Coke Zero 400
Welcome race fans to the eighteenth race of the season and the half-way point. 60 is Boris Said who qualifies seventh. 78 Joe Nemechek qualifies fourth. 70 Johnny Sauter qualifies fifth. 10 Patrick Carpentier qualifies tenth. 84 AJ Almendinger qualifies thirteenth. 21 is Jon Wood, who qualifies twenty-second. 09 is Sterling Marlin, who qualifies eighteenth. 45 is Terry Labonte, while Kyle Petty is in the booth at TNT. He had to take a past Champion provisional to make the race. Going home are 96 JJ Yeley and 66 Scott Riggs. 1999 Winston Cup Champion Dale Jarrett starts the engines. Kyle Petty is reporting from the pace car. On the pole is 15 Paul Menard, with a speed of 185.916. 8 Mark Martin starts second.
This is a restrictor-plate race to slow the cars down on this massive 2.5 mile track. It is also an impound race. That means you race with the same set-up you had to qualify. Those having to make the race on speed have a qualifying set up on their cars, and will have to make changes for racing after the race begins. 84 and 60 voluntarily move to the rear so they won’t be in the way with their qualifying set up.
So, here we go. 15 leads from the pole. 21 goes to the garage to make racing changes. 24 Jeff Gordon gets loose, but saves it. They are mostly single-file. 24 is in a pack and gets into 70 to get by. 21 is back on the track, eight laps down. 20 Tony Stewart gets ahead of 8 for fourth. 8 pulls low to get back by 20, and lets 18 Kyle Busch get by. 88 Dale Earnhardt, Jr. takes the lead.
The first caution comes out on lap 19 when 84 gets into the wall. Out of the pits, it’s 18, 15, 01 Regan Smith, 22 Dave Blaney. This is TNT’s “wide open coverage”, so there are commercials below the race and station breaks during cautions. This is good on one hand because you get to see racing while watching commercials, but annoying on the other hand. We resume racing on lap 25. And it’s double-wide racing. 6 David Ragan makes it three-wide. 48 Jimmy Johnson gets stuck in the middle, and falls back. He is racing in the middle line, and cars get by him. 88 takes the lead.
12 Ryan Newman gets caught in the middle. 20 gets by 8 for third. The second caution comes out when 12 spins. 26 Jamie McMurray came up and into 12 to spin him. 84 is in the garage. 60 Boris Said is the Lucky Dog and gets his lap back. 88 leads them down pit road. Out of the pits, it’s 18, 88, 20, 8, 24, 9 Kasey Kahne, 17 Matt Kenseth. And we go to a 75 second commercial break.
29 Kevin Harvick stayed out to lead a lap, but didn’t cross the line as the leader and pits, coming down pit road too fast to beat the pace car. So, he will resart the race in thirty-seventh without leading a lap. 01 got into 15 on pit road. They both had to come back into the pits for repairs. 01 gets by 99 Carl Edwards. 29 gets by 16 Greg Biffle. 88 and 18 battle for the lead. 88 and everyone behind him go high past 18. 18 pulls in front of 20. Everyone goes low with 18 on the top. They all go by 18 on the bottom. 20 falls behind 18. 77 Sam Hornish, Jr. gets into the wall. 88, 8 and 24 pull away. 20 is back up to tenth.
The third caution comes out when 16 goes up into 42 Juan Pablo Montoya and they both get into the wall. 16 spins into the infield. Tony Stewart doesn’t feel good. JJ Yeley will fill in. 09 Sterling Marlin is the Lucky Dog. They exit the pits 88, 48, 18, 24. 48 pulls up in front of 88 to take the lead. 18 is on the outside. 17 pushes 24. 88 takes the lead. 24 takes the lead. 18 is slow on the apron. His steering is off.
9 pushes 17 past 99. 38 David Gilliland takes third from 48. They are double-wide in front. 88 and 38 get by 24. 11 Denny Hamlin and 12 get by 48 for fourth and fifth. During the ninety second commercial, the fourth caution comes out. 19 Elliott Sadler gets into the wall, after blowing a tire. 44 David Reutimann is the Lucky Dog and gets one of five laps back. Thirty-eight cars are on the lead lap. Out of the pits, it’s 88, 11, 12, 48. 38 had a slow pit. 99, 10 and 78 stay out and 99 leads a lap. All three pit the second time around.
We go green with forty-six to go and 88 leading. 12 pushes 11 in front of 88, giving 11 the lead. 88 takes the lead back. 12 gets stuck in the middle. 11 takes the lead. 12 gets back in on the high side. 6 gives 88 a shot, and 88 takes the lead. The fifth caution comes out with thirty-six to go. 12 and 38 get together with 38 into the wall. Behind them 83 Brian Vickers gets into 31 Jeff Burton, sending him spinning. Out of the pits, it’s 11, 6, 88, 24. 55 Michael Waltrip stays out to lead. 6 had a “noncompliant fueling” and has to come back in. The catch can man took the catch can out before fueling was complete. 55 pits after leading a lap. 60 is now in the lead, as he doesn’t pit.
They are three-wide for the lead. 88 takes the lead. The sixth caution comes out when 26 spins, trying to sneak in front of 83. 44 David Reutimann is the Lucky Dog, and is now two laps down. 24 takes the lead. 48 and 18 get together. The seventh caution comes out for 11 and 12. 1 Martin Truex, Jr. got into 11 who spins into 12. 44 is now only one lap down. 24 is leading. 7 Robby Gordon, 01, 48, 70, 00 Michael McDowell and 78 pit. They restart with 21 laps to go. 20 (now Yeley) follows 88.
The eighth caution comes out when 6 gets into 20, 5 Casey Mears gets sideways, 2 Kurt Busch gets into 31 to send him spinning. 44 David Reutimann gets the Lucky Dog, and is now back on the lead lap. Someone got into 9 and he has a tire rub. The ninth caution comes out when 60 spins. 9 pits. 26 Jamie McMurray is the Lucky Dog and is now six laps down. Thirty-one cars are on the lead lap, with 24 in the lead. The tenth caution comes out on the final lap. And it’s “The Big One”. 22 got into 48. 99 spins 24. Everyone spinning behind. 11, 44, 20, 15, 01, etc. We end under caution and they have to visually see where everyone was when the caution came out to determine that 18 Kyle Busch wins. With 99 Carl Edwards second.
Brought to you by Sheila Hawley
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