When the race started, I had a knot in my stomach. This is usually a bad omen.
I believe my stomach is psychic.
The race seemed to be dragging out at first. People on Twitter were complaining about cautions that needed to be thrown, reporters were anxious and snippy, and I was fed up.
Not every race is going to be a wreckfest, I thought. Hell doesn’t break loose every weekend.
Then, Jimmie Johnson wrecked. The points leader. The Five-Time Champ. Into the wall.
Jaws all around the NASCAR world dropped. Excessive brake heat melted the bead in the right front tire, and he slammed into the barrier. The #48 team took it to the garage. They later came back out, 38 laps down. At the time, this was the highlight of the race.
Oh, but we hadn’t seen anything yet.
We saw some hard racing, and, with two to go, it was looking like Kevin Harvick was going to snap his winless streak.
Clint Bowyer and Jeff Gordon were roughing each other up, and Gordon ended up in the wall. Whether Bowyer helped him, I can’t tell you. What I can tell you is that Jeff waited for Clint to come around, and he took the #15 out, collecting Joey Logano.
Boys have at it? Oh, you have no idea.
Gordon was called to talk to NASCAR, and he parked his car near his hauler. Taking off his helmet, he was talking to his crew guys when members of Bowyer’s crew came up from behind and jumped the four-time champion (you can see the video HERE: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7q1PYYlUArU).
A HUGE fight ensued between the two teams of Gordon and Bowyer. In the TV coverage, you can see someone pull Jeff Gordon away. He was rushed into his hauler for protection, and crew members still fought. Clint, who was on pit road with his damaged car, hopped the pit wall and sprinted to the scene. Yup, SPRINTED. He wanted a piece of Jeff. He was held back, and he finally gave up.
An interview with Gordon’s crew chief, Alan Gustafson, revealed that Gordon was waiting for Bowyer, and that he was fed up with the antics.
After a lengthy red flag to clean up oil, we went back racing to a green-white-checkered. With a lap and a half to go, however, Danica Patrick (who was having a good day, being on the lead lap and all) spun after contact with Jeff Burton. This, however, didn’t result in a caution, and the white flag flew.
She was smoking and limping around the track! THROW THE CAUTION!
Right before Harvick crossed the finish line and took the checkered flag, chaos began behind him. Danica was coasting across the line, a lap down, when all of this happened, and she was hit hard by Paul Menard, putting her rear on Kurt Busch’s hood. Others were caught up, and it looked bad.
Someone could’ve been seriously hurt. NASCAR, you screwed up by not showing the yellow for Patrick’s incident. Ugh.
Harvick broke his winless streak and brought baby Keelan into Cup Victory Lane for the first time. Well deserved for the RCR driver.
So, what have we learned?
Never judge a race by its start. EVER.
Brad Keselowski, who finished sixth, now has a twenty-point lead over Jimmie Johnson. Considering Kasey Kahne is in third and behind by fifty points, it is finally safe to say this is a two man race.
Good thing Bowyer isn’t in it. He can run pretty dang fast.
Next week is the end . . .
. . . And it will be epic.