NASCAR Race Review: Geico 400

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Welcome NASCAR race fans to my NASCAR blog. The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts the Chase for the Sprint Cup at the ChicagoLand Speedway this year with the Geico 400. Coors Light Pole Qualifying took place on Saturday, with 17 Matt Kenseth capturing the Pole position with a speed of 183.243 mph and 29.469 seconds around this 1.5 mile track just outside of Chicago, in Joliet, IL. 27 Paul Menard starts next to him on the front row. Travis Kvapil, David Starr, Stephen Leicht and Mike Skinner failed to qualify for the race.

The Geico 400 was slated to start on Sunday afternoon, but Mother Nature had other plans. It started raining before any of the festivities could start. And just when the rain let up long enough to get out the blow driers, the rain started again. The race was in a rain delay for most of Sunday and was finally postponed until Monday pretty late Sunday night.

Monday was cloudy, but not much of a chance of rain. Geico insurance is so easy, even a caveman can do it. And the Geico caveman gave the command to start the engines. Because of the rain and no rubber on the track, there will be a competition caution on lap 30 so the teams can check the tires. Should there be a caution before that, the drivers may pit, but may not fuel the cars.

So, here we go! 17 Kenseth leads from the pole. 27 Menard and 22 Kurt Busch race for second with 99 Carl Edwards and 16 Greg Biffle right behind. 22 gets by 27 for second, 16 gets by 99 for fourth. 16 gets by 27 for third. 42 Juan Pablo Montoya and 33 Clint Bowyer get together while racing and 42 and 43 A. J. Allmendinger get by 33. (ESPN has non-stop coverage so there is a little opening to see the race while the commercials are running. They will do this in the second half of the race.)

39 Ryan Newman gets by 99 for fifth. 24 Jeff Gordon drives on the apron to get by 31 Jeff Burton. 24 gets by 4 Kasey Kahne. On lap 30, the competition caution comes out. 34 David Gilliland gets back onto the lead lap. 18 Kyle Busch takes two tires to lead the race and chooses the inside lane for the restart. 17 is beside him. In the pits, 24 had to hesitate for a tire and lost spots. 38 J. J. Yeley stayed out to lead a lap before pitting himself. 17 and 22 race side by side for second. 31 and 39 race side by side and 39 gets by. 99 races with 1 Jamie McMurray and gets by, then gets by 31. 22 races into second, by 17. 16 and 17 race for third and 16 takes the spot. 22 and 18 race for the lead and 22 takes the lead. 56 Martin Truex, Jr. gets sideways. 16 and 18 race for second and 16 gets by. 18 and 17 get together racing for third. 24 gets by 88 Dale Earnhardt, Jr. 4 gets by 56. 17 gets by 18 for third. 27 gets by 18 for fourth.

The second caution comes out during the commercial when 38 gets into the wall. A few drivers had pitted under Green and take the wave around. 32 Mike Bliss gets his lap back. 22 leads. 16 and 17 race for second and 17 gets by. 48 Jimmie Johnson drives under 27. 48 and 16 race for fourth. 27 races with 39. 11 Denny Hamlin has a vibration. 99 drives under 17 for second. 29 Kevin Harvick races 14 Tony Stewart and 29 gets by. 48 gets by 17 for third. 11 makes a pit stop for four tires because of a loose wheel. 14 gets by 29 and 1. 29 drives around 1. 16 gets by 39 and 39 gets back by 16. 18 gets by 16. 99 is catching the leader, 22.

16 gets a flat tire and makes a pit stop. 99 and 22 battle for the lead and 99 takes the lead. 88 gets by 2 Brad Keselowski. 48 drives around 22 for second. 1 and 88 start Green Flag Pitting. 99 pits and 48 leads. 48 pits and 39 leads. After the pitting, 99 is back in the lead. 22 drives by 48 for second, they race side by side and 48 drives under 22. (Here comes the sun.) 16 is back on pit road.

14 drives under 17 for fifth. 18 races with 19 for sixth. 29 takes seventh from 17. The third caution comes out on lap 147 of 267. 31 Jeff Burton is the Lucky Dog. 39 is leading. 47 Bobby Labonte has an engine issue and heads for the garage. 14 and 48 race for second. 1 is up in smoke, bringing out the fourth caution. 24 Jeff Gordon gets back onto the lead lap. 39 and 48 almost stay out, but everyone is pitting, so they come in also. 2 stays out and leads. 48 is first off pit road. 48 takes the lead. 9 Marcos Ambrose scrapes the wall. (The wall saved him from spinning out.) 14 gets by 2 for third.

The fifth caution comes out when 38 again gets into the wall. 17 leads with 14 beside him. 17 and 14 battle for the lead, 17 bobbles and 14 takes the lead. 39 and 17 battle for second with 48 right behind. 39 gets by 17, 48 gets by 17. 88 and 18 race side by side. The sixth caution is for debris, perhaps coming off 22. 4 Kasey Kahne gets his lap back. 56 stays out to lead the way with 17 off pit road first. The Green Flag comes out with 50 laps to go. 17 and 56 race for the lead and 56 stays in the lead. 48 and 14 race for third and 14 keeps the spot. 11 and 16 get together and 11 pits.

88 drives under 33. 56 and 17 race for the lead and this time 17 takes the lead. 14 drives under 56 for second. 88 drives under 22. 29 drives around 27 . 18 and 88 race for ninth. The drivers are saving fuel, as most won’t make it to the Finish Line. 56 takes the lead, but has to pit for fuel. 29 has been saving fuel and now is told to go for it. 18 is out of fuel on the Final lap, as are many others. 38 pushes 17, as he is out of fuel. 17 crosses the Line in eighth, but there is no pushing on the final lap and is scored the first one a lap down int 21st.

14 Tony  Stewart has enough fuel to get him to the Finish Line and wins the Geico 400. Many cars go slowly down pit road, out of fuel and cross the line there. This is Tony’s first win of the season and 40th career win. Kevin Harvick saved enough fuel to finish second, followed by Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Carl Edwards, Brad Keselowski, Kurt Busch, Clint Bowyer, Ryan Newman, Mark Martin and Jimmie Johnson for the top ten. There were ten leaders in this race, with Kurt Busch leading the most laps.

Kevin Harvick takes the points lead. Stewart jumps seven spots into second. Edwards moves up two spots to third. Kurt Busch moves up three spots to fourth. Earnhardt, Jr. jumps five spots into fifth. Keselowski moves up five spots to sixth. Newman falls a spot to seventh. Johnson falls two spots to eighth. Kyle Busch looses eight positions and drops to ninth. Kenseth looses six spots to tenth. Gordon looses eight positions and drops to eleventh. Hamlin stays in twelfth.

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

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