Welcome race fans to the 36th and final race of the season and the 10th and final race of the Chase. I didn’t get to catch qualifying on Friday, but 44 David Reutimann claimed the pole with a speed of 171.636. 83 Scott Speed was second. 84 Brian Vickers and 83 Speed traded cars for this race so Vickers could get the 84 into the race and, hopefully into the top 35. 09 is Sterling Marlin. 45 is Chad McCumbee from the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. 25 is Brad Keselowski, from the NASCAR Nationwide Series. 70 is again Tony Raines. 8 is Aric Almirola. (3)47 is Marcos Ambrose, also from NNS. He got in on Owner Points. Let’s see if he can keep the car there for Daytona. 10 is again AJ Allmendinger. The Points Leader 48 Jimmy Johnson starts 30th. 99 Carl Edwards, the only Title contender left will start 4th. 96 Ken Schrader, (2)13 Max Papis and 77 Sam Hornish, Jr. failed to qualify. 267 laps around this 1.5 mile track is 400 miles. The 2010 hybrid Ford Fusion is the Pace car. There will be a battle for 10th place and a spot in New York City, as there are only eleven points separating 8th – 11th. There is also the battle to end up in the top 35 in Owner Points to start next year.
So, here we go! 17 Matt Kenseth jumps to second. 44 leads from the pole. 44 and 17 battle for the lead. 17 takes the lead. 99 gets by 44 for second. 29 Kevin Harvick battles 44 for third. 29 takes the spot. 99 catches 17. 99 can’t get by 17 for the lead. 48 is up to 20th from starting 30th. 99 finally takes the lead during the commercial, and gave it back to 17 after leading three laps. 99 takes the lead. 29 gets by 17 for second. 48 battles 41 Reed Sorenson for seventeenth. 48 gets by. This is the last race for Tony Stewart in the 20. He will have his own Team next year. 11 Denny Hamlin gets by 18 Kyle Busch for thirteenth. 41 gets back by 48. Green Flag Pitting begins with 7 Robby Gordon, 48 and 2 Kurt Busch. 29 takes the lead when 99 pits. 88 Dale Earnhardt, Jr. has trouble in the pits. 42 Juan Pablo Montoya leads when 29 pits. 16 Greg Biffle was too fast entering pit road and 2 also. 17 can’t see his pit and has to back up. 99 is back in the lead after the pitting.
17 and 1 Martin Truex, Jr. battle for sixth. 5 Casey Mears and 20 battle for eighth. The first caution comes out on lap 70 for 8 spinning across the track. The sun setting is making it really hard to see. (Isn’t it great to start these races so late that the sun is a factor?) 16 is the first car a lap down. 16 gets ahead of leader 99 to get his lap back. 07 Clint Bowyer took two tires to come out third. 99 puts 16 back a lap down. 88 gets by 42. 88 gets by 48 for eighth. 48 gets by 17 for eleventh. Green Flag Pitting begins again with 20 and 18. 99 finally pits. 70 got into the grass trying to get to pit road. 84 was too fast getting into the pits. 48 is up to ninth.
The second caution comes out on lap 140 for debris. 21 Bill Elliott is the Lucky Dog. Twenty-one cars are on the lead lap. 99 takes two tires and is out first. 88 stalls in the pits. He thought they would take four tires, and wasn’t ready after taking just two. 26 Jamie McMurray gets by 6 David Ragan for third. 2 has a tire rub. The second caution comes out when 2 gets a flat and gets into the wall so he wouldn’t go down the track. He heads for the pits. He was in too early, while the pits were closed, he was too fast entering the pits, he was too fast exiting the pits and he had a cone violation! Four violations in one pit stop! 6 and 18 battle for fourth. 41 and 15 Paul Menard get together. 47, 42 and 44 are three-wide. 42 and 44 battle for position. 20 gets back by 29 for sixth.
The third caution comes out when 47 gets into the wall. 41 was up on top and 47 didn’t know he was there. 41 got into 47 and pushed him into the wall. 16 Greg Biffle is the Lucky Dog. 47 is the only car not on the track. 24 Jeff Gordon stays out to lead. 17 and 44 take two tires to come out second and third. The fourth caution comes out with 89 laps to go. 78 Joe Nemechek hung a left into 31 Jeff Burton, who spins out. 66 Scott Riggs is the Lucky Dog. 48 pits because he didn’t like the last set of tires. He changed the tires in 12.8 seconds! Back to Green, they are three and four wide all over the track. 17 and 24 battle for the lead. 17 takes the lead.
48 gets by 1 for fourteenth. 11 and 24 battle for second. 11 gets by 24. 11 and 24 battle for second. 24 keeps second. 99 catches up with 24 and 11. The fifth caution comes out during the commercial. 41 got into the wall. 48 comes out of the pits leading. 17 and 48 battle for the lead. 2 gets into the wall again and again. The sixth caution comes out for debris from 2. 24 and 29 pit for fuel only. 2 had too many over the wall and gets another pit road penalty. We go Green with 56 to go. 47 is back on the track. 42 gets by 07. 2 heads for the garage. Forty-two cars are on the track. 6 and 44 battle for tenth. 6 gets by. 99 gets by 48 for third. 11 and 99 battle for second. 20 gets by 48 and 99. 11 and 20 battle for second. 20 is catching 17, leading. 20 takes the lead. 88 is pitting. He can’t drive the car. 44 pits for two tires. 88 comes back into the pits. Something is wrong with the car. 16 pits for two tires and fuel. 88 has a broken caliper and goes to the garage. 42 pits from sixth for two tires and fuel. 48 pits for two tires and fuel. 20 and 11 pit for fuel only. 17 is back in the lead. 17 runs out of fuel. 99 runs out of fuel as he crosses the Finish line to win the Ford 400. He won’t have fuel to do a burn out, but he does his back flip. 48 Jimmy Johnson wins the Championship by 69 points over 99 Carl Edwards. He becomes only the second driver to get three in a row. Cale Yarborough accomplished the fete ’76, ’77 and ’78. Jimmy Johnson does it ’06, ’07 and ’08. It took thirty years for someone to do that again.
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