Commentary

It wasn't pretty and didn't always make sense, but Kansas will be memorable

Greg Biffle was the winner, at least officially. There were definitely losers; almost too many in the Chase to count. If that doesn't make sense, neither did Sunday's LifeLock 400, writes Terry Blount.

Updated: October 1, 2007, 12:52 AM ET
By Terry Blount | ESPN.com

KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- More than six hours after it began, the LifeLock 400 came to a merciful end.

Many a Chase contender was collected along the way in the craziest, zaniest and most inexplicably bizarre Nextel Cup race of the season.

Actually, calling it a race is a stretch. An exhibition of futility is closer to the truth.

Greg Biffle earned his first victory of the season, even though he didn't cross the finish line first.

That's right, folks. NASCAR said the field was frozen under caution, so Biffle won it even though he slowed on the track as other drivers beat him to the line.

That decision cost Clint Bowyer, the home-state hero, a victory.

"I don't know what to think," Bowyer said. "I thought you had to be at least under your own power at the finish line. I thought you had to maintain a cautious pace. He failed to do that. I don't know what happened. It's been a long day and pretty wild."

Biffle agrees it was an unusual event, but he believes justice was served at the end.

"I could have gotten going again, but I didn't think it was necessary," Biffle said. "The race was over. I'll go do some doughnuts right now if it will make everyone feel better about it."

Both Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon thought Bowyer was robbed.

"Bowyer won the race," Gordon said. "No offense to Greg Biffle, but you have to maintain speed and cross the start/finish line. You don't freeze the field."

Biffle, as you might expect, sees it differently.

"Their opinion really doesn't count, as far as I know," Biffle said. "I wanted to save enough fuel to do a burnout and get to Victory Lane. And one other thing they don't know: NASCAR came to my car and said, 'Will it run?' I said yes, so they said, 'Don't touch it. We want six guys to push it back.'

"I'm sure [Johnson and Gordon] were thinking it wouldn't run. That's not the case. I don't know what else to say. I don't know how bad you want Clint to win, and I don't care."

Oddly, it was the appropriate ending to a show that made no sense for most of the day.

The race had two red flags for rain, totaling almost three hours of downtime, 12 cautions and more mangled cars than a bad day at Talladega.

The event was halted under yellow by darkness, eliminating the usual green-white-checkered finish.

"It was pretty dark," Bowyer said. "But it was still light enough that I saw the 16 [Biffle] quit running."

Only three of the 12 Chase drivers left Kansas feeling good about the outcome. Johnson finished third and took the top spot by six points over teammate Gordon. Bowyer is only nine points behind Johnson.

Everyone else in the playoff is at least 100 points behind with seven races to go.

Tony Stewart was the day's biggest loser, going from two points behind to 117 points back. And that happened after Stewart thought he was the winner.

Stewart thought his team had gambled on fuel and won when the storm came with his No. 20 Chevrolet in front a few laps after the midpoint of the scheduled distance.

No such luck. NASCAR restarted the event after a delay of more than two hours. Then total insanity took over.

"The craziness started when we went back to green," Johnson said. "We had the cars in front that were on the tail end of the lead lap, and everybody started driving really aggressive."

A seven-car pileup ensued on the first green-flag lap of the restart. Chase drivers Matt Kenseth, Kurt Busch and Stewart were involved in the accident.

Jeff Gordon
Man, what a crazy day. But NASCAR was going to restart the race as long as we had daylight. I know I lot of people disagree with that, but I'm glad they did.

Jeff Gordon

Stewart dented his hood and left front quarter panel, putting sheet metal against the tire. The team gambled again and stayed on the track.

Big mistake.

The tire rub caused a flat. Stewart waved to try to get off the track, but Busch plowed into his car from behind. Stewart's day was done.

The restarts kept coming, and so did the wrecks. With each new caution, NASCAR officials shortened the race, knowing daylight would vanish soon.

The first announcement was the race would end at Lap 225 instead of 267. After another wreck, the teams were told the event would end on Lap 210.

It was every crew chief's worst nightmare, constantly having to rethink fuel strategy and pit windows.

Come to think of it, this race was a nightmare all around.

"Man, what a crazy day," Gordon said. "But NASCAR was going to restart the race as long as we had daylight. I know I lot of people disagree with that, but I'm glad they did."

Terry Blount covers motorsports for ESPN.com. He can be reached at terry@blountspeak.com.

Terry Blount

ESPN Seattle Seahawks reporter

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