Sunday, September 11, 2011

Wonderful Pistachios 400 Race Recap

In a wild ride the Wonderful Pistachios 400 from Richmond International Raceway that marked the last race of the regular season produced some of the season’s best action to date. Although the outcome of the race led to a Chase line-up that was unchanged from the green flag time period, the activity on the track for the duration of the race left the fans in awe!

Kevin Harvick pulled out the win, his fourth of the season and eighteenth all-time tying him with Dale Earnhardt Jr., Neil Bonnett, Geoff Bodine, and Harry Gant. The fourth win places Harvick even in the points with Kyle Busch when the Chase begins in Chicago next week, although Busch holds the first seed by virtue of his pre-Chase points.

In addition to the race winner, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Tony Stewart, and Denny Hamlin secured their spots in the Chase with their finishes last night. They were in possession of these spots when the race began in Richmond, but they were in danger of dropping out if their finishes were unfavorable. And, with angst that began early in the race, the pressure was on from the beginning. But held on they did and the Chase is set.

Carl Edwards, fast on Harvick’s heels and aching for the win, was unable to overtake the #29 Budweiser Chevrolet of Harvick. Jeff Gordon, enjoying a successful season, came in third. David Ragan, hoping against hope to make the Chase and falling short, earned fourth. Kurt Busch, after engaging in contact with the #48 of Jimmie Johnson, ended his night in fifth. Kyle Busch brought home sixth, Tony Stewart placed seventh, Ryan Newman eighth, Denny Hamlin ninth, and Mark Martin rounded out the Top-10. It was a feeling of exaltation for Tony Stewart to make the Chase along with his teammate and employee of Stewart-Haas Racing Ryan Newman. Denny Hamlin must have been relieved like Dale Earnhardt Jr. was after such a setback at the beginning of the night.

Fifteen cautions explain the type of night had at Richmond. Explosive, temper-fueled, stress-induced, competition-focused drivers vied for twelve positions in the Chase. The end of the night was truly the beginning of the next stage of competition; ten races run consecutively over the next ten weeks will produce a new NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion for 2011. He will come from a list of the following: Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick, Jeff Gordon, Matt Kenseth, Carl Edwards, Jimmie Johnson, Kurt Busch, Ryan Newman, Tony Stewart, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Brad Keselowski, and Denny Hamlin. Out of these twelve drivers, only five have previously won a Cup: Jeff Gordon, Matt Kenseth, Jimmie Johnson, Kurt Busch, and Tony Stewart. The Chase should prove to be the most exciting post-season action available! Don’t miss a moment!

Tune in for the first race of the Chase at Chicagoland Speedway for the Geico 400. The race will be run on Sunday, September 18th at 2pm EST on ESPN. Stay tuned for the race and my race recap to follow!


  1. Last year it was a 3-man race. This year I see 6 or 7 guys that can win.