It is the first race this season for the NEXTEL cars running with unleaded fuel in the Auto Club 500 at the California Speedway. Jeff Gordon is the poll setter for the race today. The weather is just right for some great racing today.
On lap seven a multi car wreck occurred as the cars of Scott Riggs, Reed Sorenson, and Jamie McMurray got together. “10 car(Scott Riggs) just spun out,” said Jamie. “Unfortunate day for the Crown Royal car.”
The top ten cars that time did not pit still leaving Kasey Kahne in the lead of the race.
On lap 15 the engine on the car of Martin Truex Jr. gives out. “Just unfortunate,” said Martin.
The green flag drops and on lap 19 Dale Jr. has some tire problems and then pits. Soon after he pits the car of David Ragan spins out, putting Dale one lap down. This caused the leader, Kasey Kahne, to finally pit giving Kyle Busch the lead of the race.
Matt Kenseth was able to pass Kyle Busch for the lead of the race on lap 30. Green flag racing occurred until some green flag stops started on lap 49. Some of the car having to pit included Kyle Busch and Mark Martin. On lap 53 the car of Sterling Marlin spun out leaving a bunch of cars on the tail end of the lead lap.
Jimmy Johnson was the leader of race at the rim of the caution. Kevin Harvick was the leader off pit road, but had to go to end of the longest line due to a speeding violation. This left Matt Kenseth the leader of the race.
The green flag drops on lap 60 and then eight more laps go by before Earnhardt Jr. takes his car behind the wall for engine problems. Dale stated that he was “really really” worried about the engines going into this race.
A couple more laps go by and Kasey Kahne brings his car into the garage. “I don’t know,” said Kahne on his car. “It has no power.”
At lap 75 Jeff Burton had the lead of the race. Green flag racing occurs until lap 92 for a debris caution. Kenseth takes over as the leader of the race at the drop of the green flag.
At lap 111 both the cars of Kahen and Earnhardt are going out on the racetrack, but around lap 113 and Dave Blaney goes behind the wall for engine problems. At lap 114 another caution for debris comes out. The green flag drops and a couple laps go by and the car of Dale Earnhardt Jr. blows up and spins out. He gets out of the car and takes a bow.
During a long green flag run now that takes them to green flag pit stops The cars of Tony Stewart, Matt Kenseth, Jeff Gordon and Clint Bowyer were fighting for the lead of the race.
Green Flag pit stops occurred with around 95 laps to go and the car of Tony Stewart gets a penalty for entering pit road too quickly. After the end of pit stops this left Matt Kenseth in the lead of race with Jeff Gordon in second place.
With 66 laps to go the car of John Andretti winds up with some engine problems. At this point of time Tony Stewart has climbed all the way up to 14th spot. Two more laps go by and he gets the black flag.
Around 57 laps to go and cars are coming back in again for green flag pit stops. Picking up a penalty this time was David Gilliland for exiting pit road too fast.
With 50 laps to go the leader of the race is Jimmy Johnson who able to have a much better pit stop than Matt Kenseth did.
With forty laps left Jimmy has an almost two second lead over Matt Kenseth with Tony Stewart in 10th still over 20 seconds back of the leader.
With 30 laps to go Kenseth is slowly chipping away now at the lead of Jimmy Johnson.
Around 26 laps left and cars are making final pit stops, but with 25 laps to go a debris caution comes out. Matt Kenseth was able to beat all the cars off pit road for the lead of the race. Jimmy Johnson gets shuffled down to fifth.
The green flag drops and Matt Kenseth checks out quickly to a one second lead over Kevin Harvick in just a few laps. With 12 laps left Harvick is chipping away at the lead one-tenth a lap.
With eight laps left the David Reuitmann smashes the wall real hard with help from Greg Biffle. Ricky Rudd and Bobby Labonte also involved in the accident. This brings out the red flag.
The yellow flag comes out and the cars in the back of the lead lap pit, then with five laps to go the car of Kevin Harvick comes into pit road with a flat tire. The green flag drops, Kenseth blows out to a nice lead and wins the race.
When asked on winning this race with his regular crew chief Robby Reiser he said this win was a “special one.”
“It did not start out too stellar,” said Jeff Gordon who finished the race in second place. He also stated that at the end of the race the car was a bit too loose.
Jimmy Johnson who finished in third place stated that he thought NASCAR did not find the debris in one of the cautions and that he had one bad pit stop. He also said that he had a car that could win the race.
Mark Martin who finished in fifth said that he had a great car and thanked his team.
“It’s been one of those weeks,” said Harvick. His bad tire put him back in seventeenth place.
Matt Kenseth makes only the second driver to sweep both weekend races at this track. The other driver to do it was Kasey Kahne.
Leaving the race in points lead is Mark Martin, but at this point of time is not scheduled to race in Las Vegas on March 11th.