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Clint Bowyer was sitting pretty at the first green-white-checkered...for a few seconds at least

   Clint Bowyer: made the potentially winning move....only to get trumped by Ryan Newman (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)


   By Mike Mulhern


   Clint Bowyer had 'em all lined up, like bowling pins, for the green-white-checkered overtime finish.
   He had fresh right-side tires, and the two men just ahead of him, Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson, were on well-worn 130-lap tires.
   Sitting ducks.
   Gordon, the leader, with the day's dominant car, for the green on lap 503 of the scheduled 500-lap Goody's 500, held the inside lane going down toward turn one at Martinsville Speedway. But he didn't hold the inside quite tight enough, preferring to take a better angle into the flat corner.
   Bowyer, as many before him in similar situations have, saw that as an invitation.
   Unfortunately for those three, Ryan Newman, right behind them, had his own plans. Newman bopped Bowyer at the end of the straight and sent Bowyer into the corner harder than he'd planned.
   Bowyer's car banged Gordon, pushing Gordon up into Johnson. And the three were suddenly toast, as Newman slipped underneath and escaped.
   Of course the race wouldn't have gone into overtime if David Reutimann hadn't stalled on the track on lap 497, forcing NASCAR to bring out the yellow.
   Still, if not for the Newman-into-Bowyer-into-Gordon carom shot on the restart, Gordon and Johnson appeared destined to finish 1-2 and give team owner Rick Hendrick his 200th NASCAR Cup victory.


Dale Earnhardt Jr. had a great shot to win Martinsville, and he goes into the Easter break a solid second in NASCAR's Sprint Cup standings, with Texas Motor Speedway next on the agenda (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)


   "Three of those Hendrick cars were the class of the field all day long," Bowyer said after the melee.
    "It's the nature of the beast. 
     "I don't know what the hell David Reutimann was doing.  He drove around there for 10 laps with no brakes and finally just stopped.  That was ridiculous. 
     "I hate it for those guys, I hate it for our guys. We ended up 10th and should have been easily a fourth-place finish. 
     "We've got tires, they don't, and they spin the tires…and Ryan Newman hits you in the rear. 
      "I mean if I didn't go down there (inside of Gordon into turn one), Ryan was. And we'd just all run out of real estate."

    And then maybe Gordon and Johnson made a major mistake  by not pitting at the caution on lap 497 when the rest of the field did. That's Denny Hamlin's take. Hamlin himself ran okay but faded late.   
   "I was surprised they stayed out, because tires are so big here," Hamlin said.
    "I knew something like that was going to happen. When you have like 100 laps on your tires, you can't restart. The guys in third and fourth are going to
run all over you.
    "Three cars on a two-lane track just didn't work."

   Repaving Michigan: the job is now done, and first stockers get on the new asphalt April 3rd (Photo: MIS)

The new repaves at Michigan and Pocono will get first workouts in the next few days, with Goodyear tire tests scheduled, in advance of the June Sprint Cup events.
    Denny Hamlin worries that speeds in Pocono's first turn – that 135-degree hard left – could hit 215 mph. And veterans still remember some of the hard crashes there over the years, involving men like Dale Earnhardt and Rusty Wallace.

    NASCAR could order teams to use limiting gears at Pocono, or NASCAR could use the new EFI systems to limit RPM. The Pocono frontstretch is the longest straight on the tour.
   Kasey Kahne, Joey Logano, Jamie McMurray, AJ Allmendinger and Aric Almirola are to do the Pocono test April 24th and 25th, between the tour's stops at Kansas City and Richmond.
   Jeff Gordon, Juan Pablo Montoya, Matt Kenseth, Kyle Busch and Brad Keselowski are to run the Michigan test April 3rd and 4th.
   Between those two tests is a Goodyear test April 17th and 18th at Dover, Del., where the tire company wants to tweak the rubbering in process on the concrete. Until a concrete track gets enough rubber on it, it's hard to get an accurate tire test, and frequently that requires a lot of cars on the track.
    Marcos Ambrose, Allmendinger, Kevin Harvick, Dave Blaney, Ryan Newman, Kurt Busch and Martin Truex Jr. are to do the Dover test.
   Goodyear also plans a test at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, hoping to match tires with the ones used at Phoenix. "We’re looking to incorporate similar construction changes to that which we found to be successful at Phoenix," Stucker says.
    Paul Menard, Bobby Labonte, Regan Smith, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Carl Edwards are to do the New Hampshire test.
   Goodyear's Greg Stucker says the new asphalt at Michigan and Pocono means "it's a sure bet we'll return with a tire setup that's different from what has been run recently at those tracks.
   "As with all repaves, Michigan and Pocono will have smoother surfaces, thus giving the cars more grip…which leads to more heat build-up in the tire. 
    "That's why tire testing is so important: we need to get on the new surface and find the right balance between controlling heat and providing an adequate grip level."
    Dover is a different situation. Drivers have complained that tires there have been laying down too much rubber during a race, creating difficult racing.
   "While concrete surfaces are always tricky to take rubber, we feel we have a good understanding of that process," Stucker says.  "Now we want to go back and see if we can strike a better balance of how much rubber gets put down while still providing the right level of grip and wear."

Clint pulled a " MIKEY "

Clint pulled a " MIKEY " thats all , sad enough he has degraded himself to doing the IDIOTIC commercials now hes driving like MW.

Sad to see the outcome , but heck the MWR cars got a lot of coverage thanks to DW and MW.

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