Exhilarating End Salvages Fontana Race

I never liked Fontana. Known for long runs and uneventful races, the track wasn’t a blip on my radar. Missing half the race for a school-related commitment didn’t hurt too much, although I longed for the sound of engines once more.

I mean, come on. It’s Fontana. Nothing could happen to stun everyone, right?

Wrong. Today, it captured my attention.

Well, the final restart did.

As Kyle brought us to the green with 12 laps to go, Joey Logano threw a block on Tony Stewart, which is not unusual for Logano OR Stewart. Just saying. Anyway, the No. 22 ran down Busch, as did the incomparable Denny Hamlin, and the NASCAR fan base assumed what was about to go down.

(If you forgot, here’s a reminder: Bristol. Hamlin spins Logano twice. Logano and Hamlin are held back by crew members. Twitter brawl.)

The two ex-teammates battled, leaning and bumping. Racing. Meanwhile, Busch apparently mistreated Carl Edwards, and a gesture was sent Kyle’s way. Uh oh.

Logano’s engine began running hot, steam blowing, with a sizeable lead and six to go. Hamlin caught up to him, and you could basically feel everything coming to a head.

Bump, hit, bump, scrape. Bumper a few centimeters in front of the other. Close, good racing. The battle slowed both of them down, and Busch passed both cars on the high side coming to the checkered. Logano bumped Hamlin’s side and got him a bit sideways. The No. 22 pulled ahead, and he was hooked by the sideways front end of his best friend.

Busch took the win, leading to a weekend sweep. Hamlin bolted into an unprotected wall, leading to a hospital visit.

And Logano threw a block on Stewart, leading to pit road chaos.

That’s right, Tony Stewart parked his car next to Joey’s after the race, got out, and got a fistful of hair and an unsuccessful attempt at a punch. Logano was being pushed away when he took a crack at slapping him. Ha.

Afterward, Tony gave a profanity-laced interview to Steve Byrnes. He was not happy with that block. At least, that’s what I gathered, between all the bleeping.

First of all, I am very concerned with Denny’s health right now, and he will be in my thoughts.

Secondly, BULLCRAP, Tony. Remember Talladega last fall? Yeah, that happened. Don’t go off on Joey for racing you how you race everyone else. It’s classless (although I highly doubt Tony cares how people view him, so this incident won’t keep him up at night).

My third and final point is about NASCAR. Why wasn’t the wall Hamlin hit protected by a SAFER barrier? The fact that it wasn’t makes his back pain much more frightening. Every foot of every wall at every track should be covered with the safety layer. Spend some money on that concept, okay?

Congratulations to Kyle Busch on the win and to Dale Earnhardt Jr., the new points leader.

Two things are now certain.

Fontana delivered, and Martinsville’s ticket sales just skyrocketed.

Points Standing after Fontana

1. Dale Earnhardt Jr. (–)
2. Brad Keselowski (-12)
3. Jimmie Johnson (-16)
4. Carl Edwards (-35)
4. Greg Biffle (-35)
6. Kyle Busch (-36)
7. Kasey Kahne (-40)
8. Paul Menard (-45)
9. Joey Logano (-53)
10. Denny Hamlin (-54)
11. Matt Kenseth (-58)
12. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (-60)

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