Sunday, September 24, 2006
Jeff Burton wins at Dover
The main topic of discussion over the past week was about Jimmie Johnson & Kyle Busch having bad races last week. Are they out of contention for the NASCAR Nextel Cup championship? A bad race is one thing but when the first race is bad it puts the driver behind the eight ball. It just shows that it's easier to lose the championship than win it. So those guys had to climb out of a big hole at Sunday's Dover 400 at Dover, DE. Jeff Gordon won the pole.
While Ryan Newman-#12 Alltel Dodge led, disaster struck on lap 11 when Tony Stewart-#20 Home Depot/Six Flags Chevy spun right into Kasey Kahne-#9 UAW/Dodge Dealers Dodge. Stewart finished 33rd and Kahne was 38th and he's now ninth in the points. Rookie David Ragan-#06 Sharp Aquos Ford spins on lap 22. Some guys pit but Newman stays out to lead but is passed by Carl Edwards-#99 Office Depot Ford on lap 29. Ragan spins again but hits the wall this time on lap 48. Most guys pit but David Stremme-#40 Coors Light Dodge & Elliott Sadler-#19 UAW/Dodge Dealers Dodge stay out. Sadler takes the lead on lap 54. Matt Kenseth-#17 DeWalt Tools Ford uses fresh tires to lead on lap 74.
Kyle Busch-#5 Kellogg's Chevy is running third on lap 106 when his engine blows and he finishes 40th. Two bad races in a row and he's done. Everyone pits during a debris caution on lap 164. Matt Kenseth has a long pit stop when his right front tire is out of the pit box. The long pit stop puts him back to 19th. Reed Sorenson-#41 Target Dodge leads. Stanton Barrett#61 Oak Glove Dodge breaks his track bar and crashes on lap 204. Most guys pit but Greg Biffle-#16 National Guard Ford stays out to lead.
Green flag pit stops begin when Biffle pits on lap 264 and gives up the lead to Matt Kenseth. Scott Riggs-#10 Valvoline Dodge hits the wall on lap 297. This leaves a bucnch of guys who already pitted a lap down. Kenseth still leads. The turning point of the race comes when JJ Yeley-#18 Interstate Batteries Chevy spins out on lap 322. Most of the leaders pit during the caution because none of them had enough fuel to finish. Kenseth, Kurt Busch-#2 Miller Lite Dodge & Reed Sorenson stay out. Kenseth & crew chief Robbie Reiser question that decision. It's the same strategy they used to win the spring Dover race. Jeff Burton-#31 Cingular Chevy is fourth.
Dale Earnhardt Jr-#8 Budweiser Chevy is having a problem but he's not sure what it is. He drops back and finishes 21st. On lap 357, Jeff Burton moves into second and is closing on Matt Kenseth. Kevin Harvick's-#29 GM Goodwrench Chevy good fortune runs out with engine failure on lap 366. He finishes 32nd. After a long battle, Burton passes Kenseth for the win on lap 394. Then Kenseth and Reed Sorenson both run out of fuel. Kenseth says "Guys, this was stupid."
Congratulations to Jeff Burton, crew chief Scott Miller and car owner Richard Childress. It was Burton'e first win in almost five years and gives him a six point lead over third place finisher Jeff Gordon. Big top ten finishes for Martin Truex Jr, Bobby Labonte & Clint Bowyer. The Nextel Cup & Busch Series guys are in Kansas next week. Here's the top ten of the race.
1.31/Jeff Burton/Cingular/Chevy/Richard Childress
2.99/Carl Edwards/Office Depot/Ford/Jack Roush
3.24/Jeff Gordon/Dupont/Chevy/Rick Hendrick
4.2/Kurt Busch/Miller Lite/Dodge/Roger Penske
5.16/Greg Biffle/National Guard/Ford/Jack Roush
6.1/Martin Truex Jr/Bass Pro Shops/Chevy/Dale Earnhardt Inc.
7.43/Bobby Labonte/Cheerios/Dodge/Petty Enterprises
8.07/Clint Bowyer/DirecTV/Chevy/Richard Childress
9.11/Denny Hamlin/FedEx/Chevy/Joe Gibbs
10.17/Matt Kenseth/DeWalt Tools/Ford/Jack Roush