Race Review: Chevy Rock & Roll 400

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vn.RICHMOND-overview_418Welcome, race fans, to the final race of the regular NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. The Chevy Rock & Roll 400 will determine who will race in the Chase For The Sprint Cup. Richmond International Raceway, in Richmond, Va., hosts this final event. And, in my opinion, this .75 mile track is the perfect place for such an event. Since The Chase for the Championship began in 2004, this one race determines who is in and who is out. According to NASCAR News, there are 11 drivers vying for 8 spots. 11th in points is 16 Greg Biffle. 12th is 17 Matt Kenseth. 13th is 83 Brian Vickers. And in 14th is 18 Kyle Busch. The race should be exciting and entertaining. RIR is a neat little track with room to pass.

5 Mark Martin is on the pole with a speed of 126.808. Beside him, on the front row is 1 Martin Truex, Jr. 09 is NASCAR Nationwide driver, Brad Keselowski. 7 is David Gilliland. Owner/Driver, Robby Gordon is off racing in an off-road event. 71 this time is Mike Bliss. 36 is Michael McDowell. Only one driver had to go home. In my opinion, all 44 entries should have raced. The 22nd row should have been filled. But I don’t make the rules. That one driver was 37 Tony Raines.

9 Kasey Kahne is the in-race reporter. Just before the festivities began, there was a sprinkle. But the driers come on the track and there is not much of a delay before the race starts. Although, the dryers blew the rubber off the track, so the outside groove will have to wait awhile to come into play.

So, here we go. 5 Martin leads from the pole. And the first caution comes out before the completion of the second lap. 17 Kenseth doesn’t have a very fast car, so he makes a pit stop. 24 Jeff Gordon gets by 48 Jimmy Johnson. 9 Khane and 48 battle, with 9 getting by. 2 Kurt Busch gets by 83 Vickers for ninth. 29 Kevin Harvick finally gets by 12 David Stremme. 2 gets by 18 Kyle Busch. 2 gets by 48 for sixth.

The second caution comes out when 14 Tony Stewart and 43 Reed Sorenson spin together. Tony says it was his fault. 14 made it three-wide with 12 and 43 and got loose into 43. 6 David Ragan is the Lucky Dog and gets his lap back. The top five out of the pits are 11 Denny Hamlin, 24, 5, 2 and 1. 88 Dale Earnhardt, Jr. gets by 18. 29 and 18 battle. 24 is all over the back end of leader 11. 26 Jamie McMurray and 47 Marcos Ambrose get together.

The third caution comes out for 78 Regan Smith stopped on the track. 43 Reed Sorenson is the Lucky Dog and is back on the lead lap. 88 gets by 5 for fourth. 24 and 11 battle for the lead. 24 takes the lead. 11 comes back to battle 24 for the lead, but 24 keeps it. They battle some more, but 24 stays in the lead. 83 and 18 battle and 83 gets by.

The fourth caution comes out for debris. 17 was seconds away from going a lap down. He misses his pit and has to back up. 24 retains the lead. 83 and 9 get together. 2 and 5 battle with 5 getting by. 88 and 9 battle. And the fifth caution comes out. Again for debris. 17 stays on the lead lap again. 7 David Gilliland gets the free pass. 6 turns 09 in the pits and 09 makes his stop backwards in his pit. 99 Carl Edwards has a miss in his engine. 42 Juan Pablo Montoya looses eight positions in the pits. 24 chooses the inside for the restart. 11 drives into the corner to take the lead. 44 A. J. Allmendinger, 9 and 99 are three-wide. 24 is all over the back of leader 11. 24 takes the lead. 24 and 11 battle for the lead, and 11 takes the lead. They battle for the lead some more.

The sixth caution comes out when 78 blows a tire. They speculate that the brakes were overheating the tires. 24 leads them to the pits. 11 comes out first. 48 and 2 battle for fourth, with 2 taking the spot. 33 Clint Bowyer gets by 18 for eighth. 11 puts 88 a lap down. 48 and 18 battle with 18 taking the spot.

The seventh caution comes out when 1 gets into the wall. The caution is for debris on the track. 7 David Gilliland is again the Lucky Dog. 1 goes to the garage. 17 makes more changes. His front tire changer takes the lugs out of the rear tire while they make the changes to the right rear. Great team work. 48 won’t let 18 by. 18 finally gets by 48. 83 gets by 42. 20 Joey Logano, 31 Jeff Burton and 14  are three-wide. 00 David Reutimann bumps 31. 12 gets his pipe into 31’s tire and 31 blows the tire.

The eighth caution comes out for debris from 31’s blown tire. 31 Jeff Burton is the Lucky Dog and will get back on the lead lap. The caution was for debris, not because 31 wrecked. They restart with 75 to go. 33 dives below leader 11, 11 blocks and 33 gets into 24, who looses spots.

The ninth caution comes out when 55 Michael Waltrip slides into the grass. He stayed out to lead a lap, but he is just getting into the way. 88 Dale Earnhardt, Jr. is the Lucky Dog and gets back on the lead lap. 33 and 18 battle. 2 gets by 18. 18 and 83 (the two of them trying to get into the Chase) for fifth. 83 gets by. 24 and 18 battle, and 24 gets by. 18 and 48 battle, and 48 gets by. 14 gets by team mate, 39 Ryan Newman. 48 and 18 battle side by side and 18 gets by. 83 gets by 33 for fourth. 29 and 48 battle, with 29 getting by. 11 the leader is in heavy traffic. And they go to a commercial.

The tenth caution comes out during the commercial. 09 blows an engine. In the pits, 14 comes out of his pit and gets into the tire carrier of the 00 team and the tire gets loose and rolls down pit road. The tire carrier is not hurt. 17 and others take the wave around to stay on the lead lap. 11 chooses the inside. 5 spins his tires and 2 gets by. 24 and 18 battle. 83 and 77 battle. 24 gets by 18 and then by 5 for third. 83 and 77 are still battling. 83 finally gets by.

And 11 Denny Hamlin finally wins on his home track. 18 Kyle Busch misses out on the Chase by 8 points. 83 Brian Vickers makes it into the Chase. 17 Matt Kenseth finishes in 25th and is now fourteenth in points. Denny does burn outs all around the track so all his fans can see them. He had all his “lucky stuff” from his Pocono win with him for this race. And they worked.

So, now The Chase for the Sprint Cup is set with 5 Mark Martin on top with his four wins.

  1. 5 Mark Martin  4 wins
  2. 14 Tony Stewart  3 wins
  3. 48 Jimmy Johnson  3 wins
  4. 11 Denny Hamlin  2 wins
  5. 9 Kasey Kahne  2 wins
  6. 24 Jeff Gordon  1 win
  7. 2 Kurt Busch  1 win
  8. 83 Brian Vickers  1 win
  9. 99 Carl Edwards  0 wins
  10. 39 Ryan Newman  0 wins
  11. 42 Juan Pablo Montoya  o wins
  12. 16 Greg Biffle  0 wins

Brought to you by Sheila Hawley

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