Notebook: Chevrolet captures manufacturers' crown
October 27, 2013, Joe Menzer, Special to NASCAR Wire Service, NASCAR.com
Jeff Gordon’s win on Sunday clinched the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup manufacturers' championship for Chevrolet. It's the 11th consecutive season Chevy has won the title, and this time it was clinched with three races still remaining in the season.
"To wrap it up with a win with a great, exciting finish, battling it out with a Toyota (the No. 20 driven by second-place finisher Matt Kenseth) is awesome. I know how much that means to Chevrolet," Gordon said.
It was the 16th victory of the season by a Chevy-driven car, sealing Chevrolet's 37th manufacturer's title.
KESELOWSKI KEEPS IT CLEAN
Defending Sprint Cup champion Brad Keselowski has struggled much of the season, but was pleased to emerge from Martinsville with a fourth-place finish.
Keselowski surprised himself by staying out of trouble on a day that included 17 cautions for a total of 111 laps.
"It's a short track and by definition there is not a lot of room to race,"Keselowski said. “With 43 cars here, there are a lot of cars on top of each other and eventually you're going to make contact and wreck each other and make someone angry. I don't think I made anybody angry (Sunday) and we had a decent showing, so I guess we'll move on."
POLE-SITTER HAMLIN HANGS ON
It’s been a difficult year for Denny Hamlin and Sunday was no different.
After sitting on the pole, he was involved in a wreck with Kasey Kahne and others that caused a caution to come out on Lap 183. Hamlin suffered heavy damage to his No. 11 Toyota. But after getting the nose and other parts of the car wrapped heavily in black tape, he quickly returned to the track and remained surprisingly competitive the rest of the afternoon.
He even regained the lead briefly after the accident, and led a total of 14 laps on the day.
"We really had about a 25th-place car," Hamlin said after finishing seventh. "I took a pretty good shot to the wheel and the steering was off just a little bit, and here that’s usually a pretty big deal. … We had a lot of damage from that early wreck. I'm proud of this whole team for fixing it, and the pit crew did an awesome job. They kept picking me up spots on pit road."