Sunday, August 26, 2012

Irwin Tools Night Race Recap by Chief 187™

Racing at Bristol has returned to the product the fans have been clamoring for lo these last many years. Short-track racing on a Saturday night in summer with cars beatin’ and bangin’, tempers flarin’, and constant action led to a decisively exciting finale when Denny Hamlin took the checkered flag to win the Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Hamlin, posting his third win of the season with his No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Fed Ex Toyota Camry, was clearly thrilled with his victory.

“It's Bristol -- I don't know what to say, man," Hamlin said from his cockpit as he crossed the finish line. "I'm so damn happy."

Hamlin passed a desperate-for-a-win Carl Edwards to take the lead late in the race and fended off Jimmie Johnson with a 1.103 second margin.

It was Hamlin’s career Cup win and the record 200th win for the No. 11 car.

Jeff Gordon, Johnson’s teammate, took third place and inched closer to the Wild Card spot he is so desperate to clinch. Brian Vickers, one of the three drivers sharing a ride in the No. 55 Michael Waltrip Racing car, brought home a solid fourth. Marcos Ambrose, the Aussie who won the road race at Watkins Glen and took fifth in Michigan last weekend, followed in fifth.

Kyle Busch, another driver trying for the coveted Wild Card slot, filed a sixth place finish. Clint Bowyer, MWR driver, finished seventh. Joey Logano, winner of the Nationwide race the night before, led a lot of the race, but settled for an eighth. Kasey Kahne, Johnson and Gordon’s teammate at HMS, placed ninth. Paul Menard rounded out the top-10 and was the highest finisher for the Richard Childress Racing stable.

Greg Biffle is atop the leader board for the NASCAR Sprint Cup points again. He is 11 points ahead of the number two spot held by Johnson who bettered his position by two this week.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. remained in third place another week. These three drivers solidified their spots in the Chase at the conclusion of Sunday’s race from Bristol.

Matt Kenseth, who had a melee with Tony Stewart during the race, fell two places to fourth. Martin Truex Jr. picked up one spot to occupy fifth.

Truex Jr.’s teammate Bowyer follows him in sixth place, a movement of one position up over last week. Defending race champion Brad Keselowski had a disappointing night that led to his 30th place finish in the race and a drop of two places to seventh . Race winner Hamlin picked up two spots to move up to eighth. Kevin Harvick fell one position to ninth. And Stewart, ferociously angry with Kenseth after their entanglement during the race at Bristol, fell one place to tenth.

Kahne and Kyle Busch currently hold the Wild Card slots. Gordon is a mere 16 points behind Busch and focused on getting into the Chase.

After short track racing at Bristol, the action returns to Atlanta Motor Speedway for 1.5-mile racing. Cup racing will be held on Sunday, September 2nd of Labor Day weekend with the broadcast beginning at 6:30p EST on ESPN.

Be sure to return to this site after the race to read my AdvoCare 500 Race Recap.

Candice Smith is a writer, columnist, and blogger as well as creator of the widely popular Chief 187™ Chatter. Her works have been featured under the pen name Chief 187™ around the Internet including a syndicated post within the Indie Republic Network where she has conducted in-depth interviews with musicians, Mixed Martial Artists, and other personalities as well as waxes poetic on myriad topics. Candice Smith is currently writing her second season of her original column “Why I Love NASCAR” by Chief 187™ on Skirts and Scuffs. Additionally, another of her NASCAR columns can be found at She also contributes articles and NASCAR Sprint Cup Race Recaps weekly at She began her Internet writing career at where she honed her blogging skills and reawakened her love of NASCAR. Candice Smith can be heard on air four times a week co-hosting motorsports programs on Internet radio as well as her own racing show “Drafting the Circuits” on She can be reached via Twitter by following @Chief187s. To find out more please visit