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Clint Bowyer Wins Crown Royal Presents The Dan Lowry 400

Clint Bowyer took the lead when Kyle Busch and Dale Earnhardt Jr. got together battling for the lead, to win the Crown Royal Presents The Dan Lowry 400.

Denny Hamlin dominated the race leading over 380 of the 400 laps. But, with about 15 laps to go, Hamlin felt a tire going down and slowed. As Busch and Jr. battled for second place, Jr. made it three-wide to take the lead.

Hamlin continued sliding back, until his tire finally blew on the front stretch and Hamlin stopped. The caution flag was waved, and then Hamlin started moving again. As a result, NASCAR parked Hamlin for two laps for stopping on the front stretch. I presume that it was because a caution helped Busch, Hamlin’s teammate get back into contention for the win.

On the restart, Jr. and Busch raced hard, and were side by side for most of the next lap and a half. With 3 to go, Jr. and Busch drove hard into turn 3, with Jr. running the high line and Busch running low. Busch slipped up the track into Jr., sending him spinning into the wall. Bowyer snuck by to take the lead. Then the caution waved. (Watch video [1])

On the restart, Bowyer drove away from Busch, who was being challenged for 2nd by Mark Martin. Busch managed to beat Martin back to the line to take 2nd place.

The top 10: Bowyer, Busch, Martin, Tony Stewart, Martin Truex Jr., Kevin Harvick, Ryan Newman, Carl Edwards, Kasey Kahne, Jeff Gordon.

Notable: Jeff Burton (12th), Jr. (15th), Hamlin (24th), Jimmie Johnson (30th).

Incidents: Michael Waltrip and Casey Mears got together on the front stretch. Waltrip was on the outside, and Mears appeared to squeeze him into the outside wall, crashing both cars. After the two cars bounced off the walls, Waltrip mashed the gas and hit the back of Mears and pushed his wrecked car down the front stretch into turn one.  As a result, Waltrip was parked for the night. (Watch video [2])

The was also a 10+ car pileup when J.J. Yeley and Dave Blaney got together forcing Yeley up the track into the wall. Edwards had nowhere to go and got into the back of Yeley. Patrick Carpentier turned down to avoid is and spun into the inside wall, then slid back onto the track where he was hit by multiple cars. This bought out the red flag. (Watch video [3])

On the Busch/Earnhardt Jr. incident, Busch said:

To say that I took a win away from him, you know, it’s hard to say. And if I wanted to do it deliberately, I would have waited for the last lap where I probably could have still won the race. We just didn’t give each other enough room getting into Turn 3. I didn’t feel like I slipped, but I mean, we just kind of banged simultaneously, and then that’s when I got loose and got corrected and he was gone. For me, there’s nothing you can say, absolutely nothing. … If I apologize up and down, even though it may or may not be my fault — it would not make a difference. Dale got wrecked; he should have had a win tonight — quote, unquote.

Jr. said:

I haven’t seen the replay. Tony [Eury] Jr. [Earnhardt’s crew chief] said it looked like Kyle got loose underneath me. That happens. … The worst part about it is that I have been priding myself on running good all year and I was in position for a win. … I ran hard and got wrecked. I had a top-three car and should have finished in the top three. So, I was going for the win [and] just ended up on the hook. [I’m] just disappointed.