April 28th, 2013
“Toyota Owner’s 400”
Written by Rick A. Talford
RICHMOND, VIRGINIA – The Cup Series ran their ninth race of the season on the ¾ mile race track. Matt Kenseth (20) won the pole position over Brian Vickers (11), who is subbing for Denny Hamlin again this weekend. The race is scheduled for 400 laps, equaling 300 miles. Kyle Busch has won the spring race at Richmond the past four years. He will be chasing number five in this race. Jimmie Johnson came into Richmond with a 37 point lead. This race was on a Saturday night, with a full moon above. Some say this can cause tempers to flare on and off the track. Being a short track, there are common bumps and bangs between the drivers.
In related news: Kenseth was docked 50 points, and Crew Chief Jason Radcliffe was fined over $200K and received a six race suspension, after their win last weekend. Owner Joe Gibbs also was docket 50 owner points and will not get any points for the next six races. This stems from the infraction of NASCAR rules. One of the eight connecting rods in Kenseth’s winning engine was 2.7 grams too light. This is approximately the weight of a penny. This upcoming week the Penske team will get to have their day in front of the Appeals Committee for the massive penalties against the 2 and 22 teams. The rear housing was taken and similar fines were levied just a week ago. Denny Hamlin may be ready to at least start next week at Talladega. Hamlin spoke in the pre-race show and said there is a slim chance that he may not be able to return this season, as there could be a need for surgery that will sideline him until next season. Everything is really day to day for him at this point.
In Pre-Race Ceremonies, Joe Ellison provided the Invocation. A Local High School Honors Ensemble sang the “National Anthem.” Carlton Walker was the Grand Marshal. The In-Race Reporter was Matt Kenseth.
The first 36 laps were led by Kenseth, before Clint Bowyer (15) caught up and passed him.
On lap 42, Josh Wise (35) spun after being tagged by Landon Cassill (33).
On lap 109, Marcus Ambrose (9) brought out the second caution when his car quit running on track. He would take his car to the garage with an engine failure.
On lap 147, the third caution came out for Michael McDowell (98) losing an engine on the track.
The fourth caution flew on lap 158, when Brad Keselowski (2) had a tire failure just before hitting the wall.
Caution number five came on lap 231, when Greg Biffle (16) spun through the infield after having a rear tire failure. By the time he got to pit road, he had both right tires flat.
On lap 291, another caution flew for a car slapping the wall twice. I missed the action and no replay was shown.
The seventh caution flew on lap 307, for Travis Kvapil (93) having an engine failure. During the caution, Kyle Busch (18), Brian Vickers (11) and Landon Cassill (33) were all penalized for not committing to the pit entry. The Busch team fought the violation and NASCAR reviewed it and allowed him to stay in his position. The rule is that you must have both tires below the marker and Busch did not have his tires below the marker, clearly in the replay. His left side tires barely clipped the edge of the marker, which was a violation.
On lap 327, Tony Stewart (14) got into the corner too hot and slid into Jimmie Johnson (48). As the two cars slid through the corner, Kyle Busch ran into Johnson. Stewart apologized right away for causing the wreck.
On lap 337, the ninth caution came out on a crash between Kasey Kahne (5), Mark Martin (55) and Brian Vickers (11). Kahne ran into the rear left corner of Martin’s car, and that started the wreck. Vickers had nowhere he could go, as he ran into the back of Martin’s car.
The tenth caution came on lap 344, when Martin Truex Jr. (56) was slid out of a top ten spot. He was trying to block Kurt Busch (78) a couple times and he tried one too many times, as Busch bumped him going into the corner.
On lap 394, Brian Vickers (11) ran into the wall. The race would end under over-time with a green-white-checkered finish.
The race was wild for the two lap shoot-out. Kevin Harvick (29) was able to go from seventh to first in one lap to win the race. Harvick was sporting a special paint scheme on his car, for the race as well. He had Bell Helicopter as his major sponsor at Richmond.
The rest of the top ten were: Clint Bowyer (15), Joey Lagono (22), Juan Pablo Montoya (42), Jeff Burton (31), Carl Edwards (99), Matt Kenseth (20), Aric Almirola (43), Kurt Busch (78) and Dale Earnhardt Jr. (88).
The race did end with some tempers, as Stewart ran up and into the side of Kurt Busch on the cool down lap and this continued after he got out of the car, he went to Busch’s trailer and was screaming at him. During the final laps, a few guys used their bumpers to move cars out of their way as they were attempting to get every position possible. Stewart was moved out of line by Busch, then Busch was moved out of line by Kenseth. While Busch was showing his dislike to Kenseth for being moved, Stewart ran into the side of Busch’s car and forced him up and into the wall, showing his dislike for losing numerous positions by the move, used by Busch.
Jimmie Johnson extended his points lead by five points in this race, and now leads by 42.
The Next race will be at Talladega for the Aaron’s 499, next Sunday at Noon EST on Fox.