Welcome NASCAR race fans to my NASCAR blog. The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series raced the Good Sam Club 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on Sunday afternoon. A moment of silence was given for Dan Wheldon, Indy 500 winner and IRL champion who died in a crash last week in Las Vegas. The drivers all have stickers on their cars in his memory.
5 Mark Martin sits on the Pole after qualifying on Saturday with a speed of 181.367 mph and 52.799 seconds around this massive 2.66 mile fast track. Team mate, 48 Jimmie Johnson starts next to him on the front row. Racing at this track has been traditionally one large pack of racing, three wide, several deep. These days, however, they race with a partner because the drivers have figured out they can go faster two by two. Some like it, some don’t. The big pack racing makes for “The Big One” crashes. (I’ve heard fans say they were going to tape the race and watch the crashing!)
NASCAR gave the cars a bigger restrictor-plate and a pressure relief valve. This is supposed to make the cars heat up faster to discourage the “tandem” racing. And they will not be able to grease the bumpers to make them more slippery for this kind of racing. But the drivers will race which ever way that they can go fastest. 48 had a flat tire when they got to the track Sunday morning! They were allowed to change that tire without any penalties. This being an impound race, no adjustments were to be made.
So, here we go! 5 hooks up to 24 Jeff Gordon and they drop to the rear together. 88 Dale Earnhardt, Jr. pushes 48 to the lead. 14 Tony Stewart pushes 39 Ryan Newman into the lead. 17 Matt Kenseth pushes 6 David Ragan into the lead. They trade places and 17 leads. 33 Clint Bowyer pushes 31 Jeff Burton into the lead. 6 pushes 17 into the lead. 31 and 33 race 1 Jamie McMurray and 42 Juan Pablo Montoya for the lead and 1 takes the lead. 39 with 14 pushing, takes the lead. 11 Denny Hamlin is the odd man out in this 43 car field and gets lapped. 27 Paul Menard pushes 29 Kevin Harvick into the lead.
The first caution comes out during the commercial for debris. 11 Denny Hamlin gets back onto the lead lap. They all make pit stops. 4 Kasey Kahne and 29 come out first to lead and their partners 83 Brian Vickers and 27 line up behind them. 4 leads, 29 takes the lead and 33 with 31 pushing leads. 20 Joey Logano pushes 18 Kyle Busch into the lead. 17 with 6 take the lead. 18 with 20 takes the lead. 78 Regan Smith hooks up with 22 Kurt Busch who had no partner after the reset. 7 Robby Gordon hooks up with 21 Trevor Bayne. 14 with 39 take the lead. 33 with 31 take the lead. 42 with 1 takes the lead. 39 and 14 switch places so 14 can lead and nearly gets into 17. 6 comes off 17’s bumper so he could slow down.
Green Flag Pitting starts and 18 and 20 head for the pits. 18 is going too fast entering and spins 20, who gets back onto the track and then brings out the second caution when the tire blows. 18 doesn’t slow in the pits before the caution came out and gets a penalty. 4 Kasey Kahne gets his lap back. The others who pitted during Green get waved around to be on the lead lap. 9 Marcos Ambrose leads. 33 with 31 leads. 48 pushes 88 into the lead. (And the crowd roars.) 1 with 42 pushing takes the lead.
56 Martin Truex, Jr. pushing 00 David Reutimann, get separated and 00 gets a little too close to 39 and 14. 39 goes off spinning, bringing out the third caution. 34 David Gilliland takes the lead with 38 Travis Kvapil pushing. 1 with 42 takes the lead. 18 and 11 hook up together and 18 takes the lead. 14 hooks up with 20. 17 and 6 take the lead. 1 and 42 take the lead. 31 and 33 take the lead. 31 with 33 and 29 with 27 race for the lead. 29 takes the lead. 20 pushes 14 into the lead. 31 with 33 lead. 21 Trevor Bayne pushes 7 Robby Gordon to the front.
The fourth caution is a big one. 43 A. J. Allmendinger gets sideways with 9 Maros Ambrose pushing, into 18 collecting 29, 42 and 1. 17 and 6 are on top when this happens and 6 lets off of 17 so they both can get by. 18 heads for the garage. They restart with 29 still in the pits. 17 with 6 take the lead. The fifth caution comes out when 43 blows a tire and leaves debris on the track. 20 Joey Logano gets back onto the lead lap.
They restart with 33 leading and 17 in second with their partners right behind them. 18 is back on the track. 29 is on the track, smoking. 42 comes back out onto the track. 31 and 33 take off. NASCAR tells 29 to fix whatever is smoking.
The sixth caution comes out with 7 leading. 83, pushing 4, spins 4 out. 29 is back on the track, seven laps down after repairing the broken oil cooler that was making the car smoke. 20 pushes 14 into the lead. The bumper is coming off 7, making it hard for 21 to push him. 24 and 5 get by 7 and 21. 33 pushes 31 into the lead. 4 is now pushing 83. 14 with help from 20 leads. 31 and 33 take the lead. 2 Brad Keselowski pushes 36 Dave Blaney to the front.
The seventh caution comes out when 71 Andy Lally gets sideways into 48 and 32 Terry Labonte. 48 makes a nice save and has minimal damage. 16 Greg Biffle stays out while partner, 99 Carl Edwards makes a pit stop. 36 and 17 are on the front row. 6 falls behind 17. 14 with 27 takes the lead. The eighth caution comes out during the commercial. 47 Bobby Labonte and 22 Kurt Busch are involved. Bobby walks slowly to the ambulance while Kurt heads to the garage. 15 Michael Waltrip was pushing 47 and turned him into 22. 78 Regan Smith was pushing 22 and went high while 22 got into 47.
14 leads at the restart with ten laps to go. 33 pushes 31 into the lead. The ninth caution comes out for 78 being spun into the wall by 5. 5 comes down into 78. They have to repair the wall where 78 hit. They restart with three laps to go. This is called off so there will be a Green White Checker Finish. 21 is set to push 24. 31 jumps in front of 33 and they run away from everyone else.
On the last lap, just before the Finish Line, they separate and race side by side to the Finish Line. 33 Clint Bowyer wins the Good Sam Club 500 by inches over RCR team mate 31 Jeff Burton. The pack couldn’t catch these two, even after they separated. Dave Blaney finished third, followed by Keselowski, Vickers, Kahne, Stewart, Hamlin, Waltrip and Truex for the top ten. Edwards finishes eleventh and retains his lead despite having only one win all year. Kenseth moves up a spot in the points to second. Keselowski moves up three spots for third. Stewart moves up one spot to fourth, while Harvick, with all his damage, falls three spots to fifth. Kyle Busch falls two spots to sixth. Johnson moves up a spot to seventh and Kurt Busch drops a spot to eighth. Earnhardt, Jr. remains in ninth. Gordon and Hamlin move up a spot while Newman falls to twelfth. Tony Stewart led the most laps with twenty-eight different leaders.
Brought to you by Sheila Hawley. I love NASCAR racing.