Monday, September 3, 2012

AdvoCare 500 Race Recap by Chief 187™

The gauntlet has been thrown down, the face has been slapped, and the notices have been issued that Denny Hamlin and crew chief Darian Grubb are on the prowl for the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup championship. Winning the AdvoCare 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway after posting a win at Bristol the week before brings the Joe Gibbs Racing driver and his team in the No. 11 Fed Ex car up to four wins this season, one more than any other team to date.

Crew Chief for the No. 11 team Darian Grubb is the current reigning NASCAR Sprint Cup champion crew chief. He won that title with driver Tony Stewart who let Grubb go for the 2012 season before the end of the 2011 season and before they captured the title together. Joe Gibbs Racing grabbed Grubb and has never looked back.

Hamlin had been around the front all night during the Labor Day Weekend race, dicing with his teammate Kyle Busch, and others like Kevin Harvick and Martin Truex Jr. A late caution that brought out the Green White Checker resulted in a tremendous move by Hamlin to get out front and win the event.

Jeff Gordon threw everything he could at Hamlin to take the win, but came up short and frustrated he couldn’t snag his second victory of the season to preserve his spot in the Chase.

Meanwhile, Brad Keselowski brought home third showing his consistency is steadfast as the Chase nears. Martin Truex Jr. was disappointed his lead late in the race was erased and he wound up in fourth. Kevin Harvick took fifth.

Kyle Busch placed sixth, reeling from yet another loss. Dale Earnhardt Jr. worked his way back into the top-10 finishing seventh. Paul Menard took eighth. Matt Kenseth filed a ninth place finish. Veteran Mark Martin rounded out the top-10.

Greg Biffle held on to the NASCAR Sprint Cup points lead for another week. He has eight points over second place Earnhardt Jr. who moved up one spot.

Kenseth also moved up one spot to take over third. Meanwhile Jimmie Johnson who was involved in a wreck during the race on Sunday night, fell two positions to fourth after his 34th place finish. Truex Jr. remains in fifth for another week.

Keselowski and Hamlin each ascended one spot to fill the sixth and seventh places respectively. Clint Bowyer finished 27th in the race and dropped two positions to eighth. Harvick kept his ninth place spot for another week. Defending Sprint Cup champion Stewart was struggling again in Sunday’s race, an all-too-familiar scenario for his No. 14 Chevrolet Impala Old Spice team, but managed to finish 22nd during the race and secure a wild card slot with the three wins he has this season.

Wild card positions for the Chase still have Kasey Kahne with two wins and Kyle Busch with one. Of course, another win by any of the wild card contenders with just one would reconfigure the Chase. Gordon, Ambrose, and Newman will try their hardest next week.

The last race before the Chase is being run at Richmond International Raceway on Saturday, September 8th with broadcasting beginning at 7pm EST on ABC. With racing under the lights at this short track, wild card slots to be determined, and nerves at the surface for all, this race should surely be a can’t-miss-event!

Please be sure to check back here for my Federated Auto Parts 400 from RIR after the race.

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 Smith also contributes articles and NASCAR Sprint Cup Race Recaps weekly at

Smith began her Internet writing career at where she honed her blogging skills and reawakened her love of NASCAR.

Candice Smith can be heard throughout the week co-hosting motorsports programs on Internet radio. She is the guest co-host of Motorsports Unplugged Radio with Michele Rahal, co-host of “Burning Rubber Radio” as well as creator and host of her own racing show “Drafting the Circuits” on “Drafting the Circuits” and “Burning Rubber Radio” are rebroadcast on Performance Motorsports Network every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.

She can be reached via Twitter by following @Chief187s.

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