CONCORD, N.C. —
Both had to play their own fuel-saving game, especially in the closing laps. Hamlin couldn’t make a run at winner Bowyer, and Johnson said he couldn’t try to chase down Hamlin.
“We were just being really cautious and didn’t want to go out there and chase (Hamlin) and get ourselves in trouble,” Johnson said. “We’re getting really good at this fuel mileage stuff, it’s hard to get it right.”
Everyone had to keep one eye on the gas gauge starting very early in the race, and it worked out in Bowyer’s favor for his career-best third victory of the season. It also put him back in the title hunt as he moved one spot in the standings to fourth, and he’s 28 points out as he heads to his home track in Kansas.
It all comes in Bowyer’s first season with Michael Waltrip Racing and manufacturer Toyota, a partnership that’s working out far better than expected.
“Who thought in a million years I’d walk into the situation I’ve walked into?” he asked in Victory Lane.