Saturday, September 7, 2013

Logano and Truex Jr withstand Richmond, make 2013 Chase

Martin Truex Jr. just barely made the Chase
Carl Edwards won the race Saturday night at Richmond but Joey Logan and Martin Truex Jr. won the more important battle.

Despite struggling all night, Logano gained positions on the final restart and three-lap shootout to stay in the top 10 in points and knock Jeff Gordon out of the Chase.

Truex also hung on to claim the final wild-card spot. Kasey Kahne had already clinched one wild-card spot and claimed it when he was unable to race his way back into the top 10 in points.

The big losers were Gordon, who missed the Chase for just the second time in his career, and Ryan Newman, who must missed getting the second wild card despite finishing third.

Newman, who had not been a factor most of the race, moved to fifth when the leaders pitted on Lap 344 and then ran down Carl Edwards for the lead. Had he held on for the win, he would have earned the second wild card over Truex.

Newman held the lead until Clint Bowyer spun, bringing out a caution flag with just seven laps remaining.

Paul Menard and Edwards won the race off pit road and Edwards beat Menard to take the lead on the final restart with three laps remaining. The win was Edwards’ second of the season and first since Phoenix in February.

Kurt Busch finished second to race his way into the Chase finishing the regular season in the top 10 in points. Newman finished third in the race followed by Jamie McMurray.

Gordon wasn’t the only big name to miss the Chase. He was joined by defending Sprint Cup champion Brad Keselowski, who is still winless this season and entered the race 15th in points.

Keselowski led 142 laps but was angered by a close battle for second with Kevin Harvick late in the race and then fell behind due to an untimely caution flag on Lap 342. Harvick ran Keselowski up the track after the two had raced side by side for several laps.

Harvick and Bowyer, who was leading at the time, also fell back when the caution flag flew during green-flag pit stops.

Gordon led the first 49 laps but fell two laps down when he had to pit under green for a loose wheel. He spent the rest of the race fighting to catch up and race his way into the top 10 in points.

He was in the top 10 on the track and in the points standings until losing ground on the final pit stop and restart.

- Sporting News

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