|Credit: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images|
While all three Michael Waltrip Racing cars were looking very capable of winning at Martinsville, the clock tolled once again for Jimmie Johnson. While Johnson now takes the points lead, Clint Bowyer is fighting tooth and nail to remain in the title hunt, a mission he successively achieved this week. With just three races to go, the clock is ticking, but the entire No. 15 team knows that it is go time!
Clint Bowyer, No. 15 Pink Lemonade 5-hour ENERGY
Points: 3rd (-26)
Clint Bowyer has proved he is in it to win it, carrying the MWR banner to another top 5 finish and remaining in the title hunt.
Leading a race high 151 laps, Bowyer saw the win slip from his grips after stalling in his pit box. On the final restart with just 10 laps remaining, Bowyer pitted and restarted in the seventh position. Racing to the fifth position, Bowyer heads to Texas just 26 points behind new points leader Jimmie Johnson.
Bowyer recapped his day, saying, “As soon as we got crowded up I got way too tight. I kept losing everything I could gain - everything I would gain on the track I would lose on pit road. It is what it is - it’s a team effort and it’s the team that got us here. We win or lose together. That No. 2 (Brad Keselowski) - it’s unbelievable, they just keep doing what they’re doing and we can’t seem to run them down any. It was a good day for us. It was a lot of fun out there - we led laps and did what we wanted to do. Just came up short from winning the race.”
|Even when not racing, Vickers was captured at the|
track supporting the MWR team here at the
Bank of America 500.
Credit: Charlotte Bray/Skirts and Scuffs
Points: 14th (owners)
Redemption was served.
Do you remember the Fall 2011 race where Brian Vickers was a one man wrecking crew? Well that was the old Brian Vickers, he now shows a clear focus, drive and passion for his career. I have to personally say that I am surprised he is not getting a full-time Cup ride based on his performance this season!
After starting in the second position, Vickers led twice for a total of 27 laps. A stray tire cost the team some track positions but Vickers was able to rebound and race his way back to eighth position. In just eight races this season Vickers has accumulated five top 10 finishes.
"My race was good - not as good as we wanted," Vickers said. "I think when you come into a day with a car you think can win and you don’t win with it, you’re always frustrated no matter how well you do. It was another top 10 - we’ve had a lot of those this year, which is great. Should have been another top five and maybe even a win so you can’t complain about that. The guys did an amazing job with the car all weekend. I can’t thank everyone at Michael Waltrip Racing enough - Toyota, MyClassicGarage.com and Aaron’s for making all this possible."
Wrapping up his 2012 season, Vickers said, "It was a short year, but we made the most of it. We had a lot of top 10s and a lot of top fives in only eight races. We contended for wins on more than one occasion. We led laps and we raced our way there."
Mark Martin will be back to wrap up the 2012 season - Texas, Phoenix and Homestead. On another scheduling note, the 2013 schedule will remain split between Vickers, Martin and Waltrip once again.
Martin Truex Jr, No. 56 NAPA AUTO PARTS
Points: 7th (-63)
Like his teammates, Martin Truex Jr. also had a strong day at Martinsville. Well, that was until he got busted with a penalty. At the time he had been running in the top 10 for the first half of the race.
The Lap 238 penalty was driver error for which he took full blame. On the restart, Truex changed lanes before the start/finish line. After having to serve a pass through penalty, the No. 56 dropped to two laps down and was unable to gain that valuable track position back. Finishing the race 23rd, Truex fell to seventh in the Chase standings and is officially out of title contention. Racing for wins only, the next three weeks should be very exciting!
"This one is on me. I have never made a mistake like that before. I hate it for this entire NAPA team because we had a top 10 car. All we can do is look towards Texas and get us a race win," Truex said post-race.