Several of NASCAR’s four-wheel stars took to two wheels and spent some time on the dirt Saturday night. The inaugural Monster Energy AMA Supercross, an FIM World Championship, NASCAR Holeshot Challenge presented by Oakley brought four NASCAR drivers inside the Georgia Dome in front of 61,683 fans and put them in unfamiliar territory.
In motocross the holeshot is arguably the most exciting element of a Supercross race as riders charge out of the gate into the first turn, and on Saturday night HScott Motorsports driver Clint Bowyer edged out his fellow NASCAR drivers in this special, one-of-a-kind race.
Stewart-Haas Racing driver Kurt Busch gave the call to start the engines as Grand Marshal before Stewart-Haas Racing teammate Danica Patrick kicked things off by holding the 30 second board, setting the stage for Bowyer, Roush-Fenway Racing’s Greg Biffle and his teamamte Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., as well as Richard Childress Racing driver Ty Dillon.
As the board went sideways, signifying the start was imminent, six-time Sprint Cup Champion Jimmie Johnson, who drives for Hendrick Motorsports, dropped the gate and the four competitors launched down the start straight. Biffle had the initial advantage, but Bowyer gained ground and slipped by just before the finish line, carrying so much momentum that he slid off the track and into a protective barrier. He quickly got back to his feet, and the massive crowd inside the Georgia Dome roared in support. Bowyer was fine, albeit a little embarrassed perhaps.
“I started in first(gear) and knew I didn’t get a very good jump,” a smiling Bowyer said afterwards. “But I was committed man, you got to get down to the end and beat ‘em across the line. I knew I wasn’t going to make the corner so I was aiming for that tough block because I knew it would be soft, a good place to land.”
Moments later the video of the face plant by Bowyer was posted to social media. It was a finish that will no doubt be talked about for months and that Bowyer will hear about for some time. The NASCAR Sprint Cup series was in Atlanta for Sunday’s Folds of Honor QuickTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.