Welcome race fans to the ninth race of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season. This is at Taladega Superspeedway in Taladega, Al. This is a huge 2.66 mile track, and so fast they have to use restrictor-plates on the carburators so that they don’t run at speeds over 200 mph. This is racing at it’s finest with the pack all running three-wide, nose-to-tail most of the 499 miles.
Qualifying was on Saturday with 42 Juan Pablo Montoya earning the pole with a speed of 188.171. 16 Greg Biffle will start second. 82 rookie Scott Speed gets into the race on speed, with part time driver 78 Regan Smith, 87 Joe Nemecheck, 36 Scott Riggs, 71 David Gilliland, 41 Jeremy Mayfield and 13 Max Papis also getting in on time. Failing to make the race were 66 Michael McDowell (Dave Blaney had a family committment) and 4 Eric McClure. The 09 entryof Jim Finch is piloted by rookie Brad Keselowski of the NASCAR Nationwide series and starts ninth. It’s a beautiful sunny day with temperatures in the 80’s.
82 Speed pits before the Green Flag and is held a lap. This is an impound race and no one can make adjustments to their cars before the Green flag. 77 Sam Hornish, Jr. isn’t fealing well and Travis Kvapil is on stand-by if they need him. 9 Kasey Kahne, 19 Elliott Sadler, 12 David Stremme, 43 Reed Sorenson and 44 AJ Almendinger (all Dodges) had to change their engines and will start from the rear. Also to the rear is 7 Robby Gordon who was too low after inspection.
42 Montoya leads from the pole. 11 Denny Hamlin is pushing 88 Dale Earnhardt, Jr. 1 Martin Truex, Jr. pulls out in front of 88. 88 gets back in front of 11. 88 takes the lead with help from 11.42 gets in front of 1 to take the lead. 1 takes the lead with help from 17 Matt Kenseth.
The first caution comes out on lap 7. They were four-wide and 17 got into 24 Jeff Gordon in a retro Pepsi paint scheme. Fourteen cars are involved. 48 defending Champion Jimmy Johnson manages to get by. 20 rookie Joey Logano is leading. After pitting, 39 Ryan Newman is leading. They go Green on lap 14.
88 pushes 1 Martin Truex, Jr. into the lead. 11 pushes 42 into the lead. 2 Kurt Busch takes the lead. 42 is pushing 31 Jeff Burton and 11 pushes 2. 31 Burton takes the lead. 31 is falling back with no volts. He comes in to change batteries, but it gets going and he doesn’t pit. 11 and 31 were banging on each other and wires may have gotten loose.
The second caution comes out on lap 30 for debris. 31 pits to change the battery, but goes three laps down. 18 Kyle Busch gets out of the pits first. They go Green on lap 35. 82 Scott Speed is the Lucky Dog and gets his lap back. 88 pushes 48 and nearly turns him.
The third caution comes out when 55 Michael Waltrip cuts in front of team mate 47 Marcos Ambrose and slides across the track. He doesn’t hit anything. 18, 09 and 48 get fuel only to come out in the lead. 82 Speed stays out to lead, then pits. They hang 09 out to dry. 88 takes the lead with help from 1. 17 takes the lead with help from 11. 88 takes the lead with help from 11. They are now single-file. 48 feals something is loose.
The fourth caution comes out for 2 spinning, much the same as 55 did. Both were a great save as they didn’t hit anything and no one else was involved. 31 Jeff Burton is the Lucky Dog and gets one of his three laps back. 1 is leading. 11 pulls low and 17, 42, and 6 David Ragan follow. 18 is falling back, low on the track. 31 drives by 55. 11 Hamlin takes the lead. 88 takes the lead. 42 takes the lead. 88 takes the lead. 12 David Stremme and 77 follow.
48 is pushing 42 to lead. 48 with help from 88 leave 42 behind. 88 wobbles and then saves it. 88 moves 09 below the double yellow line and 09 falls back. 77 takes the lead.
The fifth caution comes out for debris. 31 Jeff Burton gets another lap back. 11 comes outof the pits first. 18 is still in the pits. 98 Paul Menard stays out to lead. 18 comes back in for repairs. 11 takes the lead. It is a single-file restart, but before too long they are again three-wide. 29 and 24 are back out on the track 56 laps down, battling for 37th. 9 and 44 are many laps down, but racing together.
88 takes the lead with 31 pushing him. 31 is still a lap down. Together they race away. 98 is pitting. (Remember, he stayed out to lead.) 43 Reed Sorenson gets into the wall with a right rear going down. He pits and they stay Green. 20 Logano leads and then drops back. 19 Sadler gets into the wall. 1 takes the lead pushing 31 who is a lap down. 83 Brian Vickers takes the lead. 31 pulls in front of 83.
The sixth caution comes out during the commercial for debris on lap 126. 31 is ahead of the leader and stays on the lead lap. 98 Paul Menard is the Lucky Dog. 99 Carl Edwards stays out to lead, then pits. 09 pushes 19 Sadler into the lead. 19 and 11 pull ahead. 2 takes the lead. 11 pushes 00 David Reutimann and then takes the lead. 07 Casey Mears takes the lead. 88 pushes 31 into the lead. 88 takes the lead in the middle with 2 pushing him.
The seventh caution comes out during the commercial. The shade from a caution light fell off. 88 leads them to the pits. 2 takes fuel only to lead. 43 Reed Sorenson is the Lucky Dog. 17 goes to the middle by himself. 88 pushes 78 Smith. 11 falls back. 1 falls back. 18 Kyle Busch is blocking everyone. He’s three-wide all by himself.
The eighth caution comes out when 31 gets into 18 while he was all over the track, blocking. (Good for Burton.) It will be a single-file restart within 20 laps and 18 has to restart in the rear, after being unable to crank it up and loosing a lap. They restart with 13 to go with 17 Kenseth leading. 11 pushes 39 Newman into the lead.
The ninth caution comes out with nine to go. This was the other big one, taking out ten cars. 17 pits for a flat tire. They restart with four to go, and 39 Newman is leading. 14 Tony Stewart is falling back working with only seven cylinders. 09 Keleslowski pushes 99 Edwards into the lead.88 is pushing 39. 99 blocks 09 and 09 stands his ground, turning 99. 99 flies into 39 and then into the catch fencing.
What a wild ride! 99 hit 39’s windshield, and 39 crossed the finish line in third! 88 goes low to finish second. And 09 rookie Brad Keselowski wins in the James Finch car Mr. Finch bought from Rick Hendrick. Keselowski held his ground and didn’t go below the yellow line, causing 99 to spin. Last time out, Tony Stewart shoved Regan Smith below the yellow line. Regan didn’t stand his ground and passed Stewart below the yellow line for the win. He was relegated to the last car on the lead lap. Today Brad stood his ground and Carl spun in spectacular fashion into Newman and the catch fencing.
Brad Keselowski wins the race as a rookie. It’s his first Cup win and his owner in Nationwide comes up to him in Victory Lane go give him a boot in the rear! All in all, it was a great race. Those who were blocking paid for it. And the rookie didn’t back down or go below the yellow line, but stood his ground to win the race. The rookie beat the veteran at his own game.
Brought to you by Sheila Hawley
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