Concord, NC (Sports Network) - Clint Bowyer gained ground in the Chase for the
Sprint Cup championship by winning Saturday night's Bank of America 500 at
Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Bowyer, who is in his first season driving for Michael Waltrip Racing,
conserved enough fuel late in the 500-mile race and then barely held off Denny
Hamlin at the finish to claim his third win of the season and the eighth of
his Sprint Cup Series career.
Brad Keselowski, the current points leader, led the most laps with 140, but
during a round of green-flag pit stops with 60 laps remaining, Keselowski ran
out of fuel as he coasted onto pit road. His 22-second stop cost him valuable
track position, as he went from being the leader to running outside the
Bowyer, who had complained about the performance of his car earlier in the
race, benefited from pit strategy as he made his last stop with 58 laps left.
He took the lead for good with 24 laps to go when the other frontrunners were
forced to pit for gas.
Hamlin chased down Bowyer in the closing laps, but Bowyer crossed the finish
line by 0.4 seconds for the win. He ran out of fuel during his cool-down lap.
Jimmie Johnson finished third, while Greg Biffle, the pole sitter, and Kyle
Busch, who is not in this year's Chase, rounded out the top-five.
Despite an 11th-place finish, Keselowski remained atop the championship
standings. Johnson trimmed Keselowski's lead from 14 points to seven. Hamlin
trails by 15 points.
Bowyer is now 28 points out of the lead. He entered this race 40 markers
Regan Smith, who substituted for Dale Earnhardt Jr. in the No. 88 Hendrick
Motorsports Chevrolet, suffered engine failure on lap 62 and ended up
finishing 38th. Earnhardt Jr. sustained a concussion during last weekend's
last-lap crash at Talladega and will miss at least two races. Smith will also
drive the car in next week's race at Kansas Speedway.
The Sports Network