Welcome NASCAR race fans to my NASCAR blog. Sheila Hawley here with my NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race review of the Crown Royal presents the Matthew and Daniel Hansen 400 at the Richmond International Raceway in Virginia. Matthew and Daniel Hansen are servicemen twins serving our Country. Daniel died in action. Crown Royal dedicates these races to our servicemen each year. Matthew got to give the command to start the engines.
Richmond hosted Denny Hamlin’s charity Short Track Showdown on Thursday with Denny winning the race after qualifying on the pole but electing to start from the rear. He then went on to win the Bubba Burger 250 Nationwide race Friday night. Can he sweep the weekend? Kasey Kahne is the only driver who has won this race from the pole. It was his first win. Can he win again? He had surgery on his right knee during the off-weekend. Hopefully he can still work the gas peddle. Juan Pablo Montoya is on the pole with a speed of 128.639 mph and 20.989 seconds. Regan Smith starts second, his best career starting position. Can Montoya win the race and finally get a win at an oval track? Dale Earnhardt, Jr. hasn’t won a race in 101 tries and has three wins at RIR. Can he break that streak in this race? This is his longest winless streak in his career.
So, here we go! 42 Juan Pablo Montoya leads the race from the pole. 78 Regan Smith and 33 Clint Bowyer battle for second and 33 takes the spot. 24 Jeff Gordon and 4 Kasey Kahne race for fourth with 24 taking it. 24 drives inside 78 for third. 4 drives under 78. 9 Marcos Ambrose and 38 Travis Kvapil get together and 38 gets sideways.
33 drives inside 42 for the lead. 4 gets by 42 for second. 24 gets by 42 for third. 4 catches 33 in traffic and dives under 33 to take the lead. 11 Denny Hamlin, who started in eleventh, drives under 4 for the lead. 2 Brad Keselowski makes a pit stop a little early. They are four-wide on the track! 18 Kyle Busch gets by 4 for second. 48 Jimmie Johnson goes down a lap and pits for a round of Green Flag Pitting. 66 Michael McDowell needed a push to get started again. 18 takes the lead when 11 finally pits.
42 slides ahead of 39 Ryan Newman and gets into the wall. The first caution comes out for his debris on the track on lap 108. 7 Robby Gordon leaves a fire in his pit when he leaves. At the restart 99 Carl Edwards gets stuck on the top through the corner and can’t get back down. Team mates 83 Brian Vickers and 4 race side by side for position and 83 gets by. 56 Martin Truex, Jr. drives under 4. 24 gets past 33 into third. 99 gets into 48, 48 gets into 99 and 99 gets loose, loosing spots. 11 closes in on leader 18, dives under and takes the lead.
The second caution comes out during the commercial. 42 hooks 39 who spins but misses the wall, goes down the track and 22 Kurt Busch runs into him. At the restart 18 beats leader 11 to the line. (The announcers talk about that and Kyle falls back some to give the lead back so he won’t be penalized.) 09 Landon Cassil gets into 9. 00 David Reutimann can’t get by 4.
The fourth caution comes out when 48 gets loose into 20 Joey Logano and 20 spins into the wall. They go Green with 133 laps to go. The fifth caution comes out for spinning 13 Casey Mears. 17 Matt Kenseth and 00 stay out to lead. 00 spins the tires and 4 moves into second. 11 takes the lead. 18 takes fifth from 33. 88 Dale Earnhardt, Jr. gets by 16 Greg Biffle for thirteenth (he started twenty-fourth). 18 gets into 33 to get by. 24 gets by 33.
The sixth caution comes out for spinning 2. 09 got loose into 2. 27 Paul Menard gets back onto the lead lap. 11 and 56 battle for the lead and 11 takes the lead. 18 and 11 battle for the lead and 18 takes the lead. 48 bumps 47 Bobby Labonte. 00, 22, 9 and 34 David Gilliland are four wide and they all get into each other, all of them with their tires rubbing.
The seventh caution comes out when 42 spins 39. (Montoya is warned by NASCAR to stay away from Newman.) 48 Jimmie Johnson gets his lap back. The eighth caution is a big one. Racing close together, 33 gets into 17 who spins 24 into the inside wall where there is no safer barrier. Many other cars are collected including 5 Mark Martin, 47, 27 and 00. 4 and 29 Kevin Harvick get by and 22 drives right through it.
At the restart 31 Jeff Burton leads, with 88 and 16 behind him. 88 spins his tires and 18 shoots by. 31 and 18 battle for the lead and 18 takes the lead. 6 David Ragan, 88 and 29 are three wide. 6 gets into 88 to get by. 56 in fifth gets a flat and has to pit. They miss a lug nut and he has to come back in to put it on. This race is now a fuel mileage race with 31 and 88 pitting for a splash of fuel. 18 Kyle Busch has enough fuel and wins the Matthew and Daniel Hansen 400. This is his third Spring race win in a row. There were ten different leaders.
Now for a couple of comments. Night racing is all great and fun to watch. But the weekend is shortened and leaves this fan wanting for more racing. Local tracks have their races on Saturday night and if everyone is watching the NASCAR Sprint Cup race, no one is there to see these local races. Here’s another thing to look at. So much is talked about beating and banging on the track and short tempers and fighting. But is that what RACING should be all about? Thursday the K&N Pro Series had a race at RIR and there was only a Red Flag for rain. No cautions. Does that mean the up and coming drivers are better drivers than the Cup drivers? Because they can race without getting into one another? Or is racing more exciting with more cautions? Can’t these Cup drivers pass each other? Or is moving another out of the way for position more exciting and the way to go? To me, cautions happen because someone makes a mistake. Why are the Sprint Cup drivers making more mistakes than the K&N drivers?
Brought to you by Sheila Hawley. I love NASCAR.