Monday, September 6, 2010

Sprint Cup 2010: Race 25 - Stewart Wins; Chase for Chase All But Finished

It’s September. Pools are closing. Kids are back in school, and footballs are flying. In Sprint Cup Racing, it means guys like Tony Stewart and Jimmie Johnson get hot, and that’s exactly what happened in Hot ‘Lanta. Stewart won the race giving him a much needed 10 bonus points when the Chase field is determined. Jimmie Johnson finished 3rd, not that his Chase situation was any problem since he’s tied for the lead with five wins, but it certainly will send shivers around the other team garages as they prepare for the last ten races. Jimmie’s back and heading for his 5th in a row. Truth be told, once he had the five wins, all he had to do was hold on to staying in the top 12 and anything good up to Richmond would be icing on the cake.

Also, in closing out the last position in the Chase, Clint Bowyer did what he had to do, adding to his lead over 13th place with a solid 7th place finish. Meanwhile, Jamie McMurray finished 15th and Mark Martin finished 21st all but ruining their chances allowing Ryan Newman to slip into 13th place; however, almost nothing short of his winning and a Bowyer DNF would change the scenario.

An early blown engine put Denny Hamlin in dead last even behind the parking lot patrol. Five cars parked in front of him before another miserable finish for a Chase driver, Greg Biffle whose early wreck cemented him in 36th place. The evening was almost as bad for points’ leader, Kevin Harvick, who blew a tire and the flapping around tire rubber on the driver’s side beat the hell out of his race car.

Aside from these noted incidents, all the Top 12 drivers finished in the top 13 where Jeff Gordon finished.

1- Tony Stewart. Chevrolet
2- Carl Edwards, Ford
3- Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet
4- Jeff Burton, Chevrolet
5- Kyle Busch, Toyota
6- Kurt Busch, Dodge
7- Clint Bowyer, Chevrolet
8- Ryan Newman, Chevrolet
9- Juan Montoya, Chevrolet
10- Marcos Ambrose, Toyota
11- Matt Kenseth, Ford
12- Martin Truex, Jr., Toyota
13- Jeff Gordon, Chevrolet

After an announcement that the Lance McGrew/Dale Earnhardt Jr. partnership would continue, Junior continued to show no fire for winning, a 22nd place finish. Ho-hum.

For what it’s worth, Tony Stewart, Jimmie Johnson, and Kurt Busch gained two positions in the standings while Denny Hamlin fell five. All this will be mute after Saturday night when they’ll be shuffled by wins after Richmond’s race. Surely, any of the top 12 drivers will be motivated to snag a victory at the venerated Virginia track to gain ten points in the Chase seedings, mindful that Jeff Gordon, Carl Edwards, Jeff Burton, Matt Kenseth, and Clint Bowyer have no wins in 2010.

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