NASCAR Martinsville: Stewart-Haas’s Clint Bowyer ends win drought

Clint Bowyer dominated the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Martinsville for Stewart-Haas Racing, to end his 190-race victory drought.

Short track specialist Bowyer took the lead just after half distance, having started ninth on the grid – set by driver owner points after qualifying was cancelled due to snow.

He then remained calm with Kyle Busch’s Toyota close behind for much of the remainder of race.

With his maiden win for Ford, and his first since 2012, Bowyer became the first driver to take a Cup victory with all three current manufacturers: Ford, Toyota and Chevrolet.

Busch failed to make an impression on Bowyer and ended up second for third time in four races.

The Joe Gibbs Racing driver is now the points leader, after 2017 title rival and reigning champion Martin Truex Jr ended the race fourth.

Ryan Blaney held the lead through most of the second stage thanks to a rapid pitstop early in the second stage that vaulted him back into the race lead.

But Bowyer would go on to depose Blaney, with the Penske man falling to third at the flag ahead of Truex.

Kevin Harvick then improved throughout the race to move from outside the top 10 early in the race to end up fifth.

Harvick was caught up in controversy after he was accused of brake testing by JGR’s Denny Hamlin.

The SHR driver nudged stage one winner Hamlin several times with just over 100 laps to go, forcing his rival into the pits twice under caution to be taped up, eventually dropping down the order to 12th.

That contact came moments before the only non-competition caution of the race after Daytona 500 winner Austin Dillon’s Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet nudged Jamie McMurray’s Ganassi Chevrolet into a spin and contact with the outside wall.

Joey Logano finished sixth for Penske followed by Alex Bowman of Hendrick Motorsports in seventh and AJ Allmendinger took a season-best of eighth for JTG Daugherty Racing.

Penske’s Brad Keselwoski finished 10th, having started the race in fourth.

A moment to forget came during the competition caution when Chris Buescher hit his jackman in a pitstop, and the JTG Daugherty Racing crew member was taken to hospital at the end of the first stage.

Race result

POSDRIVERTEAMCARGAP
1Clint BowyerStewart-Haas RacingFord3h13m14.s
2Kyle BuschJoe Gibbs RacingToyota1.146s
3Ryan BlaneyTeam PenskeFord21h46m46.s
4Martin Truex Jr.Furniture Row RacingToyota21h46m46.s
5Kevin HarvickStewart-Haas RacingFord21h46m46.s
6Joey LoganoTeam PenskeFord21h46m46.s
7Alex BowmanHendrick MotorsportsChevrolet21h46m46.s
8A.J. AllmendingerJTG Daugherty RacingChevrolet21h46m46.s
9Chase ElliottHendrick MotorsportsChevrolet21h46m46.s
10Brad KeselowskiTeam PenskeFord21h46m46.s
11Kurt BuschStewart-Haas RacingFord21h46m46.s
12Denny HamlinJoe Gibbs RacingToyota21h46m46.s
13Paul MenardWood Brothers RacingFord21h46m46.s
14Aric AlmirolaStewart-Haas RacingFord21h46m46.s
15Jimmie JohnsonHendrick MotorsportsChevrolet1 Lap
16Kyle LarsonChip Ganassi RacingChevrolet1 Lap
17Erik JonesJoe Gibbs RacingToyota3 Laps
18Daniel SuarezJoe Gibbs RacingToyota3 Laps
19Ryan NewmanRichard Childress RacingChevrolet3 Laps
20William ByronHendrick MotorsportsChevrolet3 Laps

NASCAR Martinsville: Stewart-Haas’s Clint Bowyer ends win drought

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