Published on November 12th, 2008 | by Michael J Smith1
Race 9: Checker O'Reilly Auto Parts 500
Jimmie Johnson started from the pole but could not edge Jamie McMurray on the first lap to gain the five bonus points for leading. He ran in the top five for the early part of the race, gaining the lead on lap 81. On lap 101, he gave up the lead to pit under green. When pit stops cycled through, Johnson regained the lead on lap 110. On lap 219, McMurray beat Johnson off pit road. But, on the restart, Johnson passed McMurray easily. Johnson survived three late restarts and cruised to victory.
Carl Edwards ran in the teens early, jockying between 13th and 15th in the early stages of the race. By lap 115, Edwards moved into the top 10. Edwards gained some positions on pit road on lap 261 when the caution came out for debris. He restarted in fourth but could not gain anymore positions over the rest of the race. He finished fourth.
Greg Biffle started at the rear of the field due to a transmission change. By lap 92, Biffle had made his way up to 15th. On lap 102, he took the lead while the leaders pitted. On lap 110, he gave up the lead when Johnson passed him while he was on pit road.On lap 292, the caution came out for debris, and Biffle pitted. Tony Stewart nudged Biffle to show his displeasure under caution, though I’m not sure why. Biffle wound up finishing 11th.
Jeff Burton had a very quiet day, starting mid-pack and running in the top half of the field for most of the day. Much like he has for most of the Chase, he stayed out of trouble and kept his car clean. He finished a very quiet ninth.
Kevin Harvick also started mid-pack and got into the wall hard on lap 15. But, his car appeared to be fine and he continued on. He ran in the top 15 and top 10 for most of the day. Following a lap 261 caution for debris, Harvick came out of pit road running fifth. By lap 282, he dropped to seventh, where he ended up finishing.
Clint Bowyer started the race in 28th and didn’t run very well early. By lap 118, Johnson put him a lap down as he struggled with the handle of the car.Somewhere along the line, Bowyer got his lap back and he rallied to finish 12th.
Jeff Gordon started in the top 10 and ran there for the early part of the race. He seemed to have a competitive car early, but on lap 123, he reported a power issue. On lap 154, he was running third when he started to fall back. By lap 170, he was down to eigth. Twenty-two laps later, he was down to 18th. By lap 195, teammate Johnson put him a lap down. And, on lap 269, his car began smoking heavily and his day was done.
Matt Kenseth started in 34th and, when the red flag came out for rain, he sat on pit road with a flat tire. By lap 98, he lost a lap. On lap 284, Kenseth got his lap back. On lap 305, AJ Allmendinger got a little too aggressive and got to the inside of Kenseth. He got into Kenseth sending him around. Kenseth got into Tony Stewart who also went around. As Kesenth took the checked flag, he appeared to turn down into Allmendinger sending him around and causing a 10-car pile up. Kenseth finished 15th.
Denny Hamlin started eighth and ran near the front all day. He had a good car and stayed out of trouble, and battled in the top 5. He finished fifth.
Dale Earnhardt Jr started in fifth and scraped the wall on lap 5, but his car was fine and he continued on. He had a stout car and kept it up in the top 10 all day. He finished sixth.
Kyle Busch started in 14th and by lap 48 was up to seventh. He ran quietly in the top 10 – 15, and stayed out of trouble. He finished eighth.
Tony Stewart started 29th and made his way up to 12th in the first 89 laps. He ran quietly in the top half of the field for most of the race. On lap 293, he gave Biffle a nudge to show his displeasure for something, but I am not sure what. Stewart’s mediocre day turned eventful when Allmendinger got into Kenseth on the inside and sent him into Stewart, spinning both out. Stewart also was involved in the last lap crash. He finished 20th.