The Pit Stop

March 30, 2008 5:13 PM

Hamlin wins, Hendrick camp rebounds

Rain fell throughout the race today at the short track in Martinsville as drivers raced 500 laps in the Goody’s Cool Orange 500.  Jeff Gordon had the poll for the race with Denny Hamlin also on the front row.

At lap 21 the first caution of the day came out as Kyle Busch spins out with some help from his brother Kurt.  At lap 43 Mike Skinner and Robby Gordon spin out.  A big smoky mess occurred on the third caution that occurred on lap 56 as cars of Aric Almirola, Jeff Gordon, Scott Riggs, and Bobby Labonte got together.

Gordon went to the back of the lead lap cars, but was able top move up through the field.

At lap 69 the caution came out for a Reed Sorenson spin.  Also involved was Bill Elliott.

The next caution involved the cars of Mike Skinner, J.J. Yeley and Sam Hornish Jr on lap 105.   Then at lap 118 it was a David Reutimann and Aric Almirola crash. By this time a light rain was falling on the track.  At lap 160 and Jeff Gordon is back into the top ten.  At lap 161 Dale Jr. was able to get the lead of the race from Jimmy Johnson.

The first debris caution finally came out lap 181.  After the green flag dropped it was not long and the caution comes out for a Bill Elliott spin.  Around lap 200 and Jeff Gordon was all the way back into third place.

The next caution finally comes out at lap 214 for Ken Schrader who got some help from Elliott Sadler.  Also spinning out was Kurt Busch.

The tenth caution finally waived for Sam Hornish Jr. who spun out on lap 260.  The green flag drops and at Lap 270 Jeff Gordon was finally able to get the lead of the race again.  Then in a couple laps the caution comes out for a spin by Dario Franchitti with some help from Travis Kvapil.   The next caution occurred at lap 287 as Matt Kenseth and Patrick Carpentier get together.

At lap 296 the thirteenth caution pops out as Greg Biffle taps Ryan Newman who also helps spin out Jimmy Johnson.  In the back getting involved was Reed Sorenson, and Kurt Busch.  At the time of the caution Dale Jr. just had the lead of the race.

The green flag drops and in less than 10 laps and Michael Waltrip spins to bring out the caution.  This finally led to around 50 laps of green flag laps then the caution came out again as Matt Kenseth smacks into David Gilliland.

Dave Blaney with some pit strategy had the lead of the race at the drop of the green flag, but lost the lead quickly.  David Reutimann also with the same idea had the lead of the race for only a couple laps and then Jeff Gordon takes the lead of the race again.  At lap 379 Aric Almirola and his car goes behind the wall for good.

At lap 386 it was caution seventeen as Reed Sorenson stopped his car at the entrance to pit road and could not move.  This left Jeff Burton with the lead of the race with Brian Vickers in second going for some pit strategy.  With 98 laps left Ken Schrader and his car blows up for the next caution.

With 83 laps left and Denny Hamlin moved his way back into third place.  With 79 laps to go and Brian Vickers falls to fourth.  A few more laps go by and it was side by side for the lead of the race and in two more laps Denny took the lead of the race.

With 50 laps to go Denny Hamlin still leads the race with Jeff Burton in second.  Jeff Gordon also was able to get by Dale Jr. for fourth.  At 38 to go and Carl Edwards' team calculates they are eight laps short.

With 25 lap left and Jeff Burton closed right behind Denny Hamlin, but lapped cars in the next few laps helped Denny big time to build up a half second lead.   With 12 laps left Jeff Gordon moved into third place.

With 8 laps left and Michale McDowell spins, but does not bring out the caution.  This helped Jeff Gordon get around Jeff Burton for second place.    With one lap left Gordon got close, but had no time and enough laps to pass Hamlin and Carl Edwards runs out of fuel causing him to finish 9th.

The Hendrick camp all finally have a great day this year as all cars finish in the top seven today.

“Finally,” said Denny Hamlin.  He stated that he had some bad luck the past few weeks.

“Came down to pit strategy,” said Jeff Gordon.  Jeff stated that is was lucky that is was a long green flag run and that his car was super in the first half of the race.

Jeff Burton who finished in third place said that he was conserving some fuel while he was in the lead of the race.

Jimmy Johnson said that he had fantastic pit stops. He finished in fourth.

With the top five finish Jeff Burton takes over the lead in points.  Moving into second place is Kevin Harvick who is second.  Dropping to fifth place is Kyle Busch.

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