Miami Maneuvering: Harvick Takes Points Lead from JJ

Montoya on the Charge at Richmond

Juan Pablo Montoya (seen here racing with eventual winner Kyle Busch) finished sixth on Saturday night at Richmond and moved up two spots in the NASCAR Championship standings (photo courtesy: Robert Hallowell, Getty Images Sport)

Kyle Busch shot past Jeff Gordon on the final restart at Richmond to win Race 11 of 36 en route to crowning the Sprint Cup Champion in Miami Nov. 21. Kevin Harvick finished third, and in the process took over the Sprint Cup points lead from previous-leader Jimmie Johnson. The No. 48 finished 10th in his pursuit of an unprecedented fifth consecutive Sprint Cup Championship at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Nov. 21. For ticket information, stay tuned to THEChampionshipTrack.com or call (866) 409-RACE.

Gordon’s decision to stay out for track position, rather than take new tires, may have cost him his 83rd career victory, as numerous late-race cautions resulted in yet another close finish for the four-time champ.

“Kyle was really good on restarts, and his car was really strong tonight,” said Gordon who has four Top 5 finishes in 2010. “You didn’t want to have to race him on a shootout like that. We came out second. I had a great race with Harvick, all the guys really, all night.”

South Florida-resident Juan Pablo Montoya finished sixth at Richmond to move up two spots, to 18th place, in the standings for NASCAR’s Sprint Cup Championship, which will be crowned on Montoya’s “home track” of Homestead-Miami Speedway Nov. 21. For ticket information, stay tuned to THEChampionshipTrack.com or call (866) 409-RACE.

“It was a great night,” Montoya said. “The Target Chevy was amazing. I don’t know, I think we had a Top 5 finish; we ran Top 5 most of the day. The team did an amazing job. We had a great car. I have said it before, this is a horrible track for me. To finish where we finished is good for points, and we have to keep it up.”

Montoya ran strong all day in the Top 10 and took four new tires on the final caution to make up five places in the last five laps. Drivers ahead of Montoya stayed out on the track, having pitted just a few laps earlier prior to Elliott Sadler blowing a tire, which brought the yellow flags out.

Prior to those last few caution periods, Gordon—in search of his fifth NASCAR Sprint Cup title Nov. 21 at Homestead-Miami Speedway—looked to be on his way to his first win of the season, as he led almost half the race (144 laps total). Once again, though, he came up just short in the end.

"I don't know how I passed [Gordon] for the win,” said Busch, who won his second consecutive spring race at Richmond. “I don't even remember doing it. I just drove it hard into Turn 1 and it stuck. I got a major drive going, got to the bottom and set sail."

The next stop for Gordon, Busch, Harvick, Montoya—South Florida’s NASCAR hometown’er—and all of NASCAR’s elite is Darlington on Saturday, May 8 (7:30 p.m., FOX TV) for Race 11 of 36 en route to crowning the Sprint Cup Champion in Miami Nov. 21. For ticket information, stay tuned to THEChampionshipTrack.com or call (866) 409-RACE.

All three of NASCAR’s premier racing series—the Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series—again will crown Champions at Homestead-Miami Speedway (Nov. 19-21). For Ford Championship Weekend ticket information, stay tuned to THEChampionshipTrack.com or call toll free (866) 409-RACE.

 

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