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Race 5: Bank Of America 500

Jimmie Johnson started on the pole due to rain washing out Sprint Cup qualifying. He stayed there until lap 32, when Tony Stewart caught and passed him as he negotiated lap traffic.Johnson led, and ran up front for most of the day. By lap 301, Johnson was second behind Jeff Burton as the field took the green on a restart. Johnson challenged Burton for the lead, racing side-by-side for two laps. In the remaining laps, Johnson fell from second to sixth, where he finished.

Jeff Burton ran in the top 10 in the early stages of the race, making his way up to third by lap 48. He took the lead for the first time on lap 255 when Greg Biffle made a scheduled pit stop. On lap 264 Robby Gordon crashed. On the restart, Burton was running second to teammate Greg Biffle. On lap 277, he took the lead on the outside. On the next restart, he battled Jimmie Johnson side-by-side for two laps. He built up a half-second lead in the next eight laps. Eleven laps later, his lead was over a second. He won the race by a comfortable margin of 0.700 seconds over Kasey Kahne.

Greg Biffle spent much of the race in the top 5, taking over the top spot for the first time on lap 250. He lost the lead when he made a scheduled pit stop on lap 255, but he regained the lead on lap 267. Burton passed him for the lead after a restart in lap 277. On the final restart on lap 301, Biffle ran fifth. In the closing laps, he was passed by Kyle Busch and Jamie McMurray. He finished seventh.

Carl Edwards started the day second. He ran the early part of the race in the top 5. On lap 51, however, he reported a vibration. One lap later, he dove onto  pit road because he had a loose wheel. While he was on pit road, a caution came out after AJ Allmendinger spun. He did not beat leader Jimmie Johnson, who was coming to the line, off pit road, so he lost a lap. his crew chief, Bob Osborne, argued that he should get the free pass, but it was awarded to Jeff Gordon instead. On lap 67, things went from bad to worse for Edwards, who had an ignition problem and had to be pushed to pit road because the car would not fire. By lap 84, he returned to the track 16 laps down in 39th. He wound up finishing 33rd.

Clint Bowyer had a relatively quiet day. He ran around the top 5 for the first half of the race, and managed to stay out of trouble. He did, however, get into Denny Hamlin on lap 232 and sent Hamlin up the track. Other than that, Bowyer had a decent race, but ended up finishing 12th.

Kevin Harvick, who was the center of a lot of media attention this week due to his high-profile incident with Carl Edwards, had major issues with the setup of his car. On lap 64, the team gave Harvick eight rounds of wedge. He went virtually unnoticed for the rest of the race, running in the top 10 and teens. He finished 13th.

Tony Stewart made some noise early, taking the lead on lap 32 and again on lap 76. At one point during the race, Stewart had built up a seven second lead. But, his car did not handle that well in traffic. On lap 166, he complained that something might be wrong with the nose of his car, but pit stops were coming up so he was not too worried. On lap 260, Stewart was caught speeding on pit road. He recovered to finish 11th.

Jeff Gordon had trouble early on brushing the wall on lap 1 and hitting it hard on lap 5. On lap 9, he pitted because he has a tire rub. On lap 54, he got the free pass and was back on the lead lap. On lap 203, Gordon recovered, taking the lead from Martin Truex Jr. Both Gordon and Truex stayed out after a crash involving Matt Kenseth, Travis Kvapil, Tony Raines, and Chad McCumbee. Gordon lost the lead on lap 250 when he made a scheduled pit stop. He ran the rest of the race in or near the top 10, finishing eighth.

Kyle Busch had, by far, his best race of the Chase, running up near the front all day. He led lap 104 under caution, due to his pit stall location. He led again at lap 110, taking the top spot from teammate Tony stewart.He lost the lead when he pitted under caution. On lap 260, Busch was caught speeding, like his teammate Tony Stewart. He recovered to finish fourth.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. had a strong car early, making his way to third around lap 36. He spent most of the early part of the race in the top 10. But, on lap 103, he blew a tire and sustained heavy damage, effectively ending his day. He finished 36th, 45 laps down.

Matt Kenseth had an uneventfuly day until lap 194 when Paul Menard got into Bill Elliott, pushing him into Tony Raines, who hit the wall. As that happened, Travis Kvapil turned down the race track into Kenseth’s right rear quarter panel, sending him into the outside wall. He finished 41st.

Denny Hamlin had a realtively quiet day following his hard crash at Talladega Superspeedway last weekend that put him in the hospital for one night. On lap 232, Clint Bowyer got into the back of him sending him up the track and into the wall. He suffered some right-rear damage. He finished 16th.