Event: Southern 500 (Round 25 of 36)
Series: Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series
Location: Darlington (S.C.) Raceway (1.366-mile oval)
Format: 367 laps, broken into three stages (100 laps/100 laps/167 laps)
Start/Finish: 16th/40th (Engine, completed 18 of 367 laps)
Point Standing: 11th (643 points, 357 points behind the leader and 91 outside of the championship cutoff)
Race Winner: Denny Hamlin of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 1 Winner: Martin Truex Jr. of Furniture Row Racing (Toyota)
Stage 2 Winner: Martin Truex Jr. of Furniture Row Racing (Toyota)
Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-100):
● Clint Bowyer started 16th and finished 40th.
● Moved from 16th to 12th in opening laps.
● Reported engine issues while running slow during the race’s first caution on lap 16.
● Bowyer stalled on pit lane before the safety truck pushed the racecar to the garage.
● After inspection in the garage the No. 14 team retired the car from the race.
● Although 11th in points, Bowyer remains 17th in the NASCAR playoff standings, trailing 16th place by 91 points. He will need to win Saturday night’s regular season finale at Richmond (Va.) Raceway to make the 16-driver playoffs.
● Bowyer drove a Carolina Ford Dealers paint scheme nearly identical to the scheme Mark Martin drove in 43 NASCAR XFINITY Series races between 1988 and 1991 for Bill Davis Racing.
● Denny Hamlin won the Southern 500 to score his 31st career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory, his second of the season and his second at Darlington.
● Martin Truex Jr. clinched the regular-season championship by winning the first and second stages of Sunday’s race. He owns a 107-point lead over Kyle Busch as the NASCAR Cup series heads to Richmond for the regular-season finale.
Clint Bowyer, driver of the No. 14 Carolina Ford Dealers Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing:
“It just blew up. It’s a pretty inopportune time to have it happen, but it’s never a good time. Doug Yates and all the guys over at his shop do such a good job of bringing us reliable, good horsepower, and it was just my time. It was my turn, and there isn’t much you can do about it.”
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!