It’s Fontana Baby!!
Fontana California – March 24, 2013 Sprint Cup Auto Club 400
First everyone in our house hopes Denny Hamlin is ok. As of this post he has been transported to the local area hospital near Fontana California. Kyle Busch said he heard it was a back injury, but no official news has been released.
More information can be found at NIH.gov: Compression Fractures Of The Back.
The race promised to be thrilling from the get go. The battle all week between Denny and Joey built the tension even before the cars hit the track.
Their battle started after the Daytona 500 Twitter Feud, when Denny tweeted a snide comment to Brad Keselowski about Joey’s racing. Which carried over to last week’s race in Bristol and the Twitter Feud Part II (by Nate Ryan USAToday).
During today’s race, both Twitter and race commentators continued the drama each time the two drivers raced next to each other. All the way up to the end of the race when the former team mates raced hard for the lead. But it didn’t end well for either one of them.
On top of that, Joey expanded his driver feud by adding confrontation with my favorite guy, Tony Stewart. Uh oh! I’ll get to that after math of that story in a moment.
The last restart with 11 laps to go, Kyle Busch was leading, Joey was 2nd followed by Tony, Kurt Busch, Brad Keselowski, Kevin Harvick, Greg Biffle, Carl Edwards and Matt Kenseth was 10th. The green flag flew and Joey didn’t get a very good restart. Tony was up on his bumper right away dropping to the inside line to make the pass.
Joey says he dropped down to protect his position and go for the win. Tony appears to race him clean, move down and try again. But once again Joey makes the block. In doing so, you can see on Tony’s in car camera that contact was made. It appears now that the contact cut a tire on the #14 Mobil 1 Chevy and Tony began dropping back like a rock. He finished 23rd.
Joey went on to challenge for the lead. He got passed Kyle Busch and appeared to have the race won. But Denny Hamlin wasn’t ready to let that happen. Denny wasn’t even in the top 10 on the restart. But he managed to make it to the front, pass his own team-mate (Kyle) and challenge Joey for the win. On the last lap the two feuding drivers pushed and bumped each other passed the white flag. Their battle continued side by side until finally they took each other out. Joey spun, but managed to finish 3rd.
@jeff_gluck: Here’s the REVISED top 10 (just now): Kyle Busch wins, followed by Dale Jr., Logano, Edwards, Kurt, Biffle, Kenseth, Menard, Kahne, Newman. – 7:33 PM – 24 Mar 13
Denny on the other hand went for a ride, sliding down the track and hitting the inside wall pretty hard. There was no safer barrier where the #11 struck the wall head on. He climbed out of the car, but immediately laid down and it was obvious he was injured. How badly injured we’re waiting to hear. He was placed on a backboard and transported to the hospital by helicopter. We heard later the helicopter ride wasn’t out of emergency concern, rather because of traffic concerns. The chopper was faster than an ambulance ride. For the Denny fans, keep in mind Nascar is off next week for Easter. Denny has an extra week to heal and we hope that’s more than enough time to do so.
For most people the collision was simply hard racing. Joey and Denny went at it and gave all they had to win. In doing so, they crashed each other out and Kyle Busch had positioned himself to take advantage of their off track/on track confrontation to take the win. Beyond that, the story is over and we’re waiting to hear about Denny’s status.
Congratulations to Kyle for a smart race and a good win. He led most of the day and in that perspective he deserved the win. It was also a sweep for Kyle, after winning the Nationwide race Saturday for Joe Gibbs Racing.