Race Rewind: AdvoCare 500k

jutter@charlotteobserver.comNovember 10, 2013 

  • Next race

    Ford 400

    Where: Homestead-Miami Speedway, Homestead, Fla.

    When: 3 p.m. Sunday

    TV: ESPN

    Radio: Motor Racing Network

    Last year’s winner: Jeff Gordon

  • More information

    AdvoCare 500 At Phoenix International Raceway Avondale, Ariz.

    19Kevin HarvickChevy31248$258,186
    27Kasey KahneChevy31243$171,715
    31Jimmie JohnsonChevy31242$182,326
    411Dale Earnhardt Jr.Chevy31241$131,135
    58Kurt BuschChevy31239$137,630
    619Juan Pablo MontoyaChevy31238$132,074
    74Kyle BuschToyota31237$137,693
    810Martin Truex Jr.Toyota31236$122,185
    93Joey LoganoFord31236$117,268
    1017Ryan NewmanChevy31235$128,068
    1112Brad KeselowskiFord31234$136,176
    1227Ricky Stenhouse Jr.Ford31232$131,121
    1318Greg BiffleFord31232$97,610
    145Jeff GordonChevy31231$125,121
    1516Mark MartinChevy31229$124,885
    1613Paul MenardChevy31228$110,851
    1715Jeff BurtonChevy31227$88,210
    1836Jamie McMurrayChevy31227$106,205
    1921Aric AlmirolaFord31225$116,396
    206Clint BowyerToyota31224$119,368
    2123Carl EdwardsFord31224$113,660
    2226Bobby LabonteToyota31122$104,968
    2314Matt KensethToyota31121$113,576
    2433David GillilandFord31121$94,493
    2522Elliott SadlerToyota3110$86,660
    2620Marcos AmbroseFord31118$105,099
    2730Casey MearsFord31117$99,818
    282Denny HamlinToyota31117$94,710
    2935J.J. YeleyChevy31115$77,285
    3042Dave BlaneyChevy31014$90,318
    3125Justin AllgaierChevy3090$94,082
    3239Michael McDowellFord30812$73,860
    3332Danica PatrickChevy30211$73,735
    3438Timmy HillFord28510$73,610
    3534David RaganFord2829$81,485
    3628Josh WiseFord28010$73,330
    3724Reed SorensonFord26620$73,199
    3843Joe NemechekToyota19320$68,150
    3937David ReutimannToyota18735$64,150
    4029Cole WhittToyota14230$60,150
    4131Travis KvapilToyota12923$64,150
    4240Landon CassillChevy6310$52,150
    4341Tony RainesChevy2910$48,650
    Race Statistics

    Average Speed of Race Winner: 105.733 mph. Time of Race: 2 hours, 57 minutes, 3 seconds. Margin of Victory: 1.796 seconds. Caution Flags: 8 for 49 laps. Lead Changes: 23 among 13 drivers. Lap Leaders: D.Hamlin 1-18; J.Gordon 19-51; D.Gilliland 52-53; J.Gordon 54; K.Harvick 55-101; K.Kahne 102-120; B.Keselowski 121-147; J.Gordon 148-158; J.McMurray 159; J.Gordon 160-163; R.Newman 164-166; J.Logano 167; R.Newman 168-191; J.Logano 192-223; K.Kahne 224-245; J.Johnson 246; C.Edwards 247; K.Harvick 248-268; D.Earnhardt Jr. 269-270; R.Newman 271-274; G.Biffle 275; C.Edwards 276-310; K.Harvick 311-312. Top 13 in Points: 1. J.Johnson, 2,384; 2. M.Kenseth, 2,356; 3. K.Harvick, 2,350; 4. Ky.Busch, 2,327; 5. D.Earnhardt Jr., 2,321; 6. J.Gordon, 2,304; 7. G.Biffle, 2,301; 8. C.Bowyer, 2,297; 9. J.Logano, 2,287; 10. Ku.Busch, 2,285; 11. R.Newman, 2,259; 12. K.Kahne, 2,252; 13. C.Edwards, 2,250. *Reason out: 1-brakes, 2-engine, 3-accident.

Don’t forget Harvick on accolades

• Instead of a down-to-the-wire slugfest between Jimmie Johnson and Matt Kenseth to decide the Sprint Cup championship, the storyline heading into next weekend’s finale at Homestead, Fla., now will be more about Johnson staying out of trouble to preserve his lead. At least part of the story also should be the remarkable run by Kevin Harvick and his No.29 Richard Childress Racing team to stay within sight of the title despite Harvick announcing during February that he was leaving the organization at season’s end.

• Many will look at Sunday’s bad race for Kenseth and try to compare it to the disappointing day fellow Joe Gibbs Racing driver Denny Hamlin had in this race during 2010. But the only real similarity is the track. Hamlin entered that race and left it as the points leader – he didn’t lose the championship, just part of his lead. Kenseth trailed Johnson in the standings coming into this race and might have lost the opportunity to win the title at Homestead. The point remains, however, that Hamlin entered the final race of 2010 with the championship to lose.

• While Phoenix International Raceway has reduced its seating capacity during recent years, that the track still sold out its 51,000 grandstand seats was impressive, as was the championship-like atmosphere that surrounded Sunday’s race. If the track could upgrade some facilities – which it would like to do – it would make an excellent location to host the season finale.

How the Chase contenders fared

1 Jimmie Johnson (2,384): Johnson nearly got wrecked out of the race twice and led just a single lap. In typical No.48 team style, by the end of the day that translated into a third-place finish and a large margin over his nearest rivals in the standings.

“We’re heading into Homestead in the position we want to be in,” Johnson said. “I’ll have to go down there and run 400 miles. It’s far from over.”

2 Matt Kenseth (-28) : It was a most unusual race for Kenseth. His worst performances this season have been because of engine issues or being involved in wrecks, but Sunday his No.20 Joe Gibbs Racing team struggled throughout with the car’s handling. He fell two laps down at one point during green-flag pit stops and ended up 23rd.

3 Kevin Harvick (-34) : Adversity seems to just make Harvick and the No.29 Richard Childress Racing team perform better. Just when it seems the team has been ready to crumble this season, it produces another stellar moment.

“Everyone was able to put just enough gas in the cars to make it to the end, and our guys got it right and the other guys were a little short,” Harvick said.

4 Kyle Busch (-57) : Busch finished seventh but that was the best he had run the entire race. He turned out to be the best performing Joe Gibbs Racing driver, but the group has a whole struggled much of the weekend.

5 Dale Earnhardt Jr. (-63) : A loose wheel forced Earnhardt to pit under green early in the race, which left him a lap down. He rallied back to earn a free pass back on the lead lap then performed the best at the end of the race, finishing fourth.

6 Jeff Gordon (-80): Gordon led 49 laps in the race but fell off in the second half and ended up 14th.

7 Greg Biffle (-83): Biffle got off to a bad start. His team was forced to change transmissions in his No. 16 Ford and he had to start the race from the rear of the field. He did manage a 13th place finish.

8 Clint Bowyer (-87): Bowyer never seemed to get track position, struggled most of the race and finished 20th.

9 Joey Logano (-97): Logano had a fast car all weekend and led 33 laps in the race. He was boldg going into the final round of green-flag pit stops, but several others ended up ahead of him when the stops cycled through. He finished ninth.

“We stayed out one time and then we had to pit under green and then coming to the end of the race I had to start saving fuel to make it,” he said.

10 Kurt Busch (-99) : Busch never had a car to contend for the win but managed to stay up front the entire race and caught a top-five finish when Carl Edwards ran out of gas.

11 Ryan Newman (-125): Newman rallied for a 10th-place finish, his sixth top-10 in the nine Chase races this season. He will move to RCR beginning next season.

12 Kasey Kahne (-132): Kahne’s second-place finish was his secondof the Chase (he also was second at Charlotte).

“We’ll try to finish off strong at Homestead with another top-five and maybe prepare a little better for next year and try to have a little more consistent, stronger year from start to finish,” Kahne said.

13 Carl Edwards (-134) : Edwards’ was among the first cars to elect to make a final pit stop under green-flag conditions and there were several teams that immediately questioned whether he could make the final distance without stopping again. Turns out they were right as he ran out just more than a lap from the checkered flag.

Five key moments

1 . Heading into Turn 1 of the first lap, Jimmie Johnson nearly wrecked with Joey Logano, which could have produced a much different race.

2 . Kevin Harvick passed Jeff Gordon on the restart on Lap 55 to take the lead for the first time in the race. He would lead a race-high 70 laps.

3 . Johnson’s day was nearly derailed again on Lap 163 when Carl Edwards slid into him but he recovered and kept his car off the wall.

4 . After a long round of green-flag pit stops, Edwards emerged with the lead on Lap 276. Several teams, however, were convinced he could not make it to the end without stopping for fuel.

5 . Just as Edwards was about to take the white flag signaling the start of the final lap, he slowed dramatically and out of fuel allowing Harvick, who was running second, to inherit the lead and the win.

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