Event: Richmond 400 (Round 9 of 36)
Series: Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series
Location: Richmond (Va.) Raceway (.75-mile oval)
Format: 400 laps, broken into three stages (100 laps/100 laps/200 laps)
Start/Finish: 14th/3rd (Running, completed 400 of 400 laps)
Point Standing: 8th (280 points, 120 out of first)
Race Winner: Martin Truex Jr. of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 1 Winner: Kyle Busch of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 2 Winner: Joey Logano of Team Penske (Ford)
Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-100):
● Clint Bowyer started 14th and finished fifth.
● Bowyer reported his car was loose in the opening laps then tightened as the race progressed.
● Bowyer moved into the top-10 by the lap-40 competition caution.
● Bowyer moved into the top-five by lap 70.
● Bowyer asked for the car to turn better but cautioned not to get him loose.
● Team said he turned the fastest lap on the track several times during the stage.
Stage 2 Recap (Laps 101-200):
● Bowyer started fifth and finished fifth.
● The No. 14 crew told Bowyer his car showed its fastest speed about 10 laps into each run.
● Crew continued to work on making the No. 14 turn better.
● Several quick pit stops by the crew kept the No. 14 racing with the leaders.
● Bowyer climbed as high as fourth during the stage before finishing fifth.
Stage 3 Recap (Laps 201-400):
● Bowyer started fifth and finished third.
● Bowyer held the fifth position in the early part of the stage but told his crew he needed to get on the gas quicker than the other leaders.
● Bowyer moved to fourth on lap 255 and continued to run lap times as fast as, and sometimes faster than, the leader.
● Adjustments throughout the race made the No. 14 faster, and Bowyer began passing the cars in front of him.
● Bowyer moved into third with 93 to go and was second with 90 to go.
● Bowyer eventually ran down leader Martin Truex Jr. in the closing laps and ran door-to-door but could not make the pass.
● Slight wall contact hindered Bowyer’s progress, and he lost second place to Joey Logano before finishing third.
● Bowyer earned his third top-five and fifth top-10 of the season.
● This was Bowyer’s fifth top-five and 15th top-10 in 27 career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series starts at Richmond.
● This was Bowyer’s fourth straight top-10 and his third consecutive top-10 at Richmond.
● Bowyer finished fifth in Stage 1 to earn six bonus points and fifth in Stage 2 to earn another six bonus points.
● Martin Truex Jr. won the Richmond 400 to score his 20th career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory, his first of the season and his first at Richmond. His margin of victory over second-place Logano was .178 of a second.
● There were five caution periods for a total of 41 laps.
● Only 16 of the 37 drivers in the Richmond 400 finished on the lead lap.
● Kyle Busch remains the championship leader after Richmond with a 20-point advantage over second-place Logano.
Clint Bowyer, driver of the No. 14 Haas Automation Ford Mustang:
“We struggle on Fridays. We don’t unload good. We are definitely getting beat speedwise. Long run-wise we slowly but surely run them down. It is frustrating. You get out there, and I ran him (Truex) down. I was faster on a long run than him, but by the time you get to him your stuff is pretty wore out, and with this aero package you are so aero dependent behind those cars that you get terrible tight. When I got behind him I knew that wasn’t the place to be, so I changed that. I lost. It sucks. Then (Logano) got to my outside. I knew better than to let him out there, but I felt like when I was running high that I was probably losing ground to him. In hopes of still trying to win the race I needed to stay on the bottom and hope that he slipped up in traffic or something. Next thing you know I lost my nose down there and the 22 got to the outside. If I didn’t give up that spot the 4 was gonna get me too. You had to give up one to save one.”
The next event on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the GEICO 500 on Sunday, April 28 at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway. The race starts at 2 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by FOX and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.