Welcome NASCAR race fans to my NASCAR blog. The AdvoCare 500 was supposed to have been raced Sunday evening at the Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, GA. But Mother Nature had other plans and the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race took place on Tuesday morning, into afternoon. To refresh your memories, 4 Kasey Kahne captured the Pole with a speed of 186.197 mph and 29.775 seconds around this 1.54 mile track. 33 Clint Bowyer starts next to him on the front row. Tony Raines, David Stremme, Geoffrey Bodine and T. J. Bell failed to make the race.
Four drivers have qualified for the Sprint Summer Showdown that culminates with this race. Five races leading up to this race at Atlanta produced four winners. These winners and five fans, along with the drivers’ favorite charities, all stand to win $3 million dollars, one million to each if one of these drivers win this race. Paul Menard won at the Brickyard. Brad Keselowski won at Pocono and last week at Bristol. Marcos Ambrose won at Watkins Glen. And Kyle Busch won at Michigan. Let’s see if any of these five drivers will be able to win this race and the millions for their fan and Charity.
325 laps is 500 miles. 16 Greg Biffle had to make an engine change and will be starting the race from the rear. Because of the rain, there will be a competition caution on Lap 30 so the teams can look at the tires. If there is a caution before this, they will not be allowed to put fuel in the car.
So, here we go! 4 and 33 race side by for the lead. 33 leads the first lap and then 4 takes the lead. 17 Matt Kenseth, 22 Kurt Busch and 42 Juan Pablo Montoya race for fifth. 11 Denny Hamlin and 39 Ryan Newman split 2 Brad Keselowski.
The first caution comes out when 47 Bobby Labonte, who has won six times here, slides through the grass. They race four wide for second and there is a wad further behind. 33 takes the lead. 83 Brian Vickers and 11 Denny Hamlin get by 4. 83, going for the lead slides and almost gets into the wall and 11. 11 and 33 battle for the lead and 11 takes the lead.
The second caution is the competition caution on lap 30. 95 David Starr couldn’t get into his pit stall and has to go around again. (It is misting on the track.) 24 Jeff Gordon and 18 Kyle Busch battle for the lead and 24, on top takes the lead. 48 Jimmie Johnson is loose and chasing the back end. 88 Dale Earnhardt, Jr. is loose and driving crooked.
There is a round of Green Flag Pitting. 24 pits and 99 Carl Edwards leads. 11 has to back up in his pit to get out. 24 is back in the lead. 48 made a good adjustment. The third caution comes out when 47 spins and gets into the inside wall, leaving fluid on the track. 78 Regan Smith gets the free pass. 24 and 18 come out of the pits first. 29 Kevin Harvick and 17 get together in the pits and 17 has to move to the grass. 24 chooses the outside and they go Green on Lap 99. 24 and 18 race side by side for the lead. 18 leads a lap and 24 takes the lead. 48 races with 42 and gets by. 27 Paul Menard moves 83 for position. 17 drives under 18 for second. 00 David Reutimann is in the pits with the hood up.
The fourth caution comes out during the commercial for debris when 71 Andy Lally blows a tire and gets into the wall. 88 Dale Earnhardt, Jr. gets back onto the lead lap. 17 leads and 18 flies ahead to lead at the restart and has to give the position back. This causes quite a mess behind him, everyone having to check up. 29 makes a nice save. While 4 heads for the garage with nose damage. 22 races 2 with 29 right there. 2 and 29 get by 22. 48 drives under 22. 24 takes the lead. 11 drives under 18. They race side by side and 6 David Ragan gets by them both on the bottom. 29 drives under 6.
14 Tony Stewart and 18 race for eighth and 14 takes the spot. 99 drives under 11 for third. 17 takes the lead during the commercial. 11 and 99 get by 24. 31 Jeff Burton starts another round of Green Flag pitting. 34 David Gilliland spins into the pits, but they wait until the pitting is complete before they throw the fifth caution to remove him. 99 is leading and 17 takes the lead. 29 gets by 24 for third. 24 gets back by 29. The sixth caution comes out for mist getting heavy again. 18 got into the wall and has a long pit stop to see what the problem is. 38 J. J. Yeley and 51 Landon Cassill stay out, hoping the race will be called for rain. The Red Flag comes out with 115 laps to go.
38 and 51 make a pit stop when they go back to racing. 17 leads at the restart and after two laps he says it’s raining and they throw the Yellow Flag for the seventh time. Fifteenth and back make pit stops. 48 is all over the leader 17. 17 and 48 are side by side for the lead with 99 right behind. The eighth caution comes out when 42 turns 33 into the wall. 32 Mike Bliss gets his lap back. 56 Martin Truex, Jr. takes two tires to lead. 48 makes it three wide and takes the lead. 6 just stopped running and heads for the garage.
The ninth caution comes out when 18 tags 5 Mark Martin who spins 78 into the inside wall. 18 comes in for adjustments. They restart with 71 to go. 18 can’t get by 88 and 27 Paul Menard. 18 gets by 27. 39 Ryan Newman gets by 27. 22 drives under 17 and gets by 2. 17 is way too tight. 11 gets by 17. 22 drives under 99. 24 catches the leader, 48. 2 drives under 99. 24 and 48 battle for the lad and 24 takes the lead.
There is another round of Green Flag pitting when 18 misses the commitment line and has to come back in, putting him a lap down. 36 Mike Skinner leads. After it all, 24 is back in the lead. 14 gets by 17 for eighth. 48 catches the leader, 24. 24 and 48 battle for the lead but 24 holds 48 off. With 6 laps to go, they race for the lead again. 48 slides. Five to go, they are racing side by side again. They both get loose and 24 keeps the lead. With three to go, 48 dives to the bottom but still can’t get by. 48 gets sideways racing 24 for the lead.
24 Jeff Gordon wins the AdvoCare 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. This was his 85th win, making him the third most winner of all time behind Richard Pettty and David Pearson. And his third win this year. There were eleven different leaders in the race. Jimmie Johnson finished second, followed by Tony Stewart (he went from eighth to third in only a few laps), Kurt Busch, Carl Edwards, Brad Keselowski, Kevin Harvick, Denny Hamlin, Matt Kenseth and A. J. Allmendinger for the top ten. The top eight in points trade places with each other and are now locked into the chase. Jimmie Johnson takes over the lead from Kyle Busch. Carl Edwards and Matt Kenseth trade places. Jeff Gordon and Kevin Harvick trade places. Kurt Busch and Ryan Newman trade places. Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and Tony Stewart stay in ninth and tenth. Brad Keselowski is locked into eleventh and the first wild card in the chase with his three wins this year.
Next up: Richmond International Raceway for the final race in the regular season, setting the chase for the Sprint Cup. (Too much hoopla for this NASCAR race fan. I liked racing much better than chasing, but I won’t go into that.)
Brought to you by Sheila Hawley. I love NASCAR racing.