The favorite to win the Fedex 400 at Dover was Jimmie Johnson. If Johnson did not win, many fans figured Carl Edwards and Kyle Busch would end up in victory lane. However, neither of those drivers won.
The fans were not far off though. Johnson and Edwards had the two best cars. Johnson led 207 laps, the most in the race, and Edwards led 117 laps, which was the second most. For the second week in a row, Edwards was on the verge of winning, but a late caution and pit strategy robbed him of another win.
On lap 350, Edwards passed Johnson and was catching Clint Bowyer for the lead. Eleven laps later, Juan Montoya wrecked in front of the leaders to bring out the sixth caution. Once again the race would be decided on pit road. Two tires or four tires? Six drivers went with two tires, one driver stayed on the track, and the rest took four. Mark Martin was the driver who stayed out and led the field at the restart. On lap 368, Matt Kenseth passed Martin for the lead. Meanwhile, Bowyer, Edwards, and Johnson were all battling each other. Eventually, Bowyer and Edwards pulled away from Johnson and tried to navigate through the field. Unfortunately for Bowyer and Edwards, their battle took too long and they were never able to catch the leaders. Back up front, Kenseth led the final 32 laps to win his second race of the season.
Why did Kenseth take two tires instead of four? Kenseth said, “Honestly, I was sitting on the track and thinking that we should stay out and get clean air and try it, because I knew we wouldn’t win if we took four.” According to Kenseth, crew chief Jimmy Fennig was hesitant to make the call, but in the end he gambled and it paid off. Kensth’s Roush Racing teammate Carl Edwards came up short for the second week in a row. Edwards was not angry with crew chief Bob Osborne though. He said, “That’s too tough of a choice to make right there and I don’t blame him one bit. I thought we would be able to arch through there, and I thought the race would be between Clint and I.”
Speaking of Clint Bowyer, he actually was happy with his sixth-place finish. In his last two races, he was the victim of two late crashes. At Darlington, Bowyer was running in the top-ten, when Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick bounced off each other and spun Bowyer out. In Saturday’s Nationwide race at Dover, Bowyer was running third on the final lap when Joey Logano spun in front of him. Bowyer had nowhere to go and his car climbed on top of Logano’s and went airborne. This time Bowyer’s car made it to the finish unscathed.
Fans were disappointed with the “Monster Mile” after Sunday’s race. There were a measly six cautions, and only two were non-debris/rain cautions. Fans were expecting a repeat of Saturday’s chaotic race that had ten cautions and a spectacular multi-car crash at the finish with Bowyer’s car flying sideways through the air. Fans hope for a more entertaining race this Saturday Night, as the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series holds its annual All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Images Courtesy of: Crash.net (Bowyer Crash), Gantdaily.com (Kenseth crossing the line), Cache.daylife.com (Johnson and Edwards)
Quotes courtesy of: NASCAR.com