Race Review: Aaron’s 499 at Talladega Superspeedway

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Welcome NASCAR race fans to my NASCAR blog. This week NASCAR Sprint Cup Series is at Talladega Superspeedway in Talladega, AL. All activities were canceled for Saturday because of the threat of severe thunderstorms and tornadoes. Sunday, however is a partly cloudy day and both the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series  and the NASCAR Nationwide Series races will be raced. Because there was no qualifying, they will line up according to owner points, putting 48 Jimmie Johnson on the pole. 17 Matt Kenseth will start with him on the front row. 35 Aric Almirola and 46 Terry Cook did not qualify for the Aaron’s 499. It will be 188 laps for 500 miles. Jamie McMurray is going for three restrictor plate races in a row, since he won the race here last fall and won the Daytona 500. Let’s see if he can do it.

So, here we go! 29 Kevin Harvick pushes 17. 31 Jeff Burton pushes 18 Kyle Busch into the lead. 42 Juan Pablo Montoya and 1 Jamie McMurray drop to the rear of the field. Perhaps so they won’t get collected too early in the race. 11 Denny Hamlin pushes 20 Joey Logano up to sixth, and then in front of 18 to take the lead. 11 and 20 get stuck in the middle and fall back. 29 pushes 17 into the lead in a two car tango. Then 29 takes the lead and 17 pulls in behind 29. 11 pushes 88 Dale Earnhardt, Jr. 11 lets go of 88 and 88 gets behind 11. 19 Elliott Sadler pushes 14 Tony Stewart into the lead. 6 David Ragan takes the  lead during the commercial. 78 Regan Smith pushes 2 Kurt Busch into the lead. 18 pushes 20 into the lead. Joe Gibbs Racing is one-two-three with 20, 18 and 11. 88 pushes 31 into the lead.

The first caution is the competition caution on lap 20, since there was no action on the track on Saturday. 88 is concerned about his brakes. 7 Robby Gordon stays out to lead a lap, and then pits the next time around. That puts 2 in the lead, with 20 pushing him. They replaced a bad spark plug on 9 Kasey Kahne’s car. 18 pushes 83 Brian Vickers into the lead. 55 Michael Waltrip pushes 88 into the lead, lets him go and gets by to lead. 48 pushes 83. 83 pushes 88 to the lead. 18 pushes 31 to the lead after they both dove down past 88 and 83.

48 pushes 18 into the lead. 88 gets caught up on top by himself. 18 pushes 12 Brad Keselowski into the lead. 17, a lap down pushes 31 into the lead. 55 pushes 77 Sam Hornish, Jr. into the lead. 55 lets up and slows up everyone on top. 11 pushes 18 into the lead. 55 pushes 83 into the lead. 88 pushes 48 to the lead and then moves over. 18 pushes 48. 11 pushes 88. Green Flag Pitting begins with nine cars. 47 Marcos Ambrose gets into 12 in the pits. 20 leads, then falls back. 47 is back in the pits with a vibration.

The second caution comes out for 11 spinning into the infield.  He couldn’t save it after 55 bumped into the wall ahead of him. Some drivers get two tires, some get four tires, some get fuel only. 26 David Stremme is the Aaron’s Lucky Dog and gets back onto the lead lap. 5 Mark Martin and 47 make late pits. 17 takes the wave around to get back onto the lead lap. They restart with 2 outside and 18 inside. 31 pushes 24 into the lead. 2 pushes 19 into the lead. 00 David Reutimann leads with help from 71 Bobby Labonte.

The third caution comes out when 36 Johnny Sauter spins. 18 bumped him in the tri-oval to send him spinning. 12 Brad Keselowski gets the free pass onto the lead lap. 24 pushes 00 into the lead. 48 pushes 18 into the lead. 48 gets in front of 43 A. J. Allmendinger, coming up to the lead. 16 Greg Biffle pushes 9 into the lead.

The fourth caution comes out when 78 , with a Hendrick engine, blows up. 47 Marcos Ambrose gets back on the lead lap. 00 pushes 11. 43 pushes 16. 11 takes the lead. 18 pushes 20 into the lead. 20 pulls in front of 00. 00 pulls low and gets stuck in the middle. 31 takes the lead. 88 pushes 83 into the lead. 20 pushes 18 into the lead. 18 pushes 43 into the lead. 16 pushes 48 into the lead. 43 takes the lead, leaving 48 behind.

31 has a vibration. 99 Carl Edwards has had a vibration since getting here on Friday. With 67 to go, they race single file for several laps to catch their breath. 83 is leading. There is a hat on the track as they go to commercial, but NASCAR does not throw a caution. 11 is leading when we get back. 20 pushes 18 into the lead. 83 takes the lead with help from 00. And they are back to three wide racing. 18 jumps ahead of 83 to take the lead.

11 leads with 29 right behind. There have been 75 lead changes so far in the race. 16 pushes 48 and picks up 12. 20 pushes 6  into the lead and 6 pulls ahead of 11 leaving 20 behind. 11 goes around 6. And we come to another round of Green Flag Pitting. 9 couldn’t get into pit road without getting into the commitment cone and has to go around again, loosing a lot of time. 7 and 2 are too fast. 42 takes the lead with help from 1. 1 goes below 83 and gets below the double yellow line. He has to back off and give the spot back. 00 leads. 42 pushes 1 into the lead.

31 is back into the lead. 11 bumps 48, he wiggles but recovers. 9 lost a lap after the pit road miscue. With eighteen to go, they are single file. The fifth caution comes out with twelve laps to go. 00 got into 71 and sent him spinning. 9 Kasey Kahne gets back onto the lead lap. 31, leading, pits,while  1 stays out. The top nine stay out: 1, 42, 16, 6, 43, 29, 99, 00 and 09 Mike Bliss. They restart with nine laps to go. 88 pushes 14 on the bottom.

The sixth caution comes out with six laps to go. 09 gets into 31. He spins down into 24. Here’s what happened. 48 comes down onto 24 and sends 24 below the yellow line. 48, 24 and 31 all loose momentum and 31 gets high in front of 09. There’s not enough room and 31 hits the wall. 09 gets into 9. 31 comes down the track into 24. 82 spins into the infield. 2 Kurt Busch is the Lucky Dog. This will be a Green, White, Checker restart. There can be as many as three Green, White, Checker Flags at the end of each race. 1 chooses the inside, putting 16 behind him. 14 is in front of 88. 1, 16, 42 slide up in front of 14 and 88.

The seventh caution is a big one. 20 turns 39 Ryan Newman while they are four wide. 47, 71, 12, 9, 19, 83, 77 are all involved. 7 Robby Gordon gets back onto the lead lap. This will be the second Green, White Checker restart. 42 pushes 1. The eighth caution comes out before the leader takes the White Flag. 16 was running out of gas and was falling back. 48 tries to get around 16 and 16 gets into 48. 48 spins. 24 Jeff Gordon gets back onto the lead lap.

This third Green, White, Checker restart will be the final one. The race will end under the Green Flag, or the Yellow Flag. 11 pushes 42 while 29 pushes 1. 18 pushes 56 and 56 catches both couples. 56 goes low with29 and 1, but they pull away. 11 and 42 get by 56 and 18. 29 pushes 1 and with the Checkers in sight, 29 gets 1 a little loose to get next to him. And 29 Kevin Harvick wins the Aaron’s 499 by inches ahead of 1 Jamie McMurray. What was great  about it was Jamie didn’t block Kevin, but raced to the Finish Line. Jeff Burton led the most laps,but finished 32nd. There were 88 lead changes among 29 drivers.

Brought to you by Sheila Hawley

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