Sunday, November 02, 2008

Live on Type Delay: The Dickies 500

We got to hear another Championship quality "Gentlemen, start your engines" and that got us fired up for what we hope to be a fun race. Jimmie Johnson doesn't have to win or even finish in the top ten to maintain a healthy lead in the points, but we know he will be making his way to the front, very quickly, from his 26th place starting position. We can expect some others to be able to move up, namely Kyle Busch and Tony Stewart. Stewart had to start in the back after going to a back up car, due to extensive damage to his primary car in Saturday morning's practice.

Jeff Gordon leads the field to the green flag, and leads for thirteen laps, but Clint Bowyer seems to be riding a rocket, and catches and is quickly closing what was a one second gap. He gets the low line, and passes Gordon on the bottom in turn three of lap 14. Dale Earnhardt, Jr follows and quickly takes second.

David Reutimann, who is not in the Chase, also has a very fast car, and has moved from twelfth to fifth in a very short period of time. The top line seems to be the fastest, and that is the one Reut has been taking. By lap 28, he has taken second place.

By lap 47, Bowyer has lapped several cars, and is a half second ahead of Reutimann. Carl Edwards is third, Jamie McMurray is fourth, and Dale Jr is fifth. As Bowyer gets hung up in lapped traffic, David Reutimann catches him, finds an opening on the bottom, and takes the lead. Green flag pit stops begin on lap 48.

Bowyer surrenders the lead to pit on lap 53, as Earnhardt Jr leads a lap, then pits. Travis Kvapil and Paul Menard both get caught speeding on pit road, and have to serve drive through penalties. After the pit stops cycle through, Bowyer retains the lead, but there is a race going on immediately as Carl Edwards catches him on lap 57 and goes around on the outside, making it look easy. Caution as the #41 Dodge of Reed Sorenson seems to have lost an engine. Edwards is first, Bowyer second, David Reutimann third, Jamie McMurray is fourth, and Greg Biffle is fifth. Dale Jr, from seventh position, leads a bunch of cars back to pit lane. Sorenson's trouble was a loose oil line, so he will continue to race.

Sorenson did lose a lot of oil at the entrance to pit road, so the clean up will take a while. There are now 29 cars on the lead lap. This could be a long race for a lot of teams. Not for Juan Pablo Montoya, however, as he has moved up from a starting position near the back and made his way all the way up to seventh.

On the restart, lap 66, Montoya passes Jeff Gordon for sixth. McMurray presses Reutimann for third, but it is Biffle who moves up and takes that position. Biffle seems to have a good car, now, and is in serious contention for second place. Biffle and Bowyer battle through lap 69, and Biffle finally gets around Bowyer, while Edwards increases his lead. On lap 73, McMurray gets third from Bowyer.

We've seen this movie before. Paul Menard is trying to keep his position of being the first car a lap down, and is racing Greg Biffle hard. Biffle just wants to get by him so he can try to catch up to Edwards, and stay ahead of McMurray. Menard finally checks up, but not before McMurray takes second. Edwards is four seconds ahead of this group.

Jimmie Johnson has been battling a loose handling car, but, knowing the #48 team, that probably won't last long. However, on lap 82, he is running in 24th. Stewart has made it up to 21st position, and seems to be staying there. Kyle Busch is running in the top ten.

On lap 95, Carl Edwards smells blood. He can see Jimmie Johnson, running 26th ahead of him, and wants to put him a lap down. As if that will do any good. Edwards does pass him on lap 96, and Johnson's car seems to be having problems.

Lap 100, and it's Edwards, McMurray, Biffle, Reutimann, and Bowyer in the top five. Montoya is sixth, The Gordon is seventh, and Kyle Busch is running in eighth. Green flag pit stops should begin soon. Pit stops for the fast cars begin with Kyle Busch on lap 110. A great stop at 13.6 seconds. Edwards pits on lap 113. Vickers leads while the other cars pit, and he pits on lap 119, giving the lead back to Carl Edwards. McMurray is two seconds behind Edwards in second, Biffle is third, Reutimann is fourth, and Bowyer is fifth. Montoya is sixth, Kyle Busch is seventh, Jeff Gordon is in eighth, Martin Truex Jr rides in ninth, and Brian Vickers is tenth. There are 22 cars on the lead lap on lap 130.

Who wants to see a caution? I do! I do!

Kurt Busch and Denny Hamlin are making it difficult for Edwards to lap them, but Edwards is racing hard, and McMurray is not getting that much of an opportunity to close the gap. Denny and Dirty Kurty try to block Edwards, but, even though Edwards is the Big Phony personality-wise, he is a genuinely good driver and he gets around Hamlin. Dirty Kurty won't give up the lead lap that easily, however, and he is making Edwards work for it.

Still no caution, and on lap 142, Tony Stewart gets lapped, but, on lap 143, we get a caution for debris. The debris is real, as we see the clean up crew in turns three and four on television, and Smoke gets the lucky dawg pass. The leaders all pit.

Brian Vickers almost gets the lead in the pits, as Edwards crosses the exit line just 1/4 a length in the lead. Greg Biffle is third, Jamie McMurray is fourth, and Clint Bowyer is fifth, in the race off of pit road.

Edwards seems to be getting what he has been hoping for, as the #48 car looks like junk. For once, Klever Knaus can't seem to get a handle on what is wrong with the car.

At the restart, there are nineteen cars on the lead lap. Restart on lap 149.

Kurt Busch races his way back to the lead lap, and AJ Allmendinger also passes the leader. Vickers, is trying to hold off Biffle and McMurray for second, but both of them get by him. Kyle Busch is running sixth and trying to get into the top five, but David Reutimann is still running well, and is a serious contender for sixth place.

Greg Biffle takes second in turn four of lap 156, but Edwards has a two -second gap over him. All five of the Roush-Fenway cars are in the top ten.

By the half-way point of the race, Edwards has passed Allmendinger and Kurt Busch, and they are back to being a lap down.

This seems early, but my PRN broadcast has disappeared, so from here on out, we will have to rely on the television broadcast. In the meantime, I will feel frustrated during commercials and tend to drift off.

The handling of Jimmie Johnson's car does seem to have improved, as he has gained some positions in his attempt to be in the beneficiary position of being the first car a lap down. But Edwards is about to lap Jeff Gordon, and that won't help Johnson much.

Right now, we're wondering where Dale Earnhardt, Jr is. Before the last restart, he re-pitted to top off on fuel, so he will be off sequence on these next green flag pit stops, which begin on lap 199. This could, under certain circumstances, give him an opportunity to take the lead. Just before the pit cycle begins, Jr is running in fourteenth.

The track is mostly in shade, now, so conditions will be changing. Everybody makes adjustments.

After pit stops cycle through, it is Edwards in first, seven seconds ahead of second-place David Reutimann. Jamie McMurray is third, Kyle Busch, who started the race in twenty-ninth, is fourth, and Greg Biffle, after pit stop problems is fifth. On lap 220, there are only sixteen cars on the lead lap. as both Stewart and Jeff Gordon have been put a lap down. Earnhardt, Jr is running in fifteenth.

Bowyer, Montoya, David Ragan, Matt Kenseth, and Kevin Harvick fill out the top ten.

With 95 laps to go, there are only 12 cars on the lead lap. Just as we are wondering if Edwards will lap the entire field by the end of the race--just like the "good ol' days--" there is a caution for debris on the backstretch. All the cars pit,

Edwards comes off pit road first, Reutimann is second, Kyle Busch is third, but takes second shortly after the restart. Greg Biffle is fourth, and before I can see who is in fifth, there is a wreck and the caution comes out. Travis Kvapil and Marcos Ambrose get into each other, trying to go three wide with Elliott Saddler. Mark Martin gets the free pass, and there are now fifteen cars on the lead lap.

Restart will see Edwards in the lead, Kyle Busch second, Reutimann third, Greg Biffle in fourth, and Jamie McMurray in fifth.

Restart with 83 laps to go, and Jeff Gordon tries to race his way to the lead lap, but Edwards gets by. This puts the 24 car between Edwards and Kyle Busch, so it looks like Cuzzin' Carl will break away again.

Wouldn't it be cool if Carl did his back flip while firring off the six-shooters he gets for winning at the same time? Awesome thought! Or not. Even blanks could cause serious injury in an accident at close range.

There was a caution during the commercial involving the #42 Dodge of Juan Pablo Montoya. It looks like David Gilliland hit him in retaliation for an earlier bump and run. That looked pretty blatant. Oops! Rough driving has become a judgment call in NASCAR, but this is a case where the judgment should be easy. We expect the 38 car to be parked. We expect it, but that doesn't mean it will happen. This should be a good video though.

McMurray and several other cars took two tires only. McMurray restarts in first, Bowyer second, Biffle third, Truex fourth, Dale Jr is fifth. Kyle Busch will restart in sixth, the first car that took four tires, and Edwards is in seventh. Gilliland's car has been parked for the remainder of the race. First is was a five lap penalty, but somebody must have said something inappropriate, as both the driver and the crew chief have been called to the NASCAR hauler.

With 57 laps to go, Edwards takes sixth from Busch. A few laps later, he takes fifth from Earnhardt, Jr.

32 laps to go, and we should see some green flag pit stops soon. This is kind of anti-climatic. We need to see some more retaliation or something. Matt Kenseth is the first to pit, for two tires and fuel, with 25 laps to go. Kevin Harvick has moved up to seventh from tenth, where he has been hanging most of the latter part of the race. Johnson is still a lap down at this cycle, but he is the first car a lap down. Allmendinger gets a speeding penalty. Carl Edwards is staying out, and this may be a "go for it" moment. The front four, McMurray, Bowyer, Biffle, and Edwards have yet to pit.

McMurray pits for two tires and fuel with thirteen to go, putting Biffle in first, and Edwards in second. Biffle pits with 12 to go, for two and fuel. Carl Edwards still leads, but it really does seem like a stretch for fuel. But now, the 24 car of Jeff Gordon and the 88 car of Dale Jr also plan on staying out until the end. Six to go, and Edwards, with a 21 second buffer between himself and the second place car of Jeff Gordon is going for it, able to conserve fuel now. Jr runs out of fuel with 5 to go.

On an incredible, gutsy fuel call, Edwards wins, Jeff Gordon is second, McMurray is third, Bowyer fourth, and Greg Biffle is fifth.

That was an amazing call by Bob Osborne, Edwards' crew chief. I don't think anybody has gone sixty-nine green flag laps on fuel before, but it worked out. Getting the buffer between first and second position helped, because it allowed Edwards to manipulate the throttle to save as much fuel as he could without losing position. The Chase has changed, and, with two races left, it is a two-man race again. Edwards is now 106 points behind Johnson, a difference that can be made up in one race.

1 comment:

Trixie said...

Thanks for the review of Texas. I usually try to watch the race all the way through because it's in well Texas, but I guess it just didn't interest me this time around. I hate to say it but I am so ready for this season to be over with and for 2009 to begin.

Oh by the way, don't know if anyone is still posting on the NBFT site...I posted something. Sorry for not posting in awhile. It's been crazy the past few months with all this adoption stuff.