After a very wet weekend on Saturday and Sunday the NASCAR Sprint Cup series hit the track on Monday afternoon.
Tony Stewart who won the pole on Friday led the field early in the race. With multiple quick cautions most of the leaders were on a different pit cycles.
The rhythm of the day was long green runs. Stewart fell off on pit cycles and defending race winner Jeff Gordon took over and dominated the race.
Early on Brian Vickers brought out the early cautions, twice losing right rear tires. He suffered damage on both of those incidents and ended up in the garage. Those early cautions mixed up pit strategy for most of the day.
In fact the race went through two green flag stops and in between all that some feelings were hurt.
Gordon and Johnson were battling for second when Johnson bounced off of Gordon causing a tire rub. Both drivers expressed being upset with each other over the radio. Gordon went on to take the lead back, but Johnson was forced on pit road to replace all four tires.
Gordon led 124 laps but didn’t end up in victory lane.
There were a lot of comers and goers on Monday. The race changed completely on lap 317. Gordon and Stewart were racing hard when they made contact. A push from behind from Carl Edwards sent Stewart into Gordon and caused a nine car pileup.
The drivers involved were A.J. Allmendinger who finished 13th, Scott Speed finished 16th, Joey Logano 28th,Jamie McMurray was 30th, Gordon finished 31st, Stewart finished 32nd, Carl Edwards, 33rd, Juan Pablo Montoya 34th, Paul Menard 35th and Clint Bowyer finished 36th.
This wreck took out nine cars total and only two returned to the track. Gordon and Stewart walked off together and Stewart took the blame for the wreck.
That changed the front of the field. With Jeff Burton in the lead and the Joe Gibbs Racing sitting in second and third, all of sudden it was anyone’s to win.
On the restart, Denny Hamlin and Burton battled for two laps but Hamlin was able to take the lead. Meanwhile, Kyle Busch took second as Burton scrubbed the wall. Johnson who had four fresh tires didn’t take off but as the laps winded down he was coming.
Johnson passed Busch for second but was unable to get to Hamlin in time. Hamlin has won two of the last three races.
The rest of the top 10 was Busch, Kurt Busch, Kasey Kahne, Mark Martin, Kevin Harvick, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Martin Truex, Jr. and Greg Biffle.
The points’ standings saw some changes the top five, Johnson, Matt Kenseth, Greg Biffle, Kevin Harvick and Jeff Gordon stayed the same. Behind them it was Ky. Busch moved up into sixth a gain of six positions, Earnhardt, Burton, Ku. Busch, Martin, Hamlin and Edwards round out the top 12.
The wreck cost Stewart and Bowyer the most. Bowyer dropped nine positions to 15th and Stewart dropped five to 14th.
Next week the series heads to Talladega, Alabama. This is one race where the drivers hold their breath the entire race and just want to finish the race.