NASCAR Race Review: Infineon Raceway

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Welcome NASCAR race fans to my NASCAR blog. For the sixteenth race of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Season, they travel to wine country at Infineon Raceway in Sanoma, CA. for the Toyota/Save Mart 350. This road course is 1.99 miles long and is full of twists and right hand turns. 110 laps is roughly 350 K. For today’s line up there are some foreigners in the field. 26 is road course specialist Boris Said. 09 is Jan Magnussen, a road racer from Denmark. 07, a Robby Gordon car is P. J. Jones (Parnelli, Jr.). 83, in for Brian Vickers who is out for the season with blood clots, is Mattias Ekstrom from Sweden. 02 Brandon Ash, 36 Brian Simo and 55 Michael Waltrip failed to qualify.

Raymond Parks died earlier today 1914 – 2010. He was the owner of the first NASCAR Championship back in 1948 and a pioneer in NASCAR’s history.

I have a question. Since The Chase was started in 2004, has anyone leading the points when the chase started gone on to win the Championship? Perhaps that’s why NASCAR fans object to the chase format. And by the way, to those who say the race doesn’t start at 3:00 ET for races on the West Coast and 1:00 ET for the other races, I say they do, too. The race begins with the opening ceremonies and goes to the post race interviews. The race does not start with the Green Flag. Just saying.

9 Kasey Kahne starts from the pole with a speed of 93.893 mph. Next to him on the front row is 48 Jimmie Johnson. Kasey won this race last year. Jimmie has never won at a road course. Can either of them win this race? One of the things the announcers mentioned to do good at this track is don’t exceed your talent. Fuel mileage is always a part of a road course. And tires are always a concern. 12 Brad Keselowski is here at Infineon Raceway for the first time. This is his first full year in Sprint Cup and Infineon is not a track that the NASCAR Nationwide Series races at. They are in Wisconsin this weekend.

So, here we go! 2 Kurt Busch, 48 and 9 are three wide for the lead. 9 backs out and 48 takes the lead and leads the first lap. 2 gets by 9. They are two by three by two behind the leaders. 39 Ryan Newman bumps 11 Denny Hamlin. 19 Elliott Sadler gets by 98 Paul Menard. 29 Kevin Harvick gets around 9 for third. 47 Marcos Ambrose gets by 24 Jeff Gordon in a turn. 47 gets by 9. 24 gets by 9. 14 Tony Stewart gets by 9. 16 Greg Biffle gets by 9. Our pole sitter is moving back!

The first caution comes out on lap 10. 43 A. J. Allmendinger wheel hops into 33 Clint Bowyer while 18 Kyle Busch gets into 1 Jamie McMurray. 1 and 33 spin off the road. 18 has damage on his nose and heads for the garage. 87 Joe Nemechek, 1 and 33 pitted before pit road was open. 42 Juan Pablo Montoya, 11 and 7 Robby Gordon are three wide. 47 and 48 race for the lead. 17 Matt Kenseth and 11 battle for eighteenth, but 11 can’t get by. 24 and 2 battle for third. 47 pits.

7 and 39 battle for seventh. 16 pits and is caught speeding. 9 gets by 29 for fifth. 71 Bobby Labonte is too fast exiting. 42 passes 24 on pit road. (24’s tachometer reading is off) 48 pits and 14 leads. 11 makes a pit stop. They have damage, but will fix it under yellow. 14 pits and 83 leads. 48 gets by 47 for second.

When 11 pitted, a crew member tapped the hood down. The official tapped it back up to show them it needs attention. Denny takes off and on the track, the hood flies up and onto his windshield! So he drives around the track to the pits without being able to see where he is going!

48 gets by 83 to take the lead. 47 gets around 83 for second. 7 gets by 14 for fourteenth. 18 is back on the track, 33 laps down with a new nose on the car.

The second caution comes out on lap 57 when 66 Dave Blaney gets stuck on the track. 26  leads with 14 and 47 behind him. 47 gets around 14 and 26 to take the lead. 48 gets around 6 David Ragan for fourth. 24 gets into 83 who gets into 6 and 6 spins. 24 spins 56 Martin Truex, Jr.

The third caution comes out when 12 gets loose, goes off the track and ends up in the tires. The fourth caution comes out on lap 66 at the restart. 26 spun the tires and there was a big pile up behind him. Those further back couldn’t see around the corner and they all got into each other. There is a Red Flag for clean up. 77 Sam Hornish, Jr., 78 Regan Smith, 13 Max Papis, 11, 2 and others were involved. 34 Kevin Conway gets the free pass back onto the lead lap.
48 gets by 14 for second. 33 and 31 Jeff Burton get together. 20 Joey Logano gets by 99 Carl Edwards. ( Edwards won the Nationwide race on Saturday in Wisconsin.) 2 drives inside 14 for fifth. 17 is caught speeding on pit road. 42 pits with damage. 48 pits and 47 leads. 47 pits and 33 leads. 47 comes out of the pits ahead of 48 on the track. 19 Elliott Sadler leads, then pits.

The fifth caution comes out when 42 runs over 20, who slides off the track. They raced each other and got together several times before 42 moved 20 out of the way. The Green Flag comes back out with 23 to go. 6 goes off the course. 12 takes the lead, but 47 and 48 get by before he leads the lap. 7 knocks 12 out of the way.

The sixth caution comes out when 83 turns 12. 99 gets into 38 before they throw the caution. 19 and 33 get together and they both spin. 12 spins and 46 J. J. Yeley spins and they finally throw the seventh caution when 12 is putting fluid onto the track. 12 and 38 David Gilliland got together and 19 tagged 46.

While going around the track, 47 who is leading decides to conserve fuel by shutting off the engine. Only he can’t get it going up the hill and five cars get by. NASCAR rules that you must maintain speed and since he stopped, he gets in line behind 9 in sixth. He just lost the race!

They restart with five to go. 2 and 47 go off the track. 47 spins 31 into the grass. 99 spins. 17 can’t stop and gets into 71 who goes off the course and 17 gets into the tires.

48 Jimmie Johnson wins the Toyota/Save Mart 350. This is his fourth win of the season and his 51st career win. This is his first road course win. There were seven different leaders.

Brought to you by Sheila Hawley

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