Did Clint Bowyer Spin Out On Purpose In Richmond [VIDEO]?
There was enough drama on the track in Richmond as 11 drivers fought for six positions to make it into NASCAR's Chase for the Cup, but did Clint Bowyer spin out in the last few laps to benefit his teammate?
There were about ten laps left in the 400-lap race when Ryan Newman, who was competing with Bowyer's teammate Martin Truex Jr. for the last wild card spot to make the Chase, was leading. If Newman had won the race, he would have made the Chase regardless of what happened with Joey Logano and would have automatically bumped Truex.
The other race to make it into the Chase was between 4-time champion Jeff Gordon and Logano for the 10th place in points. When Newman was in the lead, Gordon was ahead of Logano by two points for the final spot.
Gordon was also racing with Truex on the track for an extra position to add insurance points to make it into the Chase. Truex's team was telling their driver to keep Gordon back at all costs. If Logano was bumped out of the top 10, that would have kept both Truex and Newman from making the Chase, unless Newman won the race.
Bowyer was racing in front of Gordon's teammate Dale Earnhardt Jr. when he spun out on the track. However, watching in-car footage, and from accounts from Earnhardt, there looked to be no reason for Bowyer to spin out.
The spin out caused a caution to come out along with a round of pit stops. Newman ended up losing the lead to Carl Edwards, who eventually won the race. Not only that, but the caution allowed Logano to get a lap back on a wave around (he was two laps down and couldn't advance more than one position because of the number of cars on the same lap as he was). That allowed Logano to gain a couple positions to keep Gordon out of the Chase by one point.
In a post race interview during ESPN/ABC's coverage of the race, Bowyer told the reporter that he must have had a "flat tire or something." ESPN analysts Rusty Wallace (former NASCAR Champion driver), Ray Evernham (former NASCAR Champion crew chief), and Brad Daugherty (co-owner of JTG Daugherty Racing) all said in their expert opinion, they felt the spin was "suspicious."
Check what Bowyer had to say and some of the in-car footage:
This from ESPN with the analysts' comments at the end:
What do you think?