We had to wait for 35 long weeks, but the AdvoCare 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on Sunday afternoon finally provided the drama badly needed by a sport that has at times this year, reached boredom. In fact, the only drama early on, was trying to keep track of points leader Jimmie Johnson, and his young contender Brad Keselowski. Then Jeff Gordon, driver of The Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet, decided to extract some revenge on Clint Bowyer, and all hell broke loose.
There it was, race cars spinning, smoke on the track, cars wrecking, and a brawl in the pits. All of a sudden we were in the middle of what Nascar used to be. Somebody turned the clock back to a time when racing was fun. From that point on, The AdvoCare 500 became Must Watch TV.
Gordon has felt for a time that he had been pushed around by the 5-Hour Energy Chevrolet, and after some contact on Sunday, Jeff decided it was time to say enough is enough. He purposely waited for the right moment, and let it fly. Unfortunately he also took out some innocent bystanders, but it would end the day for both drivers, and for sure end any hopes Bowyer had for a championship. He finished in 28th position, and the result would drop him to fourth place two points behind Kasey Kahne. Gordon finished 30th.
As Kevin Harvick took the Checkerd Flag for his first win in 44 races, and his 19th trip to victory lane, we had even more race cars spinning, and more scrap sheet metal for the junk pile. In a controversial move by Nascar to not throw a yellow flag as Danica Patrick was disabled on the race track during the final green white checkered restart, Harvick continued on the outside and took the checkered flag. Points contender Brad Keselowski picked up some damage coming through the melee, but finished in sixth place to take a 21 point lead in the Chase, to Homestead for the finale.
Jimmie Johnson’s day and hope for a sixth Sprint Cup title hit the wall on lap 234 when his right front tire blew, sending him into the wall, prompting a trip to the garage. The five time champ’s team got him repaired and back on the track to run some laps, but it would be too little too late. He finished 32nd on the day, falling 21 points behind the Blue Duece, giving him a large hill to climb when he gets to Homestead.
Bent up race cars and stars taking trips to the Nascar hauler. This is what we have been waiting for. Already, I can’t wait until February, and Speed Weeks in Daytona.
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