Chase winding down in the desert as Hamlin leads going to Homestead

[media-credit name=”Kinda Nicholson” align=”alignleft” width=”300″][/media-credit]As the NASCAR Sprint Cup teams arrived for work Sunday morning at Phoenix International Raceway, for the Kobalt Tools 500, they were greeted by something familiar from home on the east coast.  The garage opened this morning at 7AM local time as the sun was barely visible and the thermometer was hovering at the 40 degree mark.  But by the time the green flag dropped at 2:18 PM we were all reminded that we are here in the desert with a bright sun and 70 degrees.  This was ideal weather for the fans and the teams alike, except of course for the #71 team and driver Brendan Gaughan.  On the second lap, Gaughan had a right front tire go down sending him into the outside wall with heavy damage.  The TRG crew worked on the #71 car, but the front end damage was too severe for them to fix. The car was loaded up and readied to limp back home.

The angels were not looking over Brad Keselowski either as he cut down a right front tire on lap 58 sending the #12 Dodge into the outside wall resulting in heavy damage.  After being treated and released from the infield care center, Brad headed to the garage to watch his crew working feverishly to rebuild the right front of his car.

On lap 101 with Denny Hamlin leading the race, the third caution of the day came out for debris.  Seems that an errant water bottle splashed all over Jimmie Johnson’s windshield.  As the field pitted  the top 5 were Edwards, Hamlin, Kurt Busch, and Tony Stewart.  It was speculated that Jamie McMurray was the guilty water bottle thrower, but he did get that needed lucky dog to put him back on the lead lap. Hamlin wasted no time retaking the lead from Edwards after the restart.


American Muscle

By lap 200 the #12 team had given up the battle and loaded up the car for the long ride home.  The result for Brad Keselowski will be a 42nd place finish, heading into the final race. On the track, Denny Hamlin continued to pace the field under green until the caution flew one more time on lap 222 as Robby Gordon spun in turn three.  In the ensuing pit stops, Kyle Busch and his crew outperformed the 11 crew and took over the lead. Harvick was forced to return to pit road for a missing lug nut which resulted in restarting 18th.

On the restart, Hamlin rocketed past Kyle to retake the lead.  On lap 223 it was Hamlin, Edwards, Busch, Johnson and Newman rounding out the top five.  The green flag run was short lived as Travis Kvapil spun out on the front stretch on lap 235.  On lap 266 Carl Edwards squeezes past Hamlin to retake the lead, and two laps later Edwards has an 8/10th second lead over Hamlin. Montoya passes Jimmie Johnson for fourth and Ryan Newman joins in passing JJ for 5th place.   By lap 278 Harvick had worked his way up to 12th and was threatening.

With 22 laps to go, Hamlin was looking for a caution, constantly telling his spotter there was debris.  Obviously NASCAR and many of the other teams saw no debris, in addition Johnson was too short of fuel to make it.  Meanwhile Gil Martin had told was  Harvick he had just enough gas to finish the 312 laps.  On lap 296 Chad Knaus was telling JJ to start conserving fuel.  Jimmie asked how much and Chad told him that he would tell him how fast to drive.

On lap 300 Hamlin could wait no more and was forced to pit, barely able to return to the lead lap.  Meanwhile Edwards continued his charge up front while Johnson was slowing and holding onto 5th place.  Harvick moved up to 7th and Chad ordered JJ to cut all the fans and not use the brakes at all.  With 5 laps to go Johnson was told to do whatever to keep Harvick behind him, as Johnson slipped to 6th with Harvick right behind him.

On the final lap, Montoya runs out of gas as Edwards wins the Kobalt Tools 500, with Ryan Newman 2nd , Logano 3rd with Johnson and Harvick finishing top 5.  Denny Hamlin finished 12th while Montoya managed to finish on the lead lap in 16th place.

As the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series heads to their final race at Homestead, Denny Hamlin leads the Championship points 15 points ahead of Johnson, with Harvick 3rd, 46 points behind Johnson.

Unofficial Race Results : Kobalt Tools 500

Kobalt Tools 500

November 14, 2010 – Race 35 of 36

Pos. St. No. Driver Make Pts. Bon. Laps Status
1 1 99 Carl Edwards Ford 190 5 312 Running
2 19 39 Ryan Newman Chevrolet 170 0 312 Running
3 10 20 Joey Logano Toyota 165 0 312 Running
4 4 16 Greg Biffle Ford 160 0 312 Running
5 21 48 Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet 155 0 312 Running
6 29 29 Kevin Harvick Chevrolet 150 0 312 Running
7 15 17 Matt Kenseth Ford 151 5 312 Running
8 28 5 Mark Martin Chevrolet 142 0 312 Running
9 3 2 Kurt Busch Dodge 143 5 312 Running
10 5 1 Jamie McMurray Chevrolet 134 0 312 Running
11 22 24 Jeff Gordon Chevrolet 130 0 312 Running
12 17 11 Denny Hamlin Toyota 137 10 312 Running
13 7 18 Kyle Busch Toyota 129 5 312 Running
14 31 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Chevrolet 121 0 312 Running
15 11 56 Martin Truex Jr. Toyota 118 0 312 Running
16 35 42 Juan Montoya Chevrolet 115 0 312 Running
17 20 14 Tony Stewart Chevrolet 112 0 312 Running
18 2 43 A.J. Allmendinger Ford 109 0 312 Running
19 40 31 Jeff Burton Chevrolet 106 0 312 Running
20 26 9 Bobby Labonte Chevrolet 108 5 312 Running
21 14 33 Clint Bowyer Chevrolet 100 0 312 Running
22 13 47 Marcos Ambrose Toyota 97 0 312 Running
23 8 78 Regan Smith Chevrolet 94 0 312 Running
24 24 13 Casey Mears Toyota 91 0 312 Running
25 12 6 David Ragan Ford 88 0 310 Running
26 6 0 David Reutimann Toyota 85 0 310 Running
27 9 9 Aric Almirola Ford 82 0 310 Running
28 23 19 Elliott Sadler Ford 79 0 310 Running
29 18 98 Paul Menard Ford 76 0 310 Running
30 25 83 Kasey Kahne Toyota 73 0 310 Running
31 33 26 J.J. Yeley Ford 70 0 309 Running
32 16 77 Sam Hornish Jr. Dodge 67 0 309 Running
33 34 7 Robby Gordon Toyota 64 0 308 Running
34 38 38 Travis Kvapil Ford 61 0 308 Running
35 27 82 Scott Speed Toyota 58 0 307 Running
36 42 34 Tony Raines Ford 55 0 306 Running
37 32 36 Dave Blaney Chevrolet 52 0 306 Running
38 37 37 David Gilliland Ford 49 0 274 In Pit
39 36 55 Mike Bliss Toyota 46 0 193 In Pit
40 39 164 Landon Cassill Toyota 43 0 191 In Pit
41 43 81 Terry Labonte Dodge 40 0 190 Out
42 30 12 Brad Keselowski Dodge 37 0 58 In Pit
43 41 71 Brendan Gaughan Chevrolet 34 0 1 In Pit

Get 2 FREE stocks valued between $2.50-$1,400 when you open and fund a Webull brokerage account or earn 5% annual interest rate at Worthy.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SpeedwayMedia.com.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here