Monday, June 25, 2012

Midwest Dirt Tracker Wins at Sonoma

Bowyer enjoying the limelight

SONOMA, CA - "I just kept thinking, 'He's a dirt late model racer from the Midwest -- there's no way he can be able to run the road course,' but he did," said Kurt Busch of Clint Bowyer’s win at the Sonoma 350. With 15 laps to go in the 350-mile road race and running 2nd, Kurt Busch kept strong pressure hoping to force Clint Bowyer into a mistake. Unfortunately for Busch, he was the one who made the mistake.

Boyer's Toyota was dominate most of the race.

In past races, the tires at turn 11 could be knocked out of place by drivers wanting to straighten the turn out. This year however, NASCAR had them bolted down. With only eight laps to go, Kurt Busch thought he could pull off the old stunt. This time however, Busch hit the barrier hard and broke his Panhard rod, shattering any chance for a win, and giving Tony Stewart an opportunity to pass. “Honestly I don't know how he kept it on the racetrack,” Stewart said. “Every time he'd go into a corner, the rear end would shift. We kind of got [the pass] by default to a certain degree. But, unfortunately, we just weren't close enough to finally take the front.”
Kurt Busch gave Bowyer a run for his money.

Stewart put up a good fight at the end, but it was just too-little-too-late, allowing Bowyer his sixth SPRINT Cup win, first of the season and with Martin Truex placing 4th, the best ever two-car finish for Michael Waltrip Racing. “To have this dirt-[track] boy from Kansas in victory lane is big, trust me,” said Bowyer. “Damned glad he didn't have it,” speaking of Stewart. Bowyer said of the extra lap. “You know how many races I'd have won if it wasn't for that damned guy in front of me? He could have beat me.” (Read more: )
Tony Stewart had a chance in the final lap - but too-little-too-late

Front row qualifiers Marcos Ambrose and Jeff Gordon were outside the top five in Sunday’s race. Ambrose’s car developed handling problems early in the race and Jeff Gordon, who had the fastest car in practice, somehow managed to run out of gas just before his second pit stop. "We went about a half a lap too far there on that one run," Gordon said. "I think we made the car a little bit better and just used a little bit more fuel in that second run and ran out, unfortunately. It never fails, you run out just as you pass pit entrance. We were lucky to get back to pit road and get it fueled up."
Marcos Ambrose qualified for the pole, but the car faded early.

It is interesting to note that the dominance of road-course “ringers” like Boris Said is coming to an end. There were 4 ringers entered in the race, with only 3 qualifying for the Sunday event. Said managed the best finish at 29th. As the regular SPRINT Car drivers become more adept at turning right as well as left, the “mid-west dirt-trackers” are more than holding their own on the road courses. "That's the toughest thing," Said commented. "To come in here, no matter how good a race car driver you think you are, these guys for sure are the best in the world, in my opinion. To do it twice a year is just tough. I haven't sat in one since Watkins Glen last year, and that wasn't my best result. But still, I relish the challenge. I feel like it's a privilege that I get to do it, and I think I've had a great career doing it. Maybe I haven't won a lot of races, but I love competing. If we were competitive and maybe ran in the top 15, that would be like a win."

Though not as competitive as in the past, Boris still enjoys the SPRINT Car rides.

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