Race Review: Ford 400

by

Welcome, race fans to the final race of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. The Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway is the final race in the Chase for the Sprint Cup. Jimmy Johnson is going for four Championships in a row. Mark Martin is looking to capture his first Championship after finishing the points in second four times. He would be the oldest Cup Champion. He also is the only driver still in contention to do so.

Eight drivers have won consecutive titles, but none of them have four in a row. Two drivers now have three consecutive titles. Jimmy is a three time Chase winner and in reality, the only Sprint Cup Champion. Johnson has never won at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Traditionally, the track is a Roush track. Can Carl Edwards or Greg Biffle win this one and get one win this year?

Mike Rowe, Ford spokesperson, and Dirty Job host starts the engines. 99 Carl Edwards is the in-race reporter. Robby Gordon is back in his 7 car for the race, starting from the rear, after racing and winning the Baha Championship.

So, here we go! 48 Jimmy Johnson takes off from the pole. 82, started second, but falls way back. 29 Kevin Harvick gets by 5 Mark Martin for third. 47 Marcos Ambrose catches 48. 2 Kurt Busch gets by 44 A. J. Allmendinger for tenth. 47 and 48 battle for the lead. 48 holds him off. 47 finally takes the lead. 47 gets a flat tire and pits. 29 and 14 Tony Stewart battle for second. 29 lets him by. 88 Dale Earnhardt, Jr. is up nineteen position, racing along the outside. 47 is back in the pits and they are changing batteries. 39 Ryan Newman and 2 battle for sixth.

14 takes the lead. 1 Martin Truex, Jr. challenges 42 Juan Pablo Montoya for position. 33 Clint Bowyer gets by 5 for third.  Leader 14 is lapping the field. 88, after starting 32nd, rides the rim into ninth. 2 is now third in points and can spoil the Hendrick 1-2-3. 29 and 33 catch 48 in traffic. 33 and 29 battle for third. 17 Matt Kenseth pits to start Green Flag Pitting. 2 leads a lap, then pits. 33 leads after it all. 29 and 33 battle for the lead. 29 takes the lead. 14 and 33 battle for second, with 14 taking the spot. 48 and 5 battle for fourth. 48 finally gets by. 14 takes the lead on the outside. 5 wiggles on the top. 2 gets by 39 Ryan Newman for ninth. 1 gets by 24 Jeff Gordon on the outside.

The first caution comes out when 47 gets sideways. He doesn’t hit anything, and pits. The officials signal that an extra person is allowed over the wall to work on the windshields. Everyone pits. 82 Scott Speed is the Lucky Dog, and gets his lap back, putting 31 cars on the lead lap. 14 comes out of the pits first and chooses the outside. 29 takes the lead. 33 and 14 battle for second. 42 drives under 14, then under 2 for fourth. 48 and 33 battle for second. 24 is holding up a pack of cars. 42 and 48 battle for third, with 42 getting by. 31 Jeff Burton and 2 get by 48. 42 and 31 battle for second.  11 Denny Hamlin gets by 48 and 33. 88 gets into the wall again.

The second caution comes out when 34 John Andretti gets into the wall. Everyone pits. 29 comes out first and chooses the inside. Six cars take the wave around before the Green Flag. The third caution comes out when 47 gets into the wall. 43 Reed Sorenson is the Lucky Dog and is back on the lead lap. On the restart, 31 spins the tires and 29 takes off. 29 is warned to maintain speed before coming to the Green Flag. 14 and 42 get together.

The fourth caution comes out when 42 gets into the wall after a tire goes down from contact with 14. 48 leads a group including 5 into the pits, but 20 cars stay on the track. There’s a big back up in the pits when 96 Erik Darnell attempts to go to the garage. 7 gets into 96, 98 Paul Menard into 7, 43 into 98, 19 Elliott Sadler into 43, 55 Michael Waltrip into 19. 19 is on fire and 43 has lots of damage. Rookie mistake by 96, I guess. 42 is in the garage for repairs.

39 and 24 battle for sixth. 39, 9 Kasey Kahne and 24 battle three wide with 9 pulling ahead. 2 and 11 battle for second, with 2 getting by. 2 and 29 battle for the lead. 2 takes the lead. 88 runs over something, gets a flat and pits. 5 gets loose in all the traffic around him. 42 is back on the track, 29 laps down.

The fifth caution comes out when 42 bumps 14 hard enough to wrinkle his hood and spins 14. 42 gets Black Flagged with a two lap penalty for rough driving. That will put him 31 laps down. Everyone pits. 11 leads out of the pits, after starting 38th, and chooses the outside. 9 and 48 battle and 99 Carl Edwards makes it three wide. 48 backs out. 99 and 9 battle. 48 gets by 99. 48 and 9 battle for seventh. 31 and 2 battle for second. 48 finally gets by 9. 31 can’t get by 2. 2 catches leader 11. 11 and 2 battle for the lead. 2 can’t get by. 24 and 48 battle, and 48 finally gets by.

2 takes the lead during the commercial. A brake rotor from 42 hit the roof of 9 and made a hole. 31 gets by 11 for second. The sixth caution comes out when 7 gets into the wall. He lost it in the high groove. 88 Dale Earnhardt, Jr. gets the free pass. Everyone pits. 11 comes out first and chooses the outside. 31 takes the lead. 18 moves into second. 48, 24 and 1 are three wide. 48 gets by 24 and 1. 18 and 2 battle for second, with 2 getting by.

The seventh caution comes out and 14 Tony Stewart gets the free pass. 2 takes two tires and comes out first. 55 stays out to lead a lap, and then pits. 2 chooses the outside. 18 pulls away. 11 and 18  battle for the lead. 9 and 99 battle. 24 and 48 battle, with 24 getting by. They battle some more, but 48 can’t get by. 99, 1 and 26 Jamie McMurray battle three wide. 24 gets by 33 for sixth. 5 can’t get by 1.

44 and 33 battle for eighth, with 44 getting by. 33 and 99 battle for ninth. 48 gets by 24 for seventh. 99 finally gets by 33. 31 and 18 battle for second, with 31 getting by. 2 and 18 battle for third, and 2 gets by. 18 brushes the wall. 29 drives by 18 for fourth. 5 is still trying to get by 1. 48 gets by 18 for fifth.

And 11 Denny Hamlin wins the Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Jimmy Johnson becomes the only driver to win four consecutive Championships. He equals team mate Jeff Gordon with four. And Hendrick Motor sports becomes the first owner in the history of NASCAR to have his teams finish 1-2-3. This is also the last year a Waltrip will be racing full time in NASCAR’s top series. Mark Martin finishes second for the fifth time. Lots of history today at this track. A great ending to the NASCAR 2009 Season.

Brought to you by Sheila Hawley

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