FYI WIRZ: NASCAR's Clint Bowyer, Jeff Burton and Dave Blaney Wow Talladega

Dwight DrumCorrespondent IIIOctober 24, 2011

Clint Bowyer and Tiny Stewart talk in the garage on the way to practice runsl
Clint Bowyer and Tiny Stewart talk in the garage on the way to practice runsl

Richard Childress Racing lame-duck driver Clint Bowyer pushed teammate Jeff Burton to the front of NASCAR’s Good Sam Club 500 on the 2.66-mile tri-oval Talladega Superspeedway in Talladega, Alabama Sunday. 

On the last lap, Bowyer gave up the tandem strategy and darted around Burton for the win. Dave Blaney has been a stranger to top-five finishes lately but surprised many with his third-place speed.

The tandem racing event was not spoiled by NASCAR rule changes nor was there a normal “Big One”—a multi-car crash to ruin the plans of championship contenders. Smaller crashes accomplished that.

A mid-race crash dropped Kevin Harvick to fifth place in the Chase. The same wreck doomed Kyle Busch to seventh spot, now 40 points back from leader Carl Edwards.

Jimmie Johnson was involved in a crash that had slight consequences, but he is unlikely to repeat his championship charm from eighth place with a 50-point deficit. Kurt Busch was also victim of a three car pileup that placed him 52 points behind Edwards.

Chase drivers Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jeff Gordon, Denny Hamlin and Ryan Newman are effectively eliminated unless all of the top five have multiple crashes and equipment failure during the final races—a highly unlikely occurrence.

Although contenders are not mathematically purged with four races and 192 points remaining, only the top-five Chase drivers are within striking distance of the crown.

The top three in the “Talladega tango” Clint Bowyer, Jeff Burton and Dave Blaney commented before and after the Talladega race.


Clint Bowyer (No. 33 Chevrolet) finished first. (Started third)

Before the green flag:

"I am looking forward to seeing what the rule changes are going to do,” Bowyer said. “It's a step in the right direction. Do I think it will fix the two-car tandem? I really don't know. I am reluctant to answer right now. Only time will tell.

“If the fans don't like it, then I don't like it and no one likes it. If they love it, then everyone loves it. We are in show business and here to put on a show. It's as simple as that."

After the checkered flag:

“I told him (Richard Childress) what an awesome paint scheme,” Bowyer said. “This is Richard’s 100th race that he has won in the Cup series, so I told him congratulations, I guess I am going to have to race his ass for the 101st (laughs).

“My teammate Jeff Burton, we just were really good together, we thought about it, we talked about it a lot before the race, and things really did play out just how we planned. We were really good on the restarts, just kept getting together, getting bunched up before the other cars and I think that is what ultimately won the race.”


Jeff Burton (No. 31 Chevrolet) finished second. (Started 25th)

Before the green flag:

From what it looks like, you're not going to have a two-car tandem,” Burton said. “Pandora's box is open and you can't shut it. You're still going to see that late-race push by someone. If you can even push someone for a lap, the cars might overheat and blow up. However, if it's on the last lap, so what, the race is over.”

After the checkered flag:

“We put ourselves in position to win the race and Clint (Bowyer) did a great job, I thought he made his move a little too early and as it turned out he did it perfect,” Burton said. “We had a great day, part of me wants to cry and part of me wants to cheer, anytime you leave here and the car is in one piece you should be happy; but to come that close after the year we have had is pretty disappointing.”


Dave Blaney (No. 36 Chevrolet) finished third. (Started 41st)

Before the green flag:

“I'm really looking forward to Talladega,” Blaney said. “We had a great run there in April, and it was by far the most fun I've had on the racetrack all year. Other than Daytona in July, we have been really strong at superspeedways this year. Hopefully, we can get Golden Corral a top-10 finish so kids can eat free on Monday.”

After the checkered flag:

“I can’t thank Brad Keselowski and that whole team enough,” Blaney said. “They committed yesterday or Friday to just work together the whole day and we kind of struggled at times figuring out what to do and when to do it, but man he could really push me well. It turned out good, man happy for Golden Coral, finally get to feed a lot of kids on Monday, and that is big for us.”

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Unless otherwise noted, quotes and information were obtained from official release materials provided by NASCAR and team representatives.

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