Race Review: Lifelock 400

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lifelock 400Welcome race fans to the fifteenth race of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Season. The Lifelock 400 at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, MI. This beautiful two-mile track is set in the Irish Hills. The track is wide and massive, so there is plenty of room for the drivers to choose anywhere to race. One of my favorites to watch. With so much room to race, there are few cautions, and lots of racing, including Green Flag Pitting.

Qualifying was on Friday afternoon. 83 Brian Vickers got the pole with a speed of 189.110. 18 Kyle Busch starts second with a speed much slower. Forty-four teams showed up to qualify, so one team went home. In my opinion, one more car on this two-mile track could and should have been done. Just fill the twenty-second row. Anyway, that unlucky driver was Mike Skinner in the #36. Mike is a regular in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, which was in Michigan this weekend.

37 is Tony Raines, 09 is veteran Sterling Marlin, 13 is Max Papis. And in the news is Johnny Benson, defending Truck Champion whose Truck team was disbanded earlier because of lack of Sponsorship. He competed in a super modifieds race on Saturday and was in a horrific crash, landing in the Hospital in critical but stable condition, with broken ribs and more. I sure hope he makes a speedy recovery.

The first race at this track was in 1969 and Cale Yarborough won the race. 24 Jeff Gordon, 77 Sam Hornish, Jr. and 87 Joe Nemecheck had to change engines and they will start from the rear. The pit lights are not working, so the drivers will have to watch out for the flagmen to let them know when pit road is open.

83 doesn’t take right off  when the Green Flag flies and 48 Jimmy Johnson moves to the inside, and they are all bunched up. 18 Kyle Busch leads the first lap. 9 Kasey Kahne gets by 00 David Reutimann for fourth. 2 Kurt Busch and 00 battle for fifth. 24 and 77 battle in the back of the pack for thirty-first. 16 Greg Biffle is up to tenth after starting twentyth. 16 gets by 33 Clint Bowyer for ninth.

48 battles 18 for the lead, and 48 takes the lead. Jimmy has no wins at Michigan. 2 gets by 83 for third. 9 gets by 83 for fourth. 42 Juan Pablo Montoya gets by 83 for fifth. 18 reports a vibration. 20 Joey Logano is stuck in the middle between 12 David Stremme and 26 Jamie McMurray. (And I said there was lots of room!)  20 gets into both of them, gets a tire rub and falls behind both of them. 14 Tony Stewart, who won last week in Pocono, gets by 83. 37 and 87 go to the garage. 13 is one lap down. 11 Denny Hamlin gets by 00 for tenth. 5 Mark Martin gets by 99 Carl Edwards for fifteenth.

48 pulls ahead of second place, 18 by over six seconds. 16 gets by 42 for sixth. 09 and 66 Dave Blaney go to the garage. 43 Reed Sorenson and 77 battle for thirty-first. 2 and 18 battle for second. 2 gets by. The first Green Flag Pitting session begins on lap thirty-nine. 48 stays in the lead the whole time, makes his stop and comes back out still in the lead! 16 and 9 battle for second. 16 takes second. 00 is “Evil loose”. 2 and 14 get by 18. 11 gets loose, but corrects while battling with 2 for eighth. (Good thing the track is wide enough!)

The first caution comes out on lap 72 for debris. 39 Ryan Newman is the Lucky Dog and gets his lap back. Twenty-two cars are on the lead lap, and will Restart double-file. 55 Michael Waltrip stays out and will be waved by to join the pack just before the Restart. 48 is the leader again and chooses the outside to Restart. 6 David Ragan gets loose and almost looses it. 17 Matt Kenseth and 14 battle for sixth. 14 keeps the spot.

99 gets by 88 Dale Earnhardt, Jr. for ninth. 18 gets by 88 for eighth. 88 and 99 battle for ninth and 99 gets the spot. 88 is getting very loose. He has part of the skirting loose and that is messing up the car. 14 and 2 battle for fifth. 88 gets by 18 for eleventh. 99 gets by 2 for sixth. 1 Martin Truex, Jr. gets into the wall and gets Black-Flagged to come in and fix the flapping rear end. 99 gets by 9.

Green Flag Pitting begins again. 99 leads a lap, then pits. When it’s all over, 48 is back in the lead. The second caution comes out during the commercial, again for debris. 00 David Reutimann is the Lucky Dog. The first nine cars stay out – 48, 16, 42, 14, 2, 5, 11, 24 and 99. 17 is out of the pits first in tenth. 99 and 24 battle for eighth. 24 keeps the spot. 5 gets by 42 for third. 26 and 88 battle. 26 gets by. 17 makes an unscheduled pit stop. 11 gets by 42 for fourth. 21 Bill Elliott and 88 battle.

The third caution comes out during the commercial. 12 David Stremme gets loose and slides down the track, into the pit road barrier. 17 Matt Kenseth is the Lucky Dog, and is back on the lead lap. The lead lap cars pit and 16 comes out first to lead. They go Green with 45 to go. 24 and 42 battle. 48 gets by 5 for second. 48 is catching 16, the leader, but 48 is too loose to get by. 48 finally takes the lead. 48 and 16 battle for the lead again. 48 runs out of fuel with one to go. 5 takes the lead when 16 runs out of fuel. 5 runs out of fuel and coasts to the Finish Line to win the Lifelock 400!

Brought to you by Sheila Hawley

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