Welcome race fans. This is the 27th race of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season and the first race in the Chase to the Sprint Cup. The Sylvania 300 takes place at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Lauden, NH. The track is 1.058 miles long and a pretty flat track. Qualifying took place on Friday, with Juan Pablo Montoya grabbing the pole with a record-setting speed of 133.431. Starting second is Tony Stewart. 71 this week is Bobby Labonte. 64 is Mike Wallace. 96 is Aric Darnell. 36 is Michael McDowell. Derrike Cope and Dexter Bean failed to make the race.
As you’ll recall, the points for the top 12, who are in the chase were reset according to wins in the regular season. Some things need to be mentioned before we start. Pat Tryson, crew chief for the 2 of Kurt Busch will be leaving for Michael Waltrip Racing for 2010 and is not allowed into the shop as a result. I guess, so he doesn’t bring any Dodge secrets to Toyota. This makes it very difficult for him to do a good job for Kurt in the chase. 43 Reed Sorenson is odd man out at Richard Petty Motorsports after they signed an agreement with Yates to join forces and drive Fords. Reed is driving without a salary for the rest of the year so his crew will have jobs. 99 Carl Edwards is the in-race reporter.
So, here we go! The Chase begins! 14 Tony Stewart drives on the outside to lead the first lap. 48 Jimmy Johnson, 5 Mark Martin, 39 Ryan Newman and 07 Casey Mears battle each other for eleventh. 42 Juan Pablo Montoya takes the lead and pulls away. 18 Kyle Busch and 29 Kevin Harvick race side by side and 29 finally makes the pass. 48 drives by 18. 11 Denny Hamlin gets by 14 for second. 14 gets back by 11. 00 David Reutimann takes the spot from 18. 39 battles 18 for fourteenth, with 39 finally completing the pass. 2 gets by 11 for third. 5 gets by 18 for fifteenth. 88 Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and 77 Sam Hornish, Jr. race side by side for eighteenth, with 88 finally making the pass.
14 is catching 42 in traffic. 14 takes the lead. 12 David Stremme gets loose off the corner. 99 and 12 battle for sixth. They touch, and 99 gets by. 48 gets by 12 for seventh. 24 Jeff Gordon gets by 2 for third. 11 and 2 battle for fourth, with 11 getting by.
The first caution comes out during the commercial. 9 Kasey Khane is smoking with a blown engine. 6 David Ragan is the Lucky Dog and gets his lap back. 42 comes out of the pits first and chooses the outside for the restart. 11 and 42 battle for the lead. 14 makes it three-wide for the lead. 42 stays in the lead. 48 and 99 battle, with 48 taking the spot. 16 Greg Biffle battles with 18. 31 Jeff Burton gets behind 16 to push him past 18 and then gets by 16.
The second caution comes out during the commercial, again for debris on the track. The leaders stay on the track. 11, coming out of his pit, runs over the right foot of the tire changer for 07 Casey Mears. 42 chooses the inside this time. 2, 14 and 11 get together racing three-wide. 14 falls back. 1 Martin Truex, Jr. and 33 Clint Bowyer battle, with 33 getting by. 24 and 1 get together. 31 gets by 47 Marcos Ambrose for nineteenth. 44 A. J. Allmendinger gets by 18 for twenty-fourth. 2 is catching leader 42. 24 gets by 12 for tenth. 29 Kevin Harvick gets by 18 for twenty-fifth. 42 slips a little and 2 takes the lead during the commercial. 88 drives by 5.
And the third caution comes out again during the commercial. Again for debris. Do you see a pattern here? 11 and 42 race side by side, touching each other for the lead. 11 takes the lead. 11 and 42 battle again for the lead, and 42 takes the lead. 48 gets around 5. The fourth caution comes out during the commercial when 09 Almirola spins into the wall. 2 leaving his pit, as 6 is trying to enter his, spins 6 backward in his pit. 77 goes to the garage. 14 is the leader.
The fifth caution is a big one. 24 brushes the wall and everyone checks up. 20 Joey Logano turns 19 Elliott Sadler, 34 John Andretti gets into 55 Michael Waltrip. There is a chain reaction behind them, involving 7 Robby Gordon and 98 Paul Menard. 2 has damage and is overheating.The leader 14 chooses the inside.
The sixth caution comes out for spinning 31, after 00 got loose and into him. No one hits him, and he continues. 14 and 48 battle for the lead. 48 takes the lead. 42 takes a spot from 39. 88 gets by 14 for second. 42 gets by 11. 48 pulls away. 42 drives under 14.
The seventh caution comes out during the commercial. 12 got into the wall. 44 got loose into 12 and 12 slid into the wall. 14 has a loose axle cap. The top seven drivers stay out. 2 and 5 battle for the lead. 5 finally takes the lead. 48 gets loose into 24. 24 and 88 battle side by side. 14 gets by 83 Brian Vickers. 99 and 39 battle, with 39 getting by. 88 gets by 99. 44 drives under 16. With 58 laps to go, 5 pits to start Green Flag Pitting. 2 leads when 5 pits.11 gets by 31 for second. 11 leads when 2 pits. 5 battles 11 to get back on the lead lap, and gets by. 88 pits from second. 39 leads when 11 pits. 99 leads, then pits. 29 comes back in with a tire rub. They raise the hood to see what is wrong. 47 leads, then pits, as well as 71. 14 leads and pits. After it all, 5 is back in the lead.
The eighth caution comes out with twenty-three to go during the commercial. Again, for debris. 42 got into 31 to get by. The leaders stay out and 5 chooses the outside. The ninth caution comes out when 88 was too high and got into the wall, hard. 00 got loose and into 88 to get him there. 11 smoked his brakes, 00 slammed on his brakes and 88 went spinning into the wall. 5 chooses the outside. 42 gets by 11 and 48 on the bottom. 48 gets by 2.
The tenth caution comes out with seven to go when 47 gets into 44 and 44 spins. 5 chooses the outside for the restart. 42 and 5 are side by side for the lead. 5 finally clears 42. 11 and 42 battle for second. Coming to the Checker Flag, 44 spins and can’t get going. There is smoke and 44 on the track. NASCAR throws the caution as they head for the Finish Line. And 5 Mark Martin wins the Sylvania 300 under caution. No one hits 44, as they slow down to the Finish Line. Mark Martin retains his lead in the chase with his win in the first race.
Brought to you by Sheila Hawley