Published on October 21st, 2008 | by Michael J Smith3
Race 6: TUMS QuikPak 500
Jimmie Johnson started on the pole due to rain washing out qualifying. He stayed there until lap 35, when on a restart Jeff Gordon got a great jump and passed him for the lead. He re-took the lead 20 laps later, passing Gordon. He gave up the lead to pit on lap 64. On lap 470, Johnson took the lead from Matt Kenseth, who stayed out during a caution on lap 462 when the leaders pitted. Johnson led the rest of the way, holding off Dale Earnhardt Jr. on two restarts, including a green-white-checker finish, to win his fourth race in his last five starts at Martinsville Spreedway.
Greg Biffle stayed out on a early on lap 165 to take the lead. By lap 174, Biffle’s tires began to fade, as did he. He dropped from first to seventh by lap 208. The strategy ended up backfiring, as Biffle lost a lap when he pitted. Biffle remained a lap down until lap 485, when he got the free pass after David Gilliland got into the wall following contact with David Reutimann. He finished 12th.
Jeff Burton was shaping up to have a quiet day, running in the teens for most of the race.
On lap 457, Reed Sorenson spun and hit the wall. Burton pitted under caution and had some issues on pit road. Jeff Gordon was exiting his pit box when Burton was about to enter his. He couldn’t turn in without making contact with Gordon, so he let Gordon by him. He turned into his pit box, but his splitter was outside the box when the crew began changing right-side tires. He was held one lap for pitting outside his box. Burton finished 17th, one lap down.
Carl Edwards had a strong car, running near the front all day. He managed to stay out of trouble and have an uneventful day. He finished third.
Clint Bowyer also had a decent car and stayed out of trouble. He posted a solid ninth place finish.
Kevin Harvick, much like teammate Clint Bowyer, had a quiet and uneventful day at Martinsville. He posted a very quiet seventh place finish.
Jeff Gordon had a strong car. He was one of the few drivers that was able to drive around his teammate Jimme Johnson for the lead. He did so on three occasions, on lap 35, lap 242, and lap 272. He finished fourth.
Tony Stewart had a decent car early, running near the front for the early portion of the race. But, on lap 361, Stewart had a right front tire go down. Fortunately, he was able to make it to pit road without any major problems. He lost two laps during his stop. On lap 453, he returned to put road under green for another flat right front tire. He finished 26th, four laps down.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. had a solid car and started near the front due to rain washing out qualifying. An early pit road speeding penalty sent him to the tail end of the longest line. He restarted in 37th on lap 34. By lap 75, he was up to fifth. On lap 81, he got into Jamie McMurray, sending McMurray spinning. In th late stages of the race, Jr had the strongest car, but by that time teammate Jimmie Johnson had too big of a lead to overcome. On the final two restarts, Jr did not have enough to get it done. He finished second.
Matt Kenseth stayed out of trouble until lap 114, when he got together with Joe Nemechek to bring out a caution. He lost a lap as a result of the crash. He got his lap back when Elliott Sadler and Aric Almirola got together on lap 196 and brought out the caution. On lap 462, he used strategy of staying out when the leaders pitted under caution to inherit the lead. He began falling back after the restart. He made contact with teammate David Ragan bringing out the final caution, setting up the green-white-checker finish. He finished eigth.
Denny Hamlin managed the avoid the tire problems that plagued teammates Tony Stewart and Kyle Busch. He ran near the front most, if not all of the day. While he never led, he managed to post a solid fifth place finish.
Kyle Busch‘s Chase problems continued to unfold with another lackluster day. By lap 98, Busch was complaining of brake issues. On lap 161, he hit the wall after his right front tire blew. He stopped on track to bring out the caution NASCAR penalized him two laps. On lap 346, he lost another right front tire. He made it to pit road. On lap 457, another right front tire lost and another trip to pit road. He finished 29th, seven laps down.