Welcome NASCAR fans to the second race of the 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season. The Auto Club 500 takes place at the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. This is a two mile nearly flat D-shaped oval. Weather has been a factor this weekend, but none of the racing needed to be canceled.
Qualifying took place on Friday with Daytona 500 Champion, #1 Jamie McMurray grabbing the pole with a speed of 183.744. Team mate, #42 Juan Pablo Montoya starts with him on the front row. Some notables: 36 is Mike Bliss, 09 Aric Almirola, 55 Michael McDowell, 37 Kevin Conway, 34 Travis Kvapil and 38 David Gilliland. 35 Johnny Sauter, 46 Terry Cook and 90 Casey Mears failed to make the race. Former champion crew chief, Todd Parrott is the interim crew chief for 17 Matt Kenseth. 11 Denny Hamlin changed the engine after qualifying, and will start from the rear.
So, here we go. 09 Almirola pits and they raise the hood and send him back out before the Green Flag is thrown. 42 gets a good run on the top of the track to lead the first lap. 1, 48 Jimmy Johnson and 29 Kevin Harvick are three wide, with 1 staying ahead of 48 and 29. 29 pulls ahead of 48. 18 Kyle Busch can’t get by 48 and tucks in behind him. 5 Mark Martin gets by 18. 1 slips back to fifth. 48 gets by 9 Kasey Kahne, who started fourth. 1 falls back to eleventh. 14 Tony Stewart scrapes the wall. 29 and 18 battle for fourth, with 29 getting by.
83 Brian Vickers and 31 Jeff Burton battle for seventh. 87 Joe Nemechek goes to the garage. 42 and 48 battle for the lead. And 48 takes the lead. 83 and 9 battle for seventh. Green Flag Pitting begins with 16 Greg Biffle and team mate, 6 David Ragan. 09 and 26 Boris Said head for the garage. 83 leads, as does 66 Dave Blaney. After it all, 48 is back in the lead. 31 gets by 24 Jeff Gordon. 56 Martin Truex, Jr. slaps the wall. 9 gets loose and touches the wall when his back end swings out. 29 is catching leader 48.
The first caution comes out during the commercial for debris after 29 took the lead. 29 leads them into the pits. 43 A. J. Allmendinger is the Lucky Dog, and gets his lap back. 00 David Reutimann had gotten into the wall. 34 Travis Kvapil, 13 Max Papis and 26 Boris Said get the wave around to stay on the lead lap, but they cannot pit.
48 comes out of the pits first. 29 takes the lead after the restart. 56 is limping off the track. He lost power. 17 Matt Kenseth drives up the middle. 16 sends 24 up the track. 29 and 48 battle for the lead. 42 gets by 83 for fifth. 83 gets back by 42. 48 and 29 are still battling for the lead. (This battling for the lead lap after lap is why I love NASCAR so much.) 48 takes the lead, they battle some more and 29 takes the lead. 48 takes the lead.
The second caution comes out when 9 drives under 42 and looses it to spin into the infield. There is damage to his splitter on the right side and they pit to get rid of all the grass. They exit the pits before the pace car comes by. 48 is first out of the pits. 29, 42 and 31 are caught speeding. 34 and 13 get the wave around.
5 Mark Martin and 48 battle for the lead, and 5 takes the lead. 17 gets by 83 for third. 77 Sam Hornish, Jr. gets loose in front of 88 Dale Earnhardt, Jr. 48 takes the lead back. 20 Joey Logano can’t get by 14. 33 Clint Bowyer jumps below 39 Ryan Newman. 16 gets by 83 and 17. 17 gets by 83. 2 Kurt Busch and 24 battle for eleventh. 31 and 24 battle for ninth. 17 gets junk on his grill and is overheating.
Green Flag Pitting starts with team mates, 16, 17 and 99 Carl Edwards. 2 leads. 88 is too fast exiting the pits. He will have to come back in. The second caution comes out during the commercial. 42 blows up. Statistic: The leader of the first lap has never won the race. 42 led the first lap. 6 David Ragan is the Lucky Dog and is back on the lead lap. 48 and 16 take two tires to come out first and second. 88 and 38 take the wave around. 24, 39, 2, 77 and 11 stay out. 24 and 77 battle for the lead.
The fourth caution comes out when 39 blows up. He missed a gear on the restart. 00 gets into the wall. 24 and 31 battle for the lead. 31 takes the lead. 18 takes the lead. 5 and 17 battle for sixth, with 5 getting by. 83 gets by 99 and then by 20. 24 gets by 48. 48 and 5 battle. 29 gets by 16 for eleventh. 31 catches leader, 18. 31 takes the lead. 5 goes to the apron to get by 48. 1 gets loose and into 00 but saves it.
33 gets by 24 for third. 24 thinks he is blowing up and pits, taking scuffed tires. 77 and 2 need fuel. 83 gets by 48 for eighth. 48 and 18 make pit stops. 33 takes the lead when 31 pits. 88 pits, spins the tires trying to exit and brakes the axle. 77 is too fast entering and will have to come back in. 5 leads when 33 pits. 83 leads when 5 pits. 11 leads when 83 pits.
The fifth caution comes out during the commercial for rain on part of the track. 11 has to pit for fuel. 82 Scott Speed, also low on fuel, takes the lead under caution. 82 pits with one to go back to Green. 7 Robby Gordon takes the wave around. 31 chooses the outside. The restart gets waved off one more lap. They are six wide back there in the pack! 11 moves 99 out of the way and gets a flat tire, spins and heads for the pits. They stay Green. 33 gets by 18 for third. 48 nearly gets into 29. He saves it and they both race on. 83, 00 and 1 are three wide. 5 gets by 33 for second. 33 has trash on his grill and is overheating, with steam coming from the overflow.
12 Brad Keselowski and 00 get together. 16 gets into 20. 24 lost a cylinder. 29 gets by 5 for second. 24 pits with an ailing engine. 77 is pitting. 48, 18 and 16 are pitting as the sixth caution comes out for spinning 12. His front tire is flat. 33 Clint Bowyer is the Lucky Dog and gets back on the lead lap. 48, who pitted before the caution and the pits were closed, gets out of the pits before leader 31 gets to the line and stays on the lead lap. 16 and 18 didn’t make it out on time and fall behind the field. 48 stays out to lead. 11 gets the wave around, but pits and gets the Black Flag. Those waved around cannot make a pit stop after being waved around. 7 has no power and coasts into the pits.
82 and 83 battle for ninth. 29 and 31 battle for second. 31 can’t get by. 31 and 29 battle for second some more, but 31 still can’t get by. 29 is catching 48, along with 31. 29 gets into the wall when 48 comes up the track to block. 29 and 31 race for second, and 31 can’t get by.
And 48 Jimmy Johnson wins the Auto Club 500. The fall race here is Jimmy’s specialty. Today he wins in February. No Green, White, Checker Finish, but great racing to the Finish. 5 Martin finishes fourth, while 20 Logano comes in fifth. The rest of the top ten are sixth, 2 Ku. Busch, 17 Kenseth, 33 Bowyer, 14 Stewart and 16 Biffle.
Brought to you by Sheila Hawley
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