Dodge Challenger 500
Welcome race fans to the eleventh race of the season. This track is the oldest one NASCAR goes to. They call Darlington “The Lady in Black” and “The Track too tough to Tame”. Darlington Raceway is a 1.366 mile egg-shaped oval and tough on drivers and cars. Most everyone in the race tonight, 05/10/08 will acquire a “Darlington stripe”. In fact, the 48 of Jimmy Johnson hit the wall so hard, he had to go to a back-up car. And got another stripe before qualifying. And he’s the reigning Champion! This week, only forty-five cars are entered, so only two will not make the race. Those two are Johnny Sauter in the #70, and Jeff Green in the #34. Bill Elliott in the 21 didn’t have to use his Champion provisional, as he got in on speed. Tonight the 40 is Sterling Marlin filling in for injured Dario Francitti, in his own former car. 7 Robby Gordon and 9 Kasey Kahne both had an engine change and will start from the rear.
So, here we go. 16 Greg Biffle is on the pole with a time of 179.442. 88 Dale Earnhardt, Jr. starts second. Forty-two drivers broke the track record! That’s how much faster they will be going tonight. 16 and 88 pull away from everyone else. 16 leads the first lap. 88 takes the lead on the second lap. The first caution comes out on lap two. 19 Elliott Sadler and 20 Tony Stewart get into each other and the wall. 19 goes to the garage. 20 goes on. 2 Kurt Busch and 18 Kyle Busch go by 48. 44 David Reutimann gets a Darlington stripe. 6 David Ragan gets his own Stripe. 45 Kyle Petty gets hard into the wall and goes into the pits. 18 gets by 2. The second caution comes out when 77 Sam Hornish, Jr. gets into the wall.
They restart on lap sixteen. 18 takes the lead. 16 and 2 get by 88. 42 Juan Pablo Montoya gets into the wall. 1 Martin Truex, Jr. gets by 22 Dave Blaney. 42 won’t let 18 leading put him a lap down. 18 gets his Darlington stripe. 16 takes the lead. 48 gets by 88. 16 drives by 42 putting him a lap down. But 18 still can’t get by 42. Green Flag Pitting starts with 31 Jeff Burton and 01 Regan Smith on lap 59. 2 leads when 16 pits. 28 Travis Kvapil leads when 2 pits. 17 Matt Kenseth leads when 28 pits. 9 leads when 17 pits. 96 J.J. Yeley leads when 9 pits. 10 Patrick Carpentier leads when 96 pits. 12 Ryan Newman has a tire violation, then missed the entrance on the drive-through. He goes two laps down. 38 David Gilliland leads when 10 pits. 41 Reed Sorenson leads when 38 pits. After all the pitting, 18 is back in the lead.
55 Michael Waltrip won’t let the leader 18 put him a lap down. 66 Scott Riggs and 5 Casey Mears battle for thirteenth. 16 takes the lead when 40 wouldn’t let 18 by. 1 gets by 24 Jeff Gordon. 7 is having trouble and pits. Green Flag Pitting begins once again with 55 and 83 Brian Vickers. 24 leads when 16 pits. 11 Denny Hamlin leads when 24 pits. 10 leads when 11 pits. 20 misses the pit entrance. 18 gets into 16 to take the lead. 16 makes a great save to keep going. 18 is complaining about his brakes. 18 can’t get by 9.
The third caution is for debris. 9 stays on the lead lap. 07 Clint Bowyer is the Lucky Dog, and gets his lap back. There were one hundred and twenty-six laps of Green Flag racing! 88 takes two tires and gets out of the pits first. It’s 88, 16, 18, 24 and 1 as the top five. 18 had a loose lug nut and must pit to get it tightened. 66 and 40 are caught speeding and will serve a drive-through penalty. 29 Kevin Harvick gets hard into the wall and limps to the pits. They finally have to throw a caution for his debris. 12 is in front of the leader and gets one of his two laps back. 15 Paul Menard is the Lucky dog. 16 takes the lead from 88. 1 gets by 88. 48 is having alternator problems. 88 gets his Darlington stripe, and 24 gets by. There are now twenty cars with a Darlington stripe. 16 has a bad vibration. 16 puts 9 a lap down. 16 thinks he broke a gear and pits. 1 takes the lead. 28 gets into the wall. 1 tries to lap 9 who got his lap back when 16 pitted.
Green flag Pitting begins again with leader 1. 88 takes the lead. 6 leads when 88 pits, then misses the commitment cone and has to go back around. 10 gets a tire penalty. 26 Jamie McMurray takes the lead. 77 gets into the wall again. 16 leads when 26 pits. 18 gets into the wall. 17 is falling back. 15 goes to the garage. Greg Biffle in the 16 tells his crew “we’re never going to make it”, with 145 to go. 31 goes a lap down. The fifth caution comes out during the commercial. It’s for debris from the 16. 43 Bobby Labonte is the Lucky Dog. 16 goes to the garage. The top ten are: 11, 1, 24, 88, 2, 48, 17, 22, 99, 6. 12 and 83 collide entering pit road. The Green Flag comes out with 127 to go. The sixth caution comes out when 83 gets into the wall with 118 to go. 24, 88, 48, 22 , 18, 99 Carl Edwards and 28 stay out. 2 gets fuel only.
The Green Flag comes back out with 115 to go. 18 takes second from 88. 38 gets a Darlington stripe. Thirty-four cars now have a Darlington stripe. 99 feels like he has a loose tire. 18 takes the lead during the commercial. 5 gets into the wall when his right front tire went down and he couldn’t turn. No caution. 22 is up to fourth. 6 goes by 48. The seventh caution comes out for debris from 84 A. J. Allmendinger who got into the wall. Nineteen cars are on the lead lap. 9 Kasey Kahne is the Lucky Dog. The top ten are 24, 18, 88, 99, 22, 11, 07, 1 and 48. 20 pulls out in front of the leader to get back on the lead lap. 24 falls back to fourth. 18 takes the lead. 6 bounces off the wall. 18 gets into the wall. And again.
The eighth caution comes out with sixty-six to go. 1 runs over 11, spinning 11. 9 stays on the lead lap. 38 David Gilliland is the Lucky dog. 20 stayed ahead of the leader to stay on the lead lap. The top ten are 18, 99, 24, 6, 88, 22, 43, 1, 48 and 17. The green Flag comes out with sixty to go. 6 has a vibration. 22 gets by 6. 1 and 48 battle for seventh. 9 looses it, then saves it. 10 goes out with engine failure. 16 is out with mechanical problems. 07 gets into the wall. 11 gets by 48 for eighth. 1 gets into the wall. 26 and 38 get by 1. 00 Michael McDowell brushes the wall. 26 gets by 48 for tenth. And Kyle Busch in the #18 wins the race. He also led the most laps.
Brought to you by Sheila Hawley
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