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Keselowski takes “Chase” lead with Dover win

Heading into last Sunday’s AAA 400 at Dover, the conversation was mostly about Jimmie Johnson’s Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. Johnson had parlayed a pair of second-place finishes into the championship lead following Round 2 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Johnson moved up a spot, displacing Chicagoland winner Brad Keselowski, whose sixth-place SYLVANIA 300 finish left him a point off the lead heading to last Sunday’s AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway.

Both math and history gave Johnson a virtual lock on holding or extending his lead at the “Monster Mile,” where the five-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion’s record is superlative. 

Read more: Keselowski takes “Chase” lead with Dover win

Joe Gibbs captures 100th Sprint Cup win

Three Super Bowl championships     

Three NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 

championships. 

Triple-digit wins in the NFL

Triple-digit wins in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series?  After two-plus decades in the sport, Gibbs can check that rare milestone off the list too.

With Denny Hamlin’s dominant win at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) reached a rare milestone, becoming only the sixth team in NASCAR Sprint Cup history to reach 100 victories. 

Read more: Joe Gibbs captures 100th Sprint Cup win

Who do you like in this year’s “Chase?”

Coming into last season’s “Chase,” the least likely candidate to win the Championship was Tony Stewart.  Stewart began the 2011 “Chase” without a win and in the ninth seed. He’d done absolutely nothing in the 26-race regular season to suggest he’d do anything to make any noise in the ten-race dash for the Sprint Cup. Before the start of last season’s “Chase”, Stewart remarked that, “They were just taking up space in the field of Chase eligible race teams.” It would be better if they gave his team’s slot to a team that had a chance to win. In fact, Tony was so dissatisfied with the No. 14 team’s performance that he had already notified crew chief Darian Grubb that he would not be part of the team during the 2012 season.

Read more: Who do you like in this year’s “Chase?”

Jeff Gordon earns final wild card slot at Richmond

Saturday night’s Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond was anything but a typical Saturday night of short track racing. It turned out more like an endurance race. They could have called it “The Six Hours of Richmond”.

The race was scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m., but due to a severe storm and the subsequent drying of the race track, it was nearly 9:30 before the race got underway. There were two subsequent red flag periods for rain. You have to hand it to NASCAR for not calling the race before they completed the entire scheduled 400 laps. It was nearly 1:30 a.m. Sunday morning when Clint Bowyer finally held off a hard charging Jeff 

Read more: Jeff Gordon earns final wild card slot at Richmond

Gordon and Kyle to decide final wild card Saturday

Denny Hamlin did himself a favor,  and one for Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Kyle Busch in the process.  Outrunning Jeff Gordon on a two-lap dash to the finish in Sunday night’s AdvoCare 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Hamlin scored his second straight NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victory, his fourth win of the season, and the 21st of his career.

Hamlin also preserved Busch’s status as the second provisional wild card in the Chase for the Sprint Cup by keeping Gordon out of Victory Lane.  Hamlin beat Gordon to the finish line by .378 seconds after a caution spoiled a probable victory for Martin Truex Jr., who was leading by two seconds when Jamie McMurray wrecked on the frontstretch on Lap 320 of 327.  Brad Keselowski ran third, followed by Truex and Kevin Harvick.

Read more: Gordon and Kyle to decide final wild card Saturday

Getting back to the Bristol we remember

Denny Hamlin saved his best effort for the stretch run in Saturday’s Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway, and his persistence paid off with the No. 11 team’s third win of the season in 24 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races.  “It’s Bristol.  I don’t know what to say, man,” Hamlin said as he crossed the finish line. “I’m so damn happy.”

It wasn’t the same Bristol that played to half-empty grandstands in March. On the contrary, grinding two degrees of banking off the outside lane,  a project orchestrated after the March race,  helped produce an abundance of action, but perhaps not in the way track owner Bruton Smith intended. After a heated battle, Hamlin passed Carl Edwards for the lead on Lap 462 but didn’t clear the No. 99 Ford until both drivers traded shots. As Edwards faded, Hamlin pulled away to beat Jimmie Johnson to the checkered flag by 1.103 seconds. Jeff Gordon ran third, followed by Brian Vickers and Marcos Ambrose. Greg Biffle (19th Saturday), Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr. (12th) clinched berths in the Chase for the Sprint Cup.

Read more: Getting back to the Bristol we remember

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