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NASCAR At Richmond: Chase Hopefuls Denny Hamlin, Dale Earnhardt Jr, and Clint Bowyer In Big Crash Early

The Chase hopes for Clint Bowyer, Denny Hamlin, and especially Dale Earnhardt Jr. took a big hit on the eighth lap of the Wonderful Pistachios 400 at the Richmond International Raceway. Bowyer lost control while battling polesitter David Reutimann for position inside the top-10, while Hamlin and Earnhardt were among a number of drivers who piled in subsequently. Earnhardt's Chevrolet has significant front-end damge, but the radiator wasn't busted.

Hamlin's Toyota was heavilly digned up as well as Bowyer's Chevrolet. Matt Kenseth, Robby Gordon, Scott Speed, Casey Mears, Marcos Ambrose, and Martin Truex Jr. - another Chase hopeful - was also involved.

Earnhardt entered the race ninth in points, while Hamlin held the second-wild card position. Bowyer was among the drivers who needed a victory to have any shot of winning the race, but his car took a sharp hit from Earnhardt, which could end his hopes before he had any chance to make a run at it.

The wreck drew the second yellow in the race's early stages. The first caution flew on just the second lap of the race when Mike Bliss sent Andy Lally into the turn-three wall. Lally's Ford sustained heavy rear-end damage.

Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.