Clint Bowyer wins fuel strategy as Brad Keselowski faulters at Charlotte


Clint Bowyer

Clint Bowyer rolled the fuel dice to win the Bank Of America 500 at Charlotte and stoke up his claims in the Sprint Cup.

Bowyer managed to coax his Toyota into victory lane after 334 laps to beat Denny Hamlin and Jimmie Johnson in a tense finish where the top three gambled on stretching their fuel range to the finish.

The twists and turns of the Sprint Cup took a cruel turn for Brad Keselowski who finished 11th, a lap down on the leaders.

It means that his lead in the Chase has been slashed to just seven over Johnson with the small consolation that he collected the bonus point for leading the most laps.

Bowyer began the race 40 points behind but has closed up to 28 after the team scored their third win of the year.

His crew chief Brian Pattie said: “They said three wins wasn’t enough but hell, we’re going for it now.”

Bowyer was being pressured by a closing Hamlin and then was relieved when he received the order to turn up the wick three laps to go.

Jimmie Johnson, who had a buffer of the chasers, was told to conserve his fuel inside the final 10 laps in what turned up to the a race where fuel mileage played an unexpected deciding factor.

Hamlin admitted the critical fuel situation meant that he had probably cost him a victory.

“It goes against anything we have ever learned as race car drivers. To go into fuel-save mode I knew what I had to do. I couldn’t get behind the 48 (Johnson) and 2 (Keselowski) but I’ll take second,” Hamlin said who is 15 points behind in the standings.

Johnson said it was a matter of being conservative and avoid the risk of running out of gas in the final laps.

“We are getting a lot better at this fuel mileage racing. It’s a tough thing to do and we are still not the best car out there but we will make it work week in week out and it’s part of the game right now for whatever reason.

The Chase remains wide open as NASCAR heads to Kansas next weekend for the Hollywood Casino 400.

 

 

See below for full results

1 Clint Bowyer 15 Toyota 334 running
2 Denny Hamlin 11 Toyota 334 running
3 Jimmie Johnson 48 Chevrolet 334 running
4 Greg Biffle 15 Ford 334 running
5 Kyle Busch 18 Toyota 334 running
6 Martin Martin 55 Toyota 334 running
7 Carl Edwards 99 Ford 334 running
8 Kasey Kahne 5 Chevrolet 334 running
9 Joey Logano 20 Toyota 334 running
10 Martin Truex jr 56 Toyota 334 running
11 Brad Keselowski 2 Dodge 334 running
12 Aric Almirola 43 Ford 334 running
13 Tony Stewart 14 Chevrolet 334 running
14 Matt Kenseth 17 Ford 334 running
15 Sam Hornish jr 22 Dodge 334 running
16 Kevin Harvick 29 Chevrolet 334 running
17 Jamie McMurrary 1 Chevrolet 334 running
18 Jeff Gordon 24 Chevrolet 332 running
19 Juan Montoya 42 Chevrolet 332 running
20 Ryan Newman 39 Chevrolet 332 running
21 Kurt Busch 78 Chevrolet 332 running
22 Trevor Bayne 21 Ford 332 running
23 David Gilliland 38 Ford 331 running
24 AJ Allmedinger 51 Chevrolet 330 running
25 Travis Kvapil 93 Toyota 330 running
26 Landon Cassill 83 Toyota 329 running
27 Paul Menard 27 Chevrolet 328 running
28 Jeff Burton 31 Chevrolet 327 running
29 Casey Mears 13 Ford 327 running
30 David Reutimann 10 Chevrolet 327 running
31 Michael McDowall 98 Ford 326 running
32 Bobby Labote 47 Toyota 324 running
33 Marcos Ambrose 9 Ford 303 running
34 David Ragan 34 Ford 287 Running
35 Ricky Stenhouse jr 6 Ford 190 out
36 Timmy Hill 32 Ford 182 out
37 David Stremme 30 Toyota 62 Pit
38 Regan Smith 88 Chevrolet 61 out
39 Mike Bliss 119 Toyota 53 Pit
40 Scott Speed 195 Ford 50 pit
41 Reed Sorenson 191 Toyota 32 pit
42 JJ Yeley 37 Ford 30 pit
43 Dave Blaney 36 Chevrolet 25 Pit

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

See below for top 10 standings

1 Brad Keselowski 2214 leader 31 0 5 12 19
2 Jimmie Johnson 2207 -7 31 2 3 16 21
3 Denny Hamlin 2199 -15 31 3 5 13 16
4 Clint Bowyer 2186 -28 31 0 3 8 19
5 Kasey Kahne 2175 -35 31 3 2 9 16
6 Greg Biffle 2171 -43 31 3 2 11 17
7 Martin True jr 2165 -49 31 1 0 6 17
8 Tony Stewart 2164 -50 31 1 3 10 14
9 Jeff Gordon 2164 -50 31 2 1 10 15
10 Kevin Harvick 2158 -56 31 0 0 4 11

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