Race Review

by

Checker O’Reilly Auto Parts 500K

Phoenix International Raceway

Avondale, Arizona

Welcome race fans to the thirty-fifth race of the season and the ninth race of The Chase. Only one more to go. This track is a mile in length. 312 laps equals 500 Kilometers. Nothing but sunshine in Arizona, so there was qualifying on Friday. 48 Jimmy Johnson, the Points leader starts on the pole with a speed of 134.725. Beside him is 26 Jamie McMurray. 10 is again AJ Allmendinger. 96 is again Ken Schrader. Kyle Petty is back in his 45 car. 09 is veteran Sterling Marlin. 84 is in his ride for next year #84. 21 is again Bill Elliott. 70 is Johnny Sauter. Marcos Ambrose, from the NASCAR Nationwide Series is in his new ride for 2009, the 47 car. 78 Joe Nemecheck is the only team that had to go home. In my opinion, they could have filled the final row, instead of sending just one team home. 99 Carl Edwards is the in-car reporter. Weather is moving in and it is quite windy. Pit road speed is 45 MPH. 16 Greg Biffle had to change the transmission and will start from the rear.
So, here we go. 26 leads the first lap. 11 Denny Hamlin and 44 David Reutimann battle for seventh. 44 keeps the spot. 24 Jeff Gordon gets by 12 Ryan Newman. 10, 41 Reed Sorenson and 9 Kasey Kahne are three-wide. 9 gets by. 99 Carl Edwards and 18 Kyle Busch battle. The first caution comes out on lap 20. 77 Sam Hornish, Jr. gets loose and gets into 19 Elliott Sadler. They both spin. 1 Martin Truex, Jr. is overheating. Steam, instead of water is coming out the side. That’s not a good sign. 26 brings the leaders down pit road. 2 Kurt Busch, 12, 41 and 8 Mark Martin take two tires and come out first. 48 takes four tires and is the first out of those taking four tires. 77 gets turned by 9 on pit road.
48 gets by 8 and 41 for third. 88 Dale Earnhardt, Jr. gets by 41 for fourth. 5 Casey Mears gets into the wall. 26 and 11 get by 41. 48 gets by 12 for second. 1 heads to the garage with no water in the car. A plastic bag got stuck on the front of the car, causing it to overheat. The second caution comes out on lap 31 when 83 Brian Vickers is hard in the wall. His tire came apart when something broke under the car. The third caution comes out on lap 37, on the restart for rain! Finally NASCAR decides to throw the Red Flag to wait for the rain to stop. They drove around for six laps before the Red Flag flew. 17 Matt Kenseth has a flat tire and will have to pit when the race gets going again.
The sun comes back out and caution is resumed. 17 and 44 pit even though pit road is still closed. 44 forgot to take a cover off the engine while it was raining and had to pit to get it off. 17 had to change the flat tire. 19 Elliott Sadler was the Lucky Dog. 44 comes back in for tires. We go back to Green on lap 48. 18 goes way up on the track and gets by 41. 24 and 41 battle for eighth. 24 finally gets by. 8 and 41 battle for ninth. 8 gets by. 12 and 88 battle for fourth. 12 keeps the spot. 11 and 88 battle for fifth. 12, 88 and 11 are three-wide. 88 gets by. 99 and 29 Kevin Harvick battle. 29 gets by. 20 Tony Stewart and 99 battle. 20 gets by. 9 gets by 41. 5 and 41 battle.
11 can’t get by 12. 12, 11 and 24 are three-wide. 10, 41, 20, 99 and 31 Jeff Burton battle. 99 is smoking his brakes. 99 and 41 battle. 12 had tire issues during the commercial and broke the sway bar when the tire went down. 48 catches 2. 48 and 2 battle for the lead. 48 takes the lead. 26 and 2 battle for second. 16 gets by 31 for sixteenth. 29 gets by 18 for tenth. 88 gets by 2 for third.11 and 38 David Gililand start Green flag pitting. 2 leads when 48 pits. 8 gets Black Flagged for a lug nut issue. 16 leads. He pitted a couple of cautions ago, when everyone else stayed out. But cars are passing him to get their laps back, so he finally pits. 48 is back in the lead. 48 puts 07 Clint Bowyer (leading the Nationwide Series) a lap down. Twenty-one cars are on the lead lap. 9 is falling behind.
The fourth caution on lap 140 is for debris. 42 Juan Pablo Montoya is the Lucky Dog. Twenty cars are now on the lead lap. The top five are 48, 88, 24, 26 and 2. 99 and 18 battle for ninth. 18 gets by. 9 gets into the wall trying to get by 44. 18 and 99 battle again. 24 is sliding back. He’s lost a cylinder. 16 and 18 battle for ninth. 18 keeps ninth. 20 gets by 18. 48 laps 24. 26 gets by 88 for second. 5 gets behind 96 to get trash off the grill. 99 gets by 29.
The fifth caution comes out on lap 211 for debris. 9 Kasey Kahne is the Lucky Dog. The leaders all pit. 48 has trouble getting tape on the grill and comes out second, behind 26. The sun is in the drivers’ eyes. (Is that exciting, where they can’t see? Is that why they start the race so late? Just an observation.) 48 takes the lead. 10 and 42 battle for thirteenth. 2 gets by 26 for second. 26 and 88 battle for third. 88 finally gets by. The sixth caution comes out with 51 to go for debris. 70 Johnny Sauter is the Lucky Dog. The leaders all pit. Out of the pits, the top ten are 48, 2, 26, 99, 29, 88, 11, 16, 5 and 18. 5 gets sideways, but gathers it up. Great save! 24 blows up.
The seventh caution comes out with thirty-nine to go and it’s the big one! They have to throw the Red Flag for clean up. 42 spins 5. 66 Scott Riggs gets hit from behind, trying to slow down. 47, 77 and 43 Bobby Labonte get collected. And 38 ends up on top of 84! When they clean it all up, 20 and 70 can’t get started. 12 pushes 20, who will be team mates next year. The tow truck gets 70 going. They both resume their spots. 18 and 31 pit. 18 gets into 41, and that brings out the eighth caution when 41 blows a tire and spins into the wall. 17 Matt Kenseth is the Lucky Dog.
38 is back on the track with no hood. We go Green with twenty-four to go. 88 and 11 battle for fifth. The ninth caution comes out with twenty-one to go for debris. The back of 41 came off. 20 gets into 16 as the caution comes out. 8 Mark Martin is the Lucky Dog. 15 Paul Menard got into 31 when 31 tried to get between 29 and 15. We go Green with sixteen to go. 88 and 11 battle for fifth. 11 takes the spot. 16 is moving up with fresh tires. 29 and 88 battle for sixth.
The tenth caution comes out with seven to go when 20 spins and can’t get going. 20 and 17 got together with 10 on the bottom. They collect 7. 20 looses a lap. It will be a Green, White Checker finish. 2 is catching 48, the leader. 42 and 10 get together at the finish with 96, 21 and 7. 17 nudged 10 and 10 got into 42. 48 Jimmy Johnson wins the race. Third through twelfth are out of the Chase. The battle will be between Jimmy Johnson and Carl Edwards (141 behind) at Homestead-Miami next week for the finale.
Brought to you by Sheila Hawley

Visit my site: http://www.ilovemynascar.com

Also see Blitz Corner for NASCAR news http://www.blitzcorner.com

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