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The Pit Stop


April 12, 2008 11:16 PM

Jimmie wins on fumes.

It is the first Saturday night race of the year for the Sprint Cup guys. The drivers are at the Phoenix International Raceway for the Subway Fresh Fit 500. The “Rocket Man” Ryan Newman has the poll for tonight race. The start of the race was delayed a bit due to Yankees / Red Sox game that had a rain delay.

Jimmie Johnson said that he has a car that could win a race and Jeff Said that he had a pretty good weekend.

After ten laps of green flag racing with Ryan Newman leading the race the first caution of the night comes out for debris.

At the drop of the green flag Ryan Newman was able to lead the race until lap 31 as a charging Jimmie Johnson was able to move his way to the lead of the race. Jimmy started to pull out 1 second plus lead and on lap 42 Matt Kenseth crashes to bring out the caution. All the cars pit and Ryan Newman won the race off pit road.

The green flag drops and in under 10 laps Jimmie Johnson has the lead of the race again and then started to bust out 1.5 second lead. At lap 79 he started to encounter traffic and then Carl Edwards started to close the gap to Jimmy Johnson.

At lap 112 green flap pit stops started to occur and Carl Edwards pitted on lap 112. At lap 113 the caution comes out for Joe Nemechek who hit the wall. All the lead lap cars pit and Jimmie Johnson still leads the race with Dale Jr. in second place. Starting at the back of the longest line is Carl Edwards.

At the drop of the green flag it was a lot of cars in front of the two leaders and Dale Jr. was able to squeeze on though and take the lead of the race. It did not last long and in a few laps Jimmie was back in the lead of the race. At lap 133

Ryan Newman and his car blows up laying oil all over the track. Getting some damage from this was Reed Sorenson, Johnny Sauter, and J.J, Yeley. Spinning out was Jeff Burton. At lap 135 the race went into red flag mode to clean up the mess on the track.

Around 10 minutes of cleanup and the cars were running again. When pit road was finally opened Jimmie Johnson stayed out, but Dale Jr. and other cars in the back of the lead lap pitted for tires and fuel.

After getting back to green flag racing it did not last for long and on lap 148 Reed Sorenson crashes to bring out the caution. Jimmie Johnson, Mark Martin and a couple other cars pit. This put Dale Jr. into the lead of the race.

Dale Jr. got a good restart and green flag racing continued until lap 161 when Elliott Sadler slowed up big time. “We just blew a motor,” said Sadler. Most of the cars on the lead lap pit and Martin Truex Jr. won the race off pit road, but Mark Martin stays out to take the lead of the race.

At the drop of the green flag Mark Martin started to break out into a two second lead. At the 199 lap mark he had a lead over 3 seconds over his teammate Martin Truex Jr. At lap 200 David Ragan spins out to bring out the caution. Dale Jr. was able to lead all the cars off pit road when they came in for tires and fuel.

With 100 laps to go Dale Jr. had a less than a one second lead over Mark Martin in second. Those two continued to bust open a four second lead on the field until the caution came out with 84 laps to go for Kasey Kahne and a tire that blew.

This brought all the cars on the lead lap in for tires and fuel. Dale Jr. still kept the lead of the race. At the drop of the green flag both Dale and Mark started to bust out another big lead on the field. With 50 laps nothing really has changed up top. In third place Denny Hamlin was around 2.5 seconds back of the leaders.

With 42 laps to go Mark Martin was able to get the lead of the race from Dale Jr. and then Denny Hamlin was able to move up right behind Dale Jr. for second. Eight more laps go by and Dale fell back to fourth.

With 25 laps to go Mark Martin was leading Denny Hamlin by 1 second. With 20 laps to go it was getting close for cars on the lead lap to make a final pit stop for a splash of fuel or risk running out of gas.

With 15 to go Denny Hamlin is the first to come to for fuel and also took on two tires. Mark Martin stopped with 10 laps to go. This left Jimmie Johnson in the lead of the race. Harvick stopped with seven to go and could not get his car started. With 5 laps to go Jimmie Johnson was told over radio to slow it down big time to save fuel and he did just that. He was able win the race on fumes.

Chad Knauss said that he knew he was good when Jimmie had the 10 second lead.

“Ran out of gas on the backstretch,” said Jimmie Johnson.

“Just about pulled this one off,” said Mark Martin who finished fifth.

After the race was over Jeff Burton was able to keep his point lead. Kyle Busch was able to move to second place in points and is 80 points back.

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