Have you ever seen a car push another car out of its pit box?
That's what happened after a multi-car crash enveloped several Chase hopefuls Saturday night at Bristol. Denny Hamlin and Kevin Harvick were both participants in that crash, and after driving it back to pit road, Harvick's car came to rest at the opening near the end of the frontstretch pit road. Also known as Hamlin's pit stall.
Hamlin wasn't too far behind Harvick and the No. 11 crew wanted to get to assessing and working on the damage as fast as they could. After the crew unsuccessfully tried to push Harvick's car out of the pit box, they gave Hamlin the go ahead to drive on into his spot, and in the process, move Harvick's car out of it with his front bumper.
Then, in another move that doesn't happen all too often, Harvick climbed from his car and proceeded to walk towards Hamlin's as it was sitting on pit road. (At this point the red flag had been thrown, preventing Hamlin's crew from working on the car.)
This being Bristol, land of the helmet throwing and sometimes temper tantruming, it briefly looked like Harvick was going to share his displeasure with Hamlin for what had just happened. However, after maneuvering past Hamlin's crew members and NASCAR officials, the two had a discussion about what took place that ended cordially.
What did happen on the track? Just after a restart, Brian Vickers made contact with Hamlin on the backstretch and that contact cut the right front tire on Hamlin's car. When Hamlin got to the corner, the tire losing air pressure meant that his car wouldn't turn, and he shot straight towards the wall and started a crash that collected Harvick, Ryan Newman, Brad Keselowski, Martin Truex Jr., David Stremme and Ken Schrader.
The crash was a big blow to the Chase hopes of Keselowski. However, with the way things shook out at Bristol, Newman and Truex might have actually improved their standing despite being in it.
8. Kasey Kahne (701 points): After finishing second, Kahne moved up three spots from 11th to 8th. And because of that, he's not hogging a Wild Card spot any longer.
9. Greg Biffle (-3 points to Kahne): Biffle finished ninth, but did you see him on TV at all Saturday night? Though given the propensity for accidents at Bristol, it can be a good thing. A strong 1.5 mile track run at Atlanta should give Biffle plenty of cushion at Richmond.
10. Joey Logano (-16 points): Holy smokes, Logano is now in the top 10. Just a week ago he had put himself into contention for the Wild Card and now he may not even need it. His seventh place finish was a great comeback after his right front got smashed in after contact with Kyle Busch.
11. Brad Keselowski, (-20 points): Here's where you can say "See Brad, you should have dumped Kyle at Watkins Glen!" Without a win, he'd be out of the Chase. But if Atlanta is anything like Bristol, Brad could be back in 8th next week.
12. Kurt Busch (-22 points): Busch took the lead on lap 23 but the race went south from that point after he as hearing a sound in the right front. The team discovered that the lugnuts were being sheared from the wheel and the only fix was a replacement of the wheel hub. Busch went behind the wall and finished. 31st. Will Busch be able to put together a good enough race for a win sometime in the next two?
13. Jeff Gordon (-27 points): Gordon slipped back on the race's final restart and settled in seventh. Much like Keselowski and Busch, the magic number is the number of points to Logano. Is Gordon setting up for another miraculous Richmond run?
14. Martin Truex Jr. (-41 points): Hard to believe that our first Wild Card entry is in 14th place, but here we are. Truex's best hope is for the standings to stay the way they are for the next two weeks. Every winless driver into the top 10 is another driver with a win he has to contend with.
15. Ryan Newman (-45 points): The same goes for Newman. The best news for both Wild Card placeholders was Logano's move into the top 10.