Race Review: Price Chopper 400

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Welcome race fans to the 29th race of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season and the third race in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. For all you Dale Earnhardt, Jr. fans, Mark Martin knocked him off the provisional pole on Friday with a speed of 175.758. Jr. starts second. The Price Chopper 400 takes place at the Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, Kansas.  Today 25 is Brad Keselowski from the NASCAR Nationwide Series. He’s at a disadvantage against the regular Sprint Cup drivers with his Nationwide pit crew. 21 is former Cup Champion, Bill Elliott. He got in on speed. 09 is Nationwide driver Mike Bliss. 71 is again former Champion Bobby Labonte, who also got in on speed. In Bobby’s 96 car is Erik Darnell. Failing to make the race are 04 David Gilliland in a Robby Gordon car, 37 Kevin Hamlin (he did race in the Nationwide race in Kansas), and 36 Michael McDowell (who also raced in the Nationwide race).

The big issue this week is that 5 Mark Martin and 48 Jimmy Johnson were warned by NASCAR that their cars were awfully close to specks and they may want to be careful not to go over. The teams are giving maximum effort. But just like the drivers are given 5 mph in the pits before they are caught for speeding, if they are over by just a margin, they get a penalty.

So, here we go! 5 Martin leads from the pole. The first caution comes out on lap 2. 20 Joey Logano (who you will recall, barrel rolled in the last race at Dover), gets in the high groove and his back end lets loose. He spins into the infield and no one hits him. 5 chooses the inside for the restart on lap 6. 14 Tony Stewart drives to the apron to make it three wide. And the second caution comes out. This one bigger. 98 Paul Menard gets sideways and spins in the middle of turns 1 and 2. He collects 55 Michael Waltrip, 71 Labonte, 13 Max Papis and 6 David Ragan. 43 Reed Sorenson sneaks by.

88 Earnhardt, Jr takes the lead and 5 falls back. 48 Johnson goes around 24 Jeff Gordon for seventh. 42 Juan Pablo Montoya is moving up the track on the outside. He gets around 24 for eighth. 21 Elliott, 39 Ryan Newman and 43 are three wide. 48 drives by 5 for fourth. 43 and 18 Kyle Busch battle for twenty-second, but 18 can’t get by. 14 gets by 5. 48 takes third from 26 Jamie McMurray. 14 tries, but can’t get by 26. 14 finally gets by 26. 5 drives below 26 to take the spot. 9 Kasey Kahne and 00 David Reutimann battle for seventh, with 00 getting by.

17 Matt Kenseth gets by 42 Juan Pablo Montoya. 00 and 5 battle for fifth with 5 getting by. 14 and 48 battle for third, with 14 keeping the spot. 25 makes a pit stop on lap 53 to start Green Flag Pitting. 14 takes the lead when 88 pits. 17 leads when 14 pits. 99 Carl Edwards leads when 17 pits. 1 Martin Truex, Jr. leads when 99 pits. 88 has a missing lug nut and has to come back in to put it back on. That puts him a lap down. The jack man put the car down before all the lug nuts were on tight. 19 Elliott Sadler leads when 1 pits. 99 is caught speeding and must come back in and make a pass through. 34 John Andretti leads when 19 pits. 25 leads when all the pitting is done. 48 and 25 battle for the lead. 48 takes the lead.

The third caution comes out when 43 is way too high and tags the wall. 19 Elliott Sadler is the Lucky Dog and gets back on the lead lap. Many cars stay out to get the wave around and stay on the lead lap. 39 was too fast and will restart at the end of the lead lap. 16 takes two tires to lead. They restart on lap 75, and 21 can’t get going. 17 and 42 battle for seventh with 42 getting by. 2 Kurt Busch and 25 battle for fourth. 14 gets into the battle. 2 keeps the spot. 88 and 47 Marcos Ambrose battle with 88 getting by. 25 and 2 battle with 14 getting into it. 25 finally gets by 2. 25 and 14 battle for fourth.

99 and 88 battle for thirty-fourth to be the first one a lap down. 14 gets by 2 for fifth. 88 finally gets by 99. 42 gets by 2 for sixth. 14 gets by 25 for fourth. 48 gets by 1 for second. 48 catches leader 16 Greg Biffle. 16, 1 and 2 took two tires to lead the way. 48 and 16 battle for the lead, but 48 can’t get by. (Even with four tires.) 42 gets by 1 for fifth. 16 and 48 battle for the lead again. 48 takes the lead in traffic. He had to go to the bottom to get by 13 Papis and when 16 went back up the track, 48 gets by. 17 gets by 1. 99 gets back by 88. 00 is evil loose. 25 and 42 get together before 42 gets by. 25 pits from fifth to start Green Flag Pitting again.

The fourth caution comes out when 83 Brian Vickers gets up too high and spins into the infield, while 16 is in the pits. 29 Kevin Harvick is the Lucky Dog and is back on the lead lap. The leaders pit. 16 stays out to lead. He chooses the inside for the restart. 48 takes the lead. 42 and 24 battle for third, with 42 making the pass. 14 gets by 11 Denny Hamlin. 18 gets by 5. 17 is pitting with engine trouble. He dropped a valve and goes to the garage.

The fifth caution comes out during the commercial when 19 gets into the wall. 99 Carl Edwards is the Lucky Dog and gets back on the lead lap. 16 takes two tires again with a pit time of 4.7 to come out of the pits first. 7 Robby Gordon, 88 and 96 Darnell get waved around. 14, 11, 5, 24,00, 47 and 07 Casey Mears also take two tires. 48 comes out first with four tires in ninth. 11 gets by 5 for third. 48 is stuck behind all the cars that took two tires. 47 and 48 battle, with 48 getting by. 07 and 00 battle for sixth. 42 gets into the mix with 07 keeping the spot. 14 and 16 battle for the lead, but 14 can’t get by. And they battle some more. 83 says his engine is missing, and he goes three laps down.  88 is pitting. 24 and 9 battle with 9 taking the spot. 16 moves 20 over to lap him again. 31 Jeff Burton gets by 12 David Stremme.

Green Flag Pitting starts once again with 14 leading. 11 leads when 14 pits. 2 leads when 11 pits. After it all, 16 is back in the lead. 42 and 11 battle for sixth, but 42 can’t get by. 48 and 42 battle. 11 gets by 24 for fourth. 42 and 48 battle for sixth. 48 and 24 battle for fifth. 42 makes it three wide, but steps back. 42 makes it four wide to get by 48. 88 has no power and pits. The belt fell off.

The sixth caution comes out for fuel on the track from 88 with 30 to go. 14, 9, 48 take two tires to come out first , second and third. 14 chooses the outside. 16 goes to second at the restart. 12, 47 and 31 are three wide. 2 gets loose off turn 4. 42 and 9 battle. 11 goes to the apron to get by both. 5 gets by 48. (He should have taken four tires.) 24 and 16 battle for second, and 24 gets by. 5 and 00 battle for seventh and 5 gets by. 24 is catching leader 14 with 7 laps to go, but can’t catch him. 99 goes to the apron to get by 2 and 18.

And 14 Tony Stewart wins the Price Chopper 400 at Kansas Speedway. That brings him up a spot in the standings to fourth. 2 looses a spot, to fifth. 24 and 16 gain a spot, while 39 looses two spots. 99 and 9 each gain a spot, while 83 looses two spots.18 and 17 trade places, while 00 and 33 also trade places.

Brought to you by Sheila Hawley

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