2011-10-27 / Sports

Bowyer Gets Childress His 100th Win

By Gerald Hodges
THE RACING REPORTER


Clint Bowyer Clint Bowyer TALLADEGA, Ala. – Clint Bowyer pushed teammate Jeff Burton for most of the 188 laps around Talladega on Sunday, but it was Bowyer that stood in victory lane.

The last restart was a green/white/checkered affair, with Burton, the leader, being pushed by Bowyer from the start/finish line. The two cars opened up a wide lead over the rest of the field. As they neared Turn 4 on the final lap, Bowyer dropped low, got underneath Burton, and all Burton could do was watch as Bowyer took the checkered flag, and he had to settle for runner-up.

“I’ve got to thank my teammate Jeff Burton for helping me get this win,” said Bowyer. “We talked about it before the race and fortunately it worked out in my favor.”

It was Bowyer’s first Cup win of the season and the 100th for Richard Childress Racing.

“It’s hard to feel good about getting beat like that,” said Burton. “To come so close and not win isn’t good. I knew he was going to try something there at the end, and there was nothing I could do. It’s just racing.”

Dave Blaney finished third, the best Cup finish of his career.

“Brad Keselowski and I committed yesterday to helping each other,” said Blaney. “He did an awesome job of pushing me all afternoon.”

Keselowski finished fourth, followed by Brian Vickers, Kasey Kahne, Tony Stewart, Denny Hamlin, Michael Waltrip, and Martin Truex.

A six-car wreck on Lap 104 did major damage to the Chase chances of Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch. Harvick wound up 32nd, while Busch was 33rd.

Tony Stewart lost his partner, teammate Ryan Newman, when Newman spun off Stewart’s bumper in the tri-oval. With heavy front-end damage, Newman lost a lap on pit road as his team repaired the car and two more laps on the race track before taking his car to the garage after 97 laps. He finished 38th.

After Newman went to the garage, Stewart teamed with Joey Logano, who was driving the same car that carried Stewart to his 2002 and 2005 Cup championships.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. was never a threat to win and finished 25th.

Top-12 Chase leaders after 32 of 36: 1. Edwards-2237, 2. Kenseth- 2223, 3. Keselowski 2219, 4. Stewart- 2218, 5. Harvick-2211, 6. Kyle Busch-2197, 7. Johnson-2187, 8. Kurt Busch-2185, 9. Earnhardt- 2163, 10. J. Gordon-2155, 11. Hamlin-2153, 12. Newman-2149

Are companies and teams going overboard

The following press release was received last week from the No. 17 Roush Ford Cup team, driven by Matt Kenseth.

It’s about a new marketing program for one of their sponsors.

“Knowing that tattoos are one of the most iconic symbols of badass NASCAR fans, Matt and his Talladega sponsor, Jeremiah Weed flavored malt beverages, will provide free Jeremiah Weed and Matt Kenseth-inspired tattoos to adult race fans on the Saturday of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race weekend at Talladega Superspeedway.”

“A series of tattoos will be available for fans to choose from including Matt’s signature, a number 17, Jeremiah Weed logos and a Jeremiah Weed Lightning Lemonade flavored-malt beverage can.”

“For every tattoo inked, Jeremiah Weed will make a $100 donation to The Air Force Village, a charity committed to providing a safe, secure and dignified place for indigent surviving spouses of retired Air Force personnel.”

To get one of the permanent tattoos, fans must sign up at the Jeremiah Weed venue at the track, and they will receive free transportation to a local tattoo parlor.

Tattoos are certainly a matter of personal taste. Fans with tattoos and body piercings are becoming more and more evident at each race.

I know that the slick ads and marketing mumbo-jumbo presented to fans at the track and on television can be considered a form of exploitation. What we see and hear can make us want to drink more beer, eat more candy, and chase more women (or men, whichever the case may be), because racing is an emotional sport, and the products associated with it are designed to reach us on an emotional level.

If you go on some type of binge, when the moment is over, that’s it. With a body tattoo, you’re going to hang on to that experience for the rest of your life.

Somehow, I’m not able to square this marketing program with my core beliefs.

Do you think this type program belongs in NASCAR? Should teams and drivers promote this type behavior? Is this type P/R good for racing? Should a company ask individuals to have a logo tattooed on their body? Give us your thoughts. We’ll send you a photo of your favorite driver if we use your comments.

Hornaday pushes Mike Wallace to victory

Two old NASCAR veterans, with a combined age total of 105 years, shared Talladega’s Victory Lane Saturday evening.

In his first Truck Series start since 2009, Mike Wallace won as teammate Ron Hornaday Jr. pushed him across the finish line.

“I’m very emotional right now, because a lot of people doubt you,” Wallace said. “They doubt your ability. An opportunity like this just proves, ‘Hey, I can get it done. Give me something good to drive, and I can prove I can do it.”

“I’m numb. My son’s at home, my daughters … I wish they were all here. It is my wife (Carla) and my anniversary this weekend. It’s a cool anniversary.”

The victory was the fifth overall for Wallace, who was substituting for Elliott Sadler, whose wife, Amanda, is expecting the couple’s second child. Wallace won in the truck series for the first time since 2000. The victory was his first in any of NASCAR’s top three touring series since he won a Nationwide race at Daytona in July 2004.

Hornaday ran second, followed by James Buescher, who made a dent in the series points lead of Austin Dillon. Ricky Carmichael, Jason White, Todd Bodine, Austin Dillon, Brendan Gaughan, Kyle Busch, and Max Papis rounded out the top-10.

Johnny Sauter’s championship aspirations suffered a major setback on Lap 35. He and teammate Matt Crafton had dropped to the rear of the field to stay out of harm’s way early in the race, but the strategy backfired.

The two trucks crashed as they ran together in tandem, after Donnie Neuenberger’s Chevrolet blew a right-front tire in front of them. Sauter, who entered the race second in the standings and five points behind Dillon, lost two laps as his crew made repairs on pit road.

With a wave-around and a free pass, Sauter got back on the lead lap and finished 15th.

Top-10 leaders after 22 of 25: 1. Dillon- 769, 2. Buescher-766, 3. Sauter- 755, 4. Hornaday-753, 5. Peters 727, 6. Bodine-710, 7. Whitt-698, 8. Crafton-689, 9. Coulter-680, 10. Kligerman 659

Weekend Racing: The Cup and Truck teams are at Martinsville Speedway, the smallest and oldest track on the NASCAR circuit (. 526- miles; first NASCAR race was in 1949). The Nationwide Series does not race again until Nov. 5.

Sat., Oct. 29, Camping World Trucks Kroger 200, race 23 of 25; starting time: 2 p.m.; TV: Speed Channel.

Sun., Oct. 30, Sprint Cup Tum’s 500, race 33 of 36; starting time: 1:30 p.m.; TV: ESPN.

Racing trivia question: Who is the current crew chief on Tony Stewart’s No. 14?

Last week’s question: What year did Kurt Busch win the Cup championship? Answer. It was 2004.

Contact the Racing Reporter at hodges@race500.com.

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