Welcome NASCAR race fans to my NASCAR blog. This week the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races in the Kobalt Tool 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Ga. The track is 1.54 miles around and they will race for 325 laps, just over 500 miles. 88 Dale Earnhardt, Jr. is on the pole with a speed of 192.761. That’s the fastest any driver has run in the new car. Atlanta Motor Speedway is FAST! Next to him on the front row is 18 Kyle Busch. 09 Aric Almirola, 46 Terry Cook and 90 Casey Mears failed to qualify for the race.
16 Greg Biffle crashed into the wall in practice and had to go to a back-up car. He will start from the rear. Both Stewart-Haas Racing cars, 14 Tony Stewart and 39 Ryan Newman, changed the engine and both will be starting from the rear.
So, here we go! 88 chooses the inside, but 18 gets a better run and leads the first lap. The first caution comes out on lap 5 when 7 Robby Gordon blows a tire and crashes into the wall, leaving long black marks on the track. Cars in the rear of the field pit.
18 chooses the outside for the restart, since it worked out for him at the start. 48 Jimmy Johnson is up ten spots from starting 16th, into sixth. 9 Kasey Kahne takes second from 88. 42 Juan Pablo Montoya goes high to get around 88 for third. 9 comes on 18 on the top. 18 goes up to block, so 9 goes to the bottom to take the lead. 42 goes high to get by 18 for second. 33 Clint Bowyer has a flat tire and makes a pit stop. 5 Mark Martin falls from starting fourth all the way back to 30th. 77 Sam Hornish, Jr. won’t let 16 Greg Biffle by. 11 Denny Hamlin, 48 and 88 are three-wide. 48 backs off and 11 gets by 88. 6 David Ragan brushes the wall. 2 gets by 6, and 83 Brian Vickers gets by 6.
The second caution comes out on lap 35 when 6 blows the right front tire and gets into the wall. 13 Max Papis gets the free pass back onto the lead lap. 48 gets stuck behind 38 David Gilliland in the pits and has to back up to get out. 9 comes out of the pits first and chooses the outside.
The third caution comes out at the restart when 12 Brad Keselowski clips 99 Carl Edwards. 99 came down on 12 and 12 stayed where he was, they touch and 99 goes up into 20 Joey Logano and then into the wall. 33 Clint Bowyer gets the free pass, and back on the lead lap. 42 drives by 88. 24 Jeff Gordon and 2 Kurt Busch battle, with 24 getting by.
9 catches 18 and takes the lead. 42 drives by 18 for second. 16 and 39 battle side by side, but 16 can’t get by. 24 and 88 battle for fourth, with 24 taking the position. 11 drives past 18. 2 and 24 battle for third. 2 gets by. 43 A. J. Allmendinger gets by 1 Jamie McMurray and then 39. 14 Tony Stewart gets by 18 for seventh. 11 and 2 battle for third with 11 getting by. 11 and 42 battle for second and 11 takes the spot. 83 gets by 18 for eighth. 48 gets by 18. 16 gets by 18.
The fourth caution comes out during the commercial. 33, trying not to get lapped, gets into the wall. The caution is for debris and 33 gets the free pass. 18 pitted before the caution, and will get the wave around. 9 had a hard time getting out of the pits behind 48. 88 threads the needle between 11 and 14 for the position. 9 gets by 11 and 14. 88 and 42 battle for second, with 42 getting by. 24 gets by 88. 16 and 43 battle back and forth for tenth. 39 and 18 battle for 24th. 42 catches leader 2. 88 is pitting with what he thinks is a loose wheel.
The fifth caution comes out when 5 Mark Martin cuts a tire and slides through the grass, but saves the car. 71 Bobby Labonte gets the free pass. 88 takes the wave around. 38 stays out to lead, then pits to avoid 48 in the pits. 42 and 2 battle for the lead but 42 can’t get by. 24 and 17 Matt Kenseth battle for fifth. 11 and 42 battle for second, with 11 taking the spot. 24 and 48 battle for sixth, with 48 getting by. 16 is up to ninth after starting 41st. 14 is up to eleventh from 43rd. 11 and 2 battle for the lead. 16 and 43 battle. 11 and 2 battle again for the lead, and 11 takes the lead. 43 finally gets by 16. 24 and 88 are having tire woes and pit. 24 was too fast.
The sixth caution comes out for debris after 20 blows a tire and gets into the wall. 78 Regan Smith gets the free pass. 11 chooses the inside and they get the Green Flag on lap 165. 17 can’t get by 42 for third. 00 David Reutimann goes to the apron and pits. He is down a cylinder or dropped a valve. 9 gets by 17 for fourth. 2 is right there behind leader 11. 42 drives around 2 and then takes the lead. 9 gets by 11 for second. 9 takes the lead from 42.
16 and 43 are battling again, with 16 getting by. 14 is pitting from sixth place. 99 is back on the track. 48 has a vibration and pits. 88 also pits. 42 and 2 battle for third. 24 is off the pace and pits. 12 pits from sixth. 77 Sam Hornish, Jr. gets by 42 for fourth. And Green Flag Pitting starts. 9 pits and 11 leads. 31 Jeff Burton leads when 11 pits. 21 Bill Elliott (“Atlanta’s son”) leads when 31 pits. After it all, 9 is back into the lead. 31 was too fast entering. He had no brakes.
The seventh caution is for debris. 1 Jamie McMurray gets the free pass onto the lead lap. 38 stays out again to lead before pitting. 9 comes out of the pits first and chooses the inside. 2 takes the lead. 11 and 48 battle for third. 9 catches leader 2, they battle for the lead, but 9 can’t get by. 9 takes the lead during the commercial. 77 is having ignition problems. 98 Paul Menard gets by 56 Martin Truex, Jr. for tenth. 48 and 2 battle for second. 48 gets loose.
11 pits from the fourth position. 88 gets sideways. And Green Flag Pitting begins again. 21 has to come back in for a missing lug nut. 31 was again too fast entering the pits. 11 and 2 battle in traffic for the lead. 9 gets by 2 for second and catches leader 11. 9 takes the lead.
The eighth caution comes out during the commercial for debris when 11 cuts a tire. 48 slides out of his stall and has to back up. 47 Marcos Ambrose had a commitment cone issue. 2 chooses the inside and they go Green with 33 to go. 19 Elliott Sadler and 13 Max Papis get together at the restart and they finally throw the ninth caution for debris. 5 Mark Martin gets back on the lead lap. 48 pits from sixth with something rubbing the right front tire. He got into 39 who was on the outside and didn’t see him there.
17 can’t get by 2 for the lead. 31, 1 and 14 are three wide, with 29 getting into the mix. 14 pits for a right front tire. 17 and 42 battle for second, with 42 getting by. 9 and 17 battle for third. 9 finally gets by. 17 and 12 battle and 12 gets by. 43 and 17 battle for fourth. 42 is catching leader 2.
The tenth caution comes out with six laps to go. 99, 156 laps down, plows into 12 and sends him up into the air near the wall. Edwards gets parked for rough driving and goes the wrong way up pit road on his way to the garage. 11 Denny Hamlin gets back on the lead lap and everyone pits. 33 chooses the outside for the first Green, White, Checker attempt. 33, 2, 98 all go for the lead. 2 takes the lead.
The eleventh caution comes out before the White Flag. 1 tries to block 9, gets into 33 and everyone behind them. Collected are 5, 11, 18, 38 and 56. 26 cars are on the lead lap. 39 gets back on the lead lap. (I thought there was no Luck Dog with less than ten laps to go.) 2 chooses the inside for the second attempt at the Green, White Checker finish. 17 gets by 98 into second. 42 and 9 get by 98.
And 2 Kurt Busch wins the Kobalt Tools 500. They ran 341 laps with the race scheduled for 325. Thirteen different drivers led laps. Kurt won the spring race at Atlanta Motor Speedway last year also.
Brought to you by Sheila Hawley
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