Lowes Motor Speedway, Concord, NC
Welcome NASCAR race fans to the longest race of the schedule. This race is 400 laps and 600 miles. It starts in the evening and ends under the lights. It’s held at the NASCAR home track on Memorial Day weekend. Being that it’s so long, drivers have to stay focused and be there for the last 100 miles in order to win this race.
18 Kyle Busch is on the pole, with 9 Kasey Kahne right beside him. If you’ll recall, 9 won the last race here, the All-Star race, after being voted in by the fans. He’s looking to be the sixth driver ever to win both races in the same year. The others were Darryl Waltrip, Davey Allison, Dale Earnhardt, Jeff Gordon and Jimmy Johnson.
40 today is Sterling Marlin, filling in for the injured Dario Franchitti. 33 is a fourth RCR entry driven by Ken Schrader. 70 is again driven by Johnny Sauter. 66 Scott Riggs and 70 had illegal tear wing mounts and both cars were confiscated and sent to R&D headquarters. Failing to qualify are: 34 Jeff Green (John Andretti raced in the Indy 500 earlier in the day), 50 Stanton Barrett, 21 Jon Woods, 78 Joe Nemechek, and 08 Tony Raines.
The big news is that AJ “Humpy” Wheeler is retiring as CEO of Lowes Motor Speedway. He was great for the Sport and this track. The Keys for this race are 1. Make it to sundown, 2. Keep up with the ever-changing track, 3. Track position in the closing laps.
So, here we go. 18 takes off after snookering 9 at the start. 6 David Ragan gets by 9 for second. 83 Brian Vickers gets by 9 for third. 88 Dale Earnhardt gets by 9 for fourth. 6 and 9 battle for fifth, and 6 takes it. 07 Clint Bowyer is pitting. 2 Kurt Busch and 48 Jimmy Johnson get by 16 Greg Biffle. 77 Sam Hornish, Jr. gets into the wall, while battling 11 Denny Hamlin. 83 catches leader 18 and they battle for the lead. 83 takes the lead. 18 is having ignition problems. 48 gets by 2. 48 gets by 18. 2 and 18 battle. 2 gets by. 48 takes the lead.
Green Flag Pitting begins. 6 takes the lead. After all the pitting, 48 is back in the lead. The first caution comes out when 7 Robby Gordon brushes the wall on lap 83. 15 Paul Menard is the Lucky Dog and gets his lap back. They all pit, and it’s 48 and 2 out first and second. 2 takes the lead. 20 Tony Stewart complains that his car won’t turn. 88 and 18 battle for second. 18 takes the position. 83 gets by 18 for third. 88 gets by 83 for second. And Green Flag Pitting begins once again.
88 has a very long pit. They couldn’t get the right front on and the tire carrier disappeared with the tire. 16 leads when 2 pits. 83 is leading after all the pitting. 2, leaving the pits, hits a lug nut that sparks a fire in the pit, but it is quickly extinguished. 2 gets by 83 during the commercial to take the lead. 16 has a tire going down or a loose wheel and pits. 83 takes the lead from 2. The wheel weight came off 16. That’s why he thought he had a flat or a loose tire. 18 is pitting. There are sixteen cars on the lead lap. 83 has a vibration. 1 Martin Truex, Jr. is loosing voltage. 8 Mark Martin has a broken header pipe.
The second caution comes out during the commercial. 2 got into the wall. 11 stays on the lead lap. 18, a lap down got by the leader to stay on the lead lap. 15 is once again the Lucky Dog. The third caution comes out when 42 Juan Pablo Montoya spins into the infield. 7 and 42 got together. 8 Mark Martin is the Lucky Dog. 48 takes the lead. 7 blows up and heads into the pits.The fourth caution comes out when 83 looses a tire and hits the wall. The tire smashes onto 38 David Gilliland and bounces off the track into the camping area, hitting an awning! 88 is leading. They have to replace the foam in the SAFER barrier where 83 hit it.
The fifth caution comes out when 00 Michael McDowell spins on lap193. 43 Bobby Labonte is the Lucky Dog. Something hits 17 Matt Kenseth, who is in a yellow and green R&L car today and he has a long pit. 44 David Reutimann and 22 Dave Blaney battle for position. 44 gets by. 88 and 9 battle for the lead. 9 takes the lead. 6 gets by his team mate 99 Carl Edwards. The sixth caution comes out for debris from 2. 24 Jeff Gordon is the Lucky Dog. 16 is overheating. 19 Elliott Sadler takes the lead. 19 and 88 battle for the lead. 88 takes the lead. 31 Jeff Burton gets by 9 for third.
The seventh caution comes out when 96 J. J. Yeley gets into the wall. Everyone pits. 12 Ryan Newman can’t get to his pit, and continues down pit road, to lead a lap before going back in to pit. 29 Kevin Harvick is the Lucky dog. 18 is back in the lead. 26 Jamie McMurray gets ahead of 18 to get his lap back. 20 and 31 battle for position. 88 gets by 31. 18 gets by 26 to put him back a lap down. 88 gets by 20. 6 gets by 44. 77 and 26 battle for the Lucky Dog position. 38 is back out after repairs from the tire hitting his car. 88 takes the lead. 43 gets by 16. 26 is smoking and pits. 18 is loosing volts and 9 gets by.
The eighth caution comes out when 88 gets into the wall and 96 gets into 88. 88 can’t get away from the wall, but manages to pit. 24 stays on the lead lap. 88 speeds down pit road and was almost held a lap for endangering emergency equipment on pit road, but the Officials decide he was only speeding, and didn’t endanger anyone. 20 pits. 18 takes the lead. 31 takes the lead when 18 pits.31 and 16 pit. And 17 takes the lead. 11 takes the lead, then pits. 22 leads when 11 pits. 20 leads when 22 pits. 20 has a tire going down and hits the wall. 9 takes the lead. 11 gets into the wall. 99 runs out of gas just before the finish, and ends up ninth.
9 Kasey Kahne wins the Coca-Cola 600 and becomes the sixth driver to win the All-Star race and the 600 a week later. This is his eighth win and his third at this track.
Brought to you by Sheila Hawley
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