Unsung hero

Brian Pattie, crew chief of the #15 5-hour Energy Toyota, looks on during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Series Quicken Loans 400 at Michigan International Speedway on June 15, 2012 in Brooklyn, Michigan. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

SONOMA, Calif. — Sometimes the best saves are the ones that go all but unnoticed.

That was the case two weeks ago at Pocono, where crew chief Brian Pattie’s timely reaction saved a top-10 finish for driver Clint Bowyer.

The engine in Bowyer’s No. 15 Toyota suffered the same issue that knocked fellow Camry driver Kyle Busch out of the race —- metal flaking that disrupted the oil flow. Quick thinking on Pattie’s part, however, prevented Bowyer’s engine from expiring.

During a late caution, Pattie added two-and-a-half quarts of oil, and Bowyer survived to finish sixth in the Pocono 400 presented by #NASCAR.

“Sometimes you’ve got to manufacture finishes, and we brainstormed there when we heard our oil pressure was dropping down,” Pattie told the NASCAR Wire Service. “We saw the 18 (Busch) having his trouble.

“I don’t know if I made a save -— I think the caution made a save, whatever that caution was at the end where I pitted with 30-some laps to go. It enabled us to put some oil in the motor and survive and get a top 10.”

That finish could prove crucial to Bowyer’s chances to make the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. For one thing, it kept him in the top 10 in the standings -— critical for a driver who hasn’t won a race this year. And with a third consecutive top 10 at Michigan last Sunday, ninth-place Bowyer holds a 25-point edge over Carl Edwards in 11th.

Had Bowyer’s engine suffered the same fate as Busch’s, that advantage would have evaporated.


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