Stage 1 Recap (Ended at Lap 50):
● Bowyer started third and finished 11th.
● The No. 14 Rush Truck Centers/Cummins Ford raced in third in the early going.
● Pitted with the field on lap 12 but made contact with another car during a multicar accident on pit lane. The No. 14 suffered no damage but dropped to ninth.
● Restarted the race in ninth and quickly moved to sixth.
● Pitted on lap 43 for four tires and fuel and restarted 10th on lap 46.
● Finished the stage in 11th after a multicar accident red flagged the race.
Stage 2 Recap (Ended at Lap 100):
● Bowyer started seventh and finished fifth to earn six bonus points.
● No. 14 Rush Truck Centers/Cummins Ford raced in seventh on lap 57 about seven seconds behind the leader.
● Bowyer reported a slight vibration on lap 82.
● A stop on lap 86 for two tires did not cure the vibration.
● Bowyer and crew debated making an unscheduled pit stop before deciding to stay on the track.
● Bowyer restarted the stage in fifth with five laps remaining and held the position as a caution concluded the stage.
Stage 3 Recap (Ended at Lap 160):
● Bowyer started 19th and finished fifth.
● The No. 14 Rush Truck Centers/Cummins Ford avoided an accident on the opening lap of the final stage and dropped from 19th to 21st.
● Bowyer’s car showed speed as it raced back to ninth with 40 laps remaining.
● He restarted 11th with 26 laps to go before the scariest moment of the day when a multicar accident on the restart took out several cars.
● Bowyer missed a sliding Alex Bowman by only inches. Contact likely would have kept him from earning a playoff berth.
● Bowyer moved to eighth with nine laps remaining and ran a conservative race in the final laps before crossing the finish line in fifth.
● Bowyer qualified for the playoffs by virtue of his 15th-place finish in the regular-season standings.
● This is Bowyer’s eighth playoff appearance and his second in a row.
● Bowyer earned his sixth top-five of the season and his fourth top-five in 14 career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series starts at Indianapolis.
● This is Bowyer’s third consecutive top-10. He finished sixth in the series’ last race at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway.
● This is Bowyer’s second consecutive top-five at Indianapolis. He finished fifth in last year’s Brickyard 400.
● Kevin Harvick’s margin of victory over second-place Joey Logano was 6.118 seconds.
● There were nine caution periods for a total of 48 laps.
● Only 23 of the 40 drivers in the Brickyard 400finished on the lead lap.
● Kyle Busch won the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series regular season championship.
1. Kyle Busch (2,045 points)
2. Denny Hamlin (2,030 points, -15)
3. Martin Truex Jr. (2,029 points, -16)
4. Kevin Harvick (2,028 points, -17)
5. Joey Logano (2,028 points, -17)
6. Brad Keselowski (2,024 points, -21)
7. Chase Elliott (2,018 points, -27)
8. Kurt Busch (2,011 points, -34)
9. Alex Bowman (2,005 points, -40)
10. Erik Jones (2,005 points, -40)
11. Kyle Larson (2,005 points, -40)
12. Ryan Blaney (2,004 points, -41)
13. William Byron (2,001 points, -44)
14. Aric Almirola (2,001 points, -44)
15. Clint Bowyer (2,000 points, -45)
16. Ryan Newman (2,000 points, -45)
Clint Bowyer, driver of the No. 14 Rush Truck Centers/Cummins Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:
It must be great to be in the playoffs.
“Well, winning would be better. There is nothing better than winning. Playoffs are obviously a good thing, and you have to be in the playoffs to win a championship. I am looking forward to some of those tracks. I look back at Richmond and I should have won that race. I should have done what I needed to do and moved him that day and went on and won the race and drove off into the sunset. I didn’t, and I still think about that. You can understand how important it is. You still think about that race and how easy the rest of our season would have been had I done that. That being said, we are going back to some of those tracks that are really good racetracks for us, and they are good opportunities for a win.”
Did you have any high-anxiety moments today?
“You are damn right I did. You knew it going in. You knew it was going to be high anxiety and crazy like that. But you just don’t know where it is going to be coming from.”
The next event on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the South Point 400 on Sunday, Sept. 15 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. It is the first race of the 10-race playoffs and starts at 7 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by NBCSN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.