note: Race extended four laps past its scheduled 400-lap distance due to a green-white-checkered finish.
Start/Finish: 5th/35th (Accident, completed 388 of 404 laps)
Point Standing: 10th with 3,033 points, 10 points behind cutoff)
Race Winner: Chase Elliott of Hendrick Motorsports (Chevrolet) in overtime
Stage 1 Winner: Kevin Harvick of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford)
Stage 2 Winner: Kevin Harvick of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford)
Stage 1 Recap (Ended at Lap 120):
● Clint Bowyer started fifth and finished fourth to earn seven bonus points.
● Held the fifth position during the first half of the stage and was the fastest car on the track on lap 48.
● Moved up to fourth on lap 69 before pitting for four tires and fuel.
● Reported his VF-1/Rush Truck Centers Ford was “too heavy on the nose, making it too tight center off” following the stop.
● Battled Kyle Busch for third during the final five laps of the stage but ultimately finished fourth.
Stage 2 Recap (Ended at Lap 240):
● Bowyer started third and finished second to earn nine bonus points.
● Team made minor wedge adjustment to loosen the car up before the stage began.
● Bowyer turned the fastest laps early in the stage and took second from Joey Logano on lap 157.
● Reported the car being tight, but he was closing on leader Kevin Harvick on lap 188.
● Crew chief Mike Bugarewicz called for right-side air pressure adjustments during a green-flag stop on lap 190.
● Bowyer reported the car was extremely tight after pitting and said “the front end needs to turn better,” but his lap times were extremely fast.
● Closed to the bumper of leader Harvick several times late in the stage but couldn’t make a move for the lead.
Stage 3 Recap (Ended at Lap 404):
● Bowyer started third and finished 35th.
● He continued to be one of the fastest cars on the track during the early laps of the final stage.
● Pitted following a caution on lap 339 and restarted third.
● Reported a loose wheel on lap 377 and pitted on lap 381 for right-side tires.
● His race ended on lap 388 when his racecar’s right rear gave way, causing the No. 14 VF-1/Rush Truck Centers Ford Fusion to contact the turn-four wall and come to a stop on the inside guardrail.
● Bowyer finished fourth in Stage 1 to earn seven bonus points and second in Stage 2 to earn an additional nine bonus points.
● Bowyer led one lap to increase his laps-led total at Dover to 83.
● This was Bowyer’s first DNF (Did Not Finish) in 26 career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series starts at Dover.
● All four SHR drivers finished in the top-10 in Stage 1 and again in Stage 2.
● Chase Elliott won the Gander Outdoors 400 to score his second career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory, his second of the season and his first at Dover. His margin of victory over second-place Denny Hamlin was .265 of a second.
● There were five caution periods for a total of 31 laps.
● Only 15 of the 39 drivers in the Gander Outdoors 400 finished on the lead lap.
Clint Bowyer, driver of the No. 14 Haas Automation VF-1/Rush Truck Centers Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing:
“We broke and I hit the wall. I’m just really disappointed. I’m frustrated with our day, obviously, we had a very fast race car. I got tore up passing a lapper and then all of a sudden we had a loose wheel, I think it was a loose wheel, and then we went back out and broke something in the front end and it was two different things. When we pitted it was something in the rear, obviously, the right-rear, the left-rear was loose, it was all out of control, and then all of a sudden we went back out it was fine, so I took back off and then I think something in the left-front broke, it just went straight – whether I ran over something, I don’t know. I’m just sick for Aric. He had that race won. It was his win and unfortunately, his teammate had trouble and took him out of it.”
Playoff Standings: (with two races to go before Round of 8):
1. Kevin Harvick (3,101 points) +68 points
2. Kyle Busch (3,096 points) +63 points
3. Martin Truex Jr. (3,069 points) +36 points
4. Joey Logano (3,064 points) +31 points
5. Chase Elliott (3,056 points) 1 win
6. Kurt Busch (3,054 points) +21 points
7. Brad Keselowski (3,054 points) +21 points
8. Ryan Blaney (3,043 points) +10 points
9. Aric Almirola (3,033 points) -10 points
10. Clint Bowyer (3,033 points) -10 points
11. Kyle Larson (3,031 points) -12 points
12. Alex Bowman (3,009 points) -34 points
The next event on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the 1000Bulbs.com 500 on Sunday, Oct. 14 at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway.
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!