MARTINSVILLE, Virginia – A wild finish at Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Xfinity 500 at Martinsville Speedway saw a driver already eliminated from the NASCAR playoffs and defeated leader and championship contender Denny Hamlin in the final l -s.
Alex Bowman won his fourth race of the season, but it was the winning pass that infuriated Hamlin. After running side by side for 10-12 l -s in a fantastic fight, Bowman’s Chevrolet drifted up the track and hit Hamlin’s Toyota on l – 3 on l – 494.
Hamlin didn’t like the move and after restarting the race with two l -s to go, Bowman defeated Kyle Busch by 0.472 seconds.
When Bowman stopped at the finish line to celebrate the win, Hamlin’s Toyota prevented him from moving forward.
“Okay, Denni. Big picture here. Big picture, ”Hamlin’s team radioed when he finally drove off and let Bowman celebrate.
Hamlin was furious in the pit lane afterwards.
“He’s just a hacker, an absolute hacker,” Hamlin said of the Bowman driver. “He gets kicked in the ass by his teammates every week and he’s awful. Absolutely awful. He gets the best car every week and turns 10.
“We got in and did what we wanted, but in the end I just want to race. It’s just terrible. “
Bowman said he didn’t want to shoot Hamlin at the end of the race and was surprised by the retribution.
“This is not Bowman Gray Stadium,” Bowman said. “That might have made it one of the highlight roles, but that’s one of those deals.
“Have you ever been to Bowman Gray Stadium? I went there and watched. That’s what it felt like. When they had that TV show with the mods that were on there, I fucking watched that. That was really entertaining back then. Not that fun when you live it.
“I just didn’t want to be a part of it, make us both look stupid. So I just tried not to be there. I wouldn’t try to do that kind of thing. That’s not me.
Denny Hamlin hits the brakes after the end of the Xfinity 500 to come to a stop next to Alex Bowman. (HHP / Chris Owens Photo)
“I understand why he’s angry. I would be mad too. I turned into the corner, loosened up, spun him around. At the same time, I didn’t do it on purpose. If I did I would tell you That’s part of it. “
It was Bowman’s fourth win of the season, his first since the first double race at Pocono Raceway on June 26th.
The NASCAR Championship 4 consists of Kyle Larson, who had already won the previous two races. Reigning NASCAR Cup Series Champion Chase Elliott and Joe Gibbs Racing drivers Hamlin and Martin Truex Jr. also made strides.
These four drivers will fight for the championship in the NASCAR Cup season finale at Phoenix Raceway next Sunday.
Kyle Busch, who missed the advance by three points, is one of the four drivers eliminated. Team Penske drivers Brad Keselowski, Ryan Blaney and Joey Logano were also eliminated.
After all the turmoil and hot temperament subsided, Bowman was able to talk about his role at the finish.
“I am definitely very h -py to get a fourth win for the 48ers this year,” said Bowman. “It’s been a tough couple of months for us since we started the playoffs. Coming here with a racing car this fast, the ability to win is great.
“I hate that we got into 11 (Hamlin). It was unintentional. I just got under him and kicked him out. I would be mad too. I get it. But he was enough on the other side to understand.
“I’m h -py to come out with a trophy.”
Bowman also spoke about his previous encounters with Hamlin.
“He crashed me in Texas last year, I texted myself and -ologized,” explained Bowman. I said he would take me on his jet.
“I don’t know. We’re even, I guess, after that. He got me there the hell. He got loose under me, exactly the same thing only on a bigger racetrack. Yes, of course sarcasm. My point is just that the shoe.” was on the other foot. As if we had been on both sides. “
The reigning NASCAR Cup Series champion Elliott led the most l -s in the race with 289. Hamlin followed at 103.
The race winner led the last nine l -s, but it was enough to take his fourth win of the season – doubling his overall career win when he entered the season.
“The last couple of months have been painful,” said Bowman. “It was so frustrating. To be honest, our teammates have been kicking our asses for quite a while. I think Greg and I were both pretty down and frustrated and didn’t understand what was going on. We didn’t do it any other way. We did not -proach the weekends any differently. We just left.
“To come to a place that was probably our worst place when we started together, to have such a good day, to get another win, it feels great. Obviously, four wins this year feels great. I wish we were in the round of 16. We just have to find out the consistency and this team will be very, very special.
“I think I was very confident about coming this year. We got into the playoffs really well last year. I feel like we didn’t get a lot of credit for that, but I think we got the second most points of all, didn’t have playoff points to fall back on because our summer wasn’t what it needed to be . Finished sixth in points and was really quick.
“I was confident of coming this year. But the thing I’ve always circled is just trying to be consistent and do consistently well. We tried hard to do that. It’s really hard for me at the moment to be super excited. If you told me at the beginning of the season that I would win four times, I would be pretty excited.
“I wish we would go to Phoenix and have a chance to win the championship. It was painful to go through the playoffs the way they were. But it’s great to end the year on at least a strong note. “
In the end, the Bowman clock blocked Hamlin, spun him out, and took the Martinsville Speedway grandfather clock home for yourself.
“I don’t have a place for it,” said Bowman. “I haven’t even thought that far. Far too much drama for my brain to process. I’m not sure what to do with myself up there. A little awkward.
“I don’t have a really good place for it the way my house is. I have to tear down a wall or something, the construction project is running this winter. “
Crew chief Greg Ives said, “Maybe we’ll do that tonight.”