DOVER, Del. (AP) — Clint Bowyer saw his target and hurried off pit road. Angry after a hard lick only moments earlier, Bowyer sped toward Denny Hamlin and sent him straight into the wall.
Bowyer’s retaliatory hit got him instantly parked by NASCAR. His race was over and Hamlin’s was spoiled.
Kyle Busch missed all the fun on his way to Victory Lane. Busch dominated from the pole and won the Nationwide Series race at Dover International Speedway on Saturday, a day after he ran out of fuel at the end of the Trucks Series race.
“I knew we had a great race car, and if we could just get through the restarts and not have anybody turn me sideways,” we’d win, Busch said.
The final laps were marred by bumps and wrecks that necessitated a red flag and a green-white checkered finish.
And what a finish.
Bowyer was rear-ended by Hamlin on one of the late restarts. Bowyer spent little time stewing on pit road, driving right out and into Hamlin.
Bowyer was ordered straight to the NASCAR hauler.
“I just clipped him on the way by. It was nothing intentional,” Hamlin said. “I just misjudged it, barely. It’s hard to blame it on not running these cars a lot, but I just didn’t know how close I was.
“I’m sure he was frustrated, but I don’t fault him. I’m sure I’d be frustrated, too. It’s hard to say he’s in the wrong.”
The race was red flagged for 11 minutes, 43 seconds with less than 10 laps remaining after an accident left fluid and mangled cars all over the track.
Trevor Bayne was limping when he left the car after the accident and went to the hospital.
“It seems like we can always find something in the last 10 laps to get a caution,” Busch said.
Ryan Newman, Jamie McMurray, Reed Sorenson and Jason Leffler rounded out the top five.
“It got exciting for everybody at the end,” Newman said, laughing.
Bowyer could lose points as part of a NASCAR punishment.
“I hope that they don’t penalize Clint Bowyer,” McMurray said. “That’s what every race car driver wants to do. You don’t want to hurt anybody, but when someone takes you out of a race like that and you have no chance of finishing, and they’re still going to finish, that is just the best gratification that a guy can have.”
Busch was in control the entire day in the second race of his weekend tripleheader. He was poised to win the Trucks race on Friday when he had to make an unexpected pit after running out of fuel. He’ll drive in Sunday’s Sprint Cup race.
“Well, let’s see if it’s our week to win,” Busch radioed on the final laps.
It was, and he earned his fourth Nationwide win of the season.
Busch, who led 191 of 205 laps, saw his chances of defending his Nationwide title squashed this week when Joe Gibbs Racing decided he would not run the full schedule.
He said it was frustrating to want to race for a championship, but not be allowed to compete.
“It changes your approach a little bit, not a whole lot,” Busch said. “We’ve got to make sure that we go out and try and win races. That’s what we do anyway. We s