Published on September 22nd, 2008 | by Michael J Smith1
Race 2: Camping World RV 400
Carl Edwards started the race with a decent car and managed to avoid an early catastrophe. On lap 11, Patrick Carpentier spun on the back stretch in front of Edwards. Edwards made slight contact with Carpentier, but did not sustain major damage. He elected not to pit for repairs. On lap 187, Edwards took right-side tires only, and held his own during that portion of the race. On lap 351, the team decides to use the same two-tire strategy. This time, it didn’t pay off, as by lap 380 his tires began to fade. While his car was still competitive, he didn’t have anything for Greg Biffle or Matt Kenseth. He finished second.
Jimmie Johnson had a top 5 car all day, but he acknowledged that he didn’t have much for those Roush Fenway cars. He narrowly missed a spinning Patrick Carpentier in the early part of the race. He stayed out on lap 188 to become the leader, hoping that a caution would come out sometime after that to get him back on pit cycle. By lap 239, Johnson gave up the lead to pit under green. Johnson inherited the lead on lap 277, when green-flag stops cycled through. After a restart, Johnson is attacked on all sides by the Roush cars. He holds off Kenseth, but not Edwards or Biffle. He ran the rest of the race in the top 5 and managed to finish fifth.
Greg Biffle complained about his car early on in the race, telling his crew at one point that he “can’t even drive it!” After a restart on lap 16, Biffle drove from 27th up to 13th by lap 53. By lap 130, he was up to sixth and said that he liked his racecar. On lap 267, he took the lead when Carl Edwards pitted. The next lap, he gave up the lead to pit. By lap 301, Biffle took the lead by passing Jimmie Johnson. By lap 328, he thought he might have a tire going down. The car got loose and he started dropping back, losing a couple of positions. On lap 350, Juan Montoya hit the wall, bringing out the caution. On the restart, Biffle passed Mark Martin for third. As Matt Kenseth battled Carl Edwards for the lead, Biffle caught and passed Kenseth. He challenged Edwards for the lead. As they battled, Kenseth dove inside and passed both of them. When Edwards’ tires began to fade, Biffle pulled up to Kenseth’s back bumper. With nine laps to go, Biffle uses an outside pass to take the lead from Kenseth. The two bumped, but both held on, and Biffle pulled away to victory.
Jeff Burton had a very quiet day. By lap 95 he drove from his 21st starting position to 12th. He ran in the bottom half of the top 10 and the low teens for most of the day. He wound up finishing 9th.
Kevin Harvick also had a decent day. He ran near the front and had a fast racecar. On lap 268 he took the lead when others pitted. He gave up the lead to pit on the next lap. While he never contended for the win, he had a solid sixth-place finish.
Clint Bowyer, much like his two teammates had a quiet day, as well. He ran about the same as Burton and Harvick, flying under the radar for most of the day. He stayed out of trouble and wound up eighth.
Tony Stewart was pretty quiet as well. He managed to avoid a spinning Paul Menard early in the race. He started back in the field and was running in the 21st to 17th range in the early going. He, too, stayed out of trouble and finished 11th.
Jeff Gordon had a decent car early and led the early going of the race. He led the first 30 laps, before Jamie McMurray passed him on the outside for the lead. He ran well for most of the day, but never led after the early part of the race. He finished seventh.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. struggled with an ill-handling race car all day. He started 10th and ran ok for the early part of the race. By lap 60, he dropped back to 16th. By lap 79, he was 20th. By lap 103, he was 25th. He went a lap down around lap 140. Then, his right-rear tire blew, and he spun. He managed to avoid hitting anything, but his fender sustained heave damage from the tire. He ended up finishing 24th, three laps down.
Matt Kenseth ran well and up front for most of the race, challenging for the lead and the victory. As Biffle and Edwards battled, he dove to the inside to take the lead. But, with nine laps to go, Biffle passed him on the outside, bumping him and then pulling away to victory. Kenseth ended up second.
Denny Hamlin started the day decently. He was running second on lap 6. On lap 67, though, he was penalized for speeding on pit road. Around lap 173, Hamlin’s team was on pit road, dealing with a rear-end issue where old was leaking. On lap 220, he was running 10th, but cars around him were complaining of leaking oil on their windshields. On lap 242, things went from bad to worse, when Hamlin had to come down pit road, with a flat right tire. He headed to the garage area because his car had no power. The team replaced both axles and the driveshaft. He returned to the race on lap 287. He finished 38th, 38 laps down.
Kyle Busch, the one time favorite to win the Sprint Cup, had mechanical problems for the second week in a row. On lap 141, Busch’s car began to smoke, as he told the team on the radio that it was blowing up. On lap 146 under caution, Busch drops from 11th to the back of the pack to avoid causing problems on the restart. He runs in 22nd when his crew chief Steve Addington tells ABC that Busch will drive the car until it dies. They believe the problem is a broken valve. On lap 172, the engine finally gives way and Busch’s day his done. He finished 43rd.