Clint Bowyer is you poll sitter for the Dodge Avenger 500 at Darlington in a race starting one day late due to rain. The competition yellow is going to come out on lap 40. This is s the first race on Mothers Day since 1986.
Getting to keep his 21st starting posting in the race is Dale Earnhardt Jr., but they did take away the mounting brackets used for the wing in a pre-race inspection of his car.
At the start of the race Carl Edwards moves up the field to take the lead of the race at lap 19. Greg Biffle who was in second starts to drop back and also Clint Bowyer who was the leader as well drops back. Denny Hamlin is also move up and takes the lead of the race a couple laps before the competition yellow comes out.
Hamlin still leads after the first pit stop of the day. This led to a long green flag run win Denny Hamlin in the lead of the race until the drivers came in around lap 95 for the first green flag stop of the day. Hamlin comes in at lap 101 and wound up in second place out on the track as Carl Edwards has a massive 4 plus second lead. Carl pitted a couple laps earlier than Denny did. Moving up in the field during this long green flag run was Ryan Newman.
The second caution of the day finally comes out on lap 117 for the car of Reed Sorenson who smacks the wall hard. Hamlin gets the lead of the race again as all the cars on the lead lap pit again. The green flag drops and the caution comes out after only a couple laps for Brian Vickers who smashes out of the race with some help from Jamie McMurray. Over the radio Brian Said “Were done.”
This led to the second long green flag run of the day and the second green flag pit stops of the day. Hamlin was the race leader throughout this whole session. Green flag pit stops started to occur around lap 175. During this time Joe Nemechek blows a tire, puts some debris out on the racetrack and a caution for those debris comes out on lap 181, which was right after pit stops have cycled though.
Picking up a penalty during the set of pit stops was Carl Edwards for a pit lane violation and got shuffled back to around 25th spot. He would march his way back though the field.
Hamlin is the leader at this time with Ryan Newman in second. Yet another long green flag run occurs this time. At lap 214 Tony Stewart comes in for a flat tire. At lap 222 Ryan Newman finally gets a long run at leading the race. Green flag pit stops start for a couple of drivers around lap 235 and then the caution comes out for the cars of Ken Schrader and David Ragan getting together.
Leader of the race off pit road this time is Matt Kenseth. At this time Jeff Gordon is complaining of an overheating problem, but is still in the top five.
The next caution comes out on lap 255 for Ken Schrader who hit the wall. Kenseth is the leader at the drop of the green flag. At lap 271 Newman gets the lead of the race again and then at lap 291 Hamlin passes Newman for the lead of the race. At lap 294 Carl Edwards has moved his way all the way up to seventh. With 67 laps to go Jimmy Johnson is the leader.
At lap 305 Kyle Busch crashes out. Jimmy Johnson is in the lead with Jeff Gordon in second place at the drop of the green flag.
With 40 laps to go Jimmy Johnson still leads the race with Jeff Gordon stuck in second. Around 8 more laps go by and a debris caution flies out. Leaders pit. Jimmy Johnson leads the race with a very hot car of Jeff Gordon in second place.
The green flag drops and both Jimmy and Jeff get a good restart. The good restart does not last long as the debris caution comes out with 23 laps to go.
Jimmy Johnson gives up the lead, but Jeff Gordon and Ryan Newman stay out. A couple laps of green flag racing goes by and David Stremme blows up.
Gordon leads the race with Newman in second and Dale Earnhardt Jr. in third with 13 laps to go. Gordon got another good restart. With 8 laps to go Denny Hamlin makes a bold move and then gets by both Newman and Johnson to take over second place. With five laps left Gordon had a two plus second lead over Hamlin. Hamlin was making up time in a hurry, but did not have enough time to pass Gordon as he takes his seventh win at this racetrack.
“I can’t believe that thing lasted,” said Gordon over the radio. In victory lane he stated it was a great call by the crew chief.
“We keep given them away week in and week out,” said Denny Hamlin on this race. He also said that he was happy with his second place finish.
“They did a great job this weekend,” said Dale Earnhardt Jr. on his team. He finished in eighth place.
In points Jeff Gordon now leads his teammate Jimmy Johnson by 231 points.