NASCAR Race Review: Irwin Tools Night Race

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Welcome NASCAR race fans to my NASCAR blog. The twenty-fourth race of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series was the Irwin Tools Night Race at the Bristol Motor Speedway, the world’s fastest half mile. I want to apologize for being late with the review. It was Championship night at my local track, so I taped the race. Then Irene came along and the cable went out on Sunday, so I watched the tape of the race. Coverage was lousy on ABC, but the racing was great.

39 Ryan Newman captured the Pole position on Friday with a speed of 122.811 mph and 15.624 seconds around this .533 mile track. This was his third Bristol Pole and his 48th career Pole! 99 Carl Edwards starts next to him on the front row. NASCAR has been racing in Bristol, TN. for fifty years! This is their Golden Anniversary. 1961-2011. T. J. Bell, J. J. Yeley and Jeff Green failed to make the race.

So, here we go! 39 Newman leads from the pole. 24 Jeff Gordon gets by 99 for second. After a few laps, 24 and 39 battle for the lead and 24 takes the lead. 99 gets by 39 for second. 20 Joey Logano, 33 Clint Bowyer and 9 Marcos Ambrose race each other for position. 2 Brad Keselowski gets by 1 Jamie McMurray. 22 Kurt Busch drives under 1 but 1 fights back. 33 and 20 get together and the first caution comes out on lap 32 for debris in Turn 1. The leader 24 pits but 2 and 17 Matt Kenseth stay out to lead. The top ten did not make a pit stop.

2 and 17 race side by side for the lead and 17 takes the lead. They both slide. 48 Jimmie Johnson and 2 race for second and 48 takes the position. 16 Greg Biffle and 56 Martin Truex, Jr. get together. 2 drives under 48. 29 Kevin Harvick and 18 Kyle Busch race side by side and 29 gets by. 00 David Reutimann, 56 and 5 Mark Martin get by 18. 9 Marcos Ambrose and 18 race side by side and 9 finally gets by 18.

The second caution is also for debris. 48 and 2 come out of the pits first. 17 has trouble coming out of his pit stall and almost gets into 99. At the restart, 48 takes off. 22 was caught speeding. 16 has a vibration and thinks he has a tire going down. He makes a pit stop.

The third caution comes out when 38 Travis Kvapil blows the engine. 51 Mike Bliss gets back onto the lead lap. 48 and 24 battle for the lead and 48 keeps the lead. 39, 2 and 18 battle for position. 27 Paul Menard makes a pit stop and starts Green Flag Pitting. 17 pits and 24 leads. (ABC, doing the broadcast, does not have the ticker going at the top of the screen, so I’m not sure who all leads while the pitting is going on.) 20 leads, then pits. 95 David Starr leads and nearly hits the commitment cone when he makes his pit stop. After it all, 17 is back in the lead.

17 and 24 race side by side for the lead with 29 trying not to go a lap down. 24 takes the lead. 27 has a tire rub. 29 goes two laps down. 00  and 30 David Stremme get together when 00 gets a little loose. 30 doesn’t like that and spins 00, bringing out the fourth caution. Behind them, 11 Denny Hamlin and 27 spin together. 11 slowed for 00, 27 didn’t see it happening. 88 Dale Earnhardt, Jr. gets back onto the lead lap. 00 comes to pit road and leaves fluid on pit road. They can’t open pit road until it is cleaned up. The drivers take this time to talk strategy with their crew chiefs.

17 and 24 come out first. 99 races side by side with 48 for fourth. 48 makes the pass. 20 drives under 99. 22 was caught speeding again. 56 and 43 A. J. Allmendinger race each other with 18. 17 and 1 battle for the lead. 17 keeps it. 24 gets by 1 for second. 24 takes the lead. 2 and 48 battle for fourth. 48 keeps the position. 56 and 9 race for position and 56 gets the spot.

83 Brian Vickers and 5 get together and 5 spins into the inside wall. He goes back up the track and hits the outside wall, bringing out the fifth caution. At the restart 48 spins his tires. 17 and 24 battle for the lead and 24 takes the lead. 2 and 17 race for second. 48 races with 1. 2 gets by 17. 48 gets by 1. 18 drives between 32 Terry Labonte and 56, getting into both and then the wall, bringing out the sixth caution. 47 Bobby Labonte gets back onto the lead lap. 56 and 2 take two tires to get off pit road first.

2 takes the lead and races away. 1 and 39 race side by side; 24 and 48 race side by side. 39 gets by 1. 24 gets by 48. 24 slides in front of 17 , 17 and 48 race each other for third. 48 and 1 race each other for fourth.  (Tell me there is no action on the new track! There just is more room to race without all the crashing.) 24 tries to take second from 56 but 56 is strong on top and 24 can’t make the pass. 11 gets into 99 to get by. 20 and 31 Jeff Burton battle for position. 24 tries again to get by 56.

And 2 Brad Keselowski wins the Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway, his third win this year. The Blue Deuce wins again at Bristol. Brad takes the American Flag and burns out against the wall. Gordon couldn’t get by Truex and had to settle for third. Johnson finished fourth, followed by McMurray, and Kenseth. Hamlin rallied for seventh followed by Newman, Edwards and Ambrose for the top ten. There were nine leaders, although I never saw Kyle Busch leading. Jeff Gordon led the most laps. In points, Busch and Johnson are tied for the lead with 830 points each. Kenseth moves up two spots into third. Edwards stays in fourth while Harvick drops two spots to fifth. Gordon, Newman, Kurt Busch, Earnhardt, Jr. and Tony Stewart complete the top ten.

Brought to you by Sheila Hawley. I love NASCAR racing.

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