Jimmie Johnson celebrates in Victory Lane after winning his first race at Richmond, fourth on the season and 27th overall
in the Nextel Cup series. More pix in the Photo Gallery at the end of this page.
Johnson Gets Fourth 07 Win at Richmond
RICHMOND, VA. (May 6, 2007) - Jammin' Jimmie Johnson took the lead when it counted Sunday at Richmond International Raceway to win the 400-lap NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race.
Johnson ran near the front throughout the sunny afternoon and took the lead for good shortly after a restart with 20 laps remaining.
A capacity crowd of more than 110,000 watched Johnson's teammate Jeff Gordon lead most of the first half of this postponed event originally scheduled for Saturday night.
Johnson passed another lesser-known teammate, Busch, for the win with 19 laps to go. Denny Hamlin was third and Gordon fourth. Kurt Busch was fifth.
Ryan Newman was sixth, passing Kevin Harvick on the final lap. Harvick was the class of the field at one point but a pit road accident damaged the right front of his car and slowed it down. Harvick, nonetheless, held on for his seventh-place finish. Tony Stewart was eighth. Rounding out the top 10 were Clint Bowyer and Matt Kenseth, neither of which contended for the victory.
Fan favorite Dale Earnhardt Jr., wound up 13th after a collision with Jeff Green.
Greg Biffle, also involved in a bumping accident with Green, was a contender before the incident but had to settle for 19th spot.
Fourteen caution periods slowed the pace in a race where side by side racing in NASCAR's new, winged cars was commonplace.
The victory was Johnson's fourth of the year and owner Rick Hendricks' seventh of the season.
The first caution of the day fell before the cars had time to lay some rubber down on the “green” track.
Saturday night's rain washed the track clean and Johnny Sauter's Chevy slid up the track into the Chevy driven by Casey Mears. Only three laps had been completed.
Gordon, starting from the pole position, stayed in front until a NASCAR-mandated competition caution slowed the field after 40 laps. Due to the rain and postponement of the race until Sunday afternoon, NASCAR officials told the teams prior to the start a caution would be waved at 40 laps to allow teams to check their tire wear and refuel.
Tony Raines, driving for former NFL stars Roger Staubach and Troy Aikman, pushed his Chevy to the front right after a Jamie McMurray-caused caution but Gordon went back to the front a lap later.
Elliott Sadler brought the caution out on lap 102, spinning through the tri-oval. Gordon once again came out of the pits in front.
Just a few laps later, Sauter and Juan Pablo Montoya got together bringing out another caution flag.
On lap 130, Daytona 500 winner Harvick went to the front ahead of Hamlin and Gordon. Johnson and Biffle were running fourth and fifth at the time. Hamlin took a turn up front at 162 laps and Kurt Busch had moved past Jeff Gordon into fourth place.
Harvick passed Hamlin again on lap 172. Harvick's teammate Jeff Burton pulled behind pit wall with engine problems shortly before the 200-lap halfway point. Harvick held the lead with Hamlin, Busch, Johnson and Gordon right behind. Kyle Busch was running sixth, Biffle seventh, Green eighth, Martin Truex Jr., ninth and Earnhardt Jr., 10th.
The NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series top 12 now looks like this: Gordon, Johnson, Kenseth, Hamlin, Burton , Kyle Busch, Stewart, Harvick, Kurt Busch, Bowyer, Carl Edwards and Earnhardt Jr.
Complete race results and point standings in the Related news section below...
Checkered Flag Fast Facts
Green Flag Fast Facts
- Jimmie Johnson won the Crown Royal presents The Jim Stewart 400, his 27th victory in 193 NASCAR
NEXTEL Cup Series races.
- This is his fourth victory and seventh top-10 finish in 2007 – all top-fives. He has accumulated a potential
40 bonus points should he qualify for the 2007 Chase for the NEXTEL Cup.
- This is his first victory and second top-10 finish in 11 races at Richmond.
- Kyle Busch (second) posted his fifth top-10 finish in as many races at Richmond.
- This is the fourth 1-2 finish for Hendrick Motorsports this season. The previous three involved Johnson
and Jeff Gordon. It is the third consecutive victory for Hendrick.
- Denny Hamlin (third) posted his second top-10 finish in three races at his hometown track. He finished
second in this race in 2006.
- This was just the second daytime race at Richmond since 1999. In May 2002, the race was also
postponed until Sunday afternoon.
The Race: Crown Royal Presents the Jim Stewart 400
The Place: Richmond International Raceway
The Date: Saturday, May 5
The Time: 8:30 p.m./AT; 7:30 p.m./ET
TV: FOX, 8 p.m./AT; 7 p.m./ET
The Track: .75 miles
The Distance: 300 miles; 400 laps
The Purse: $5,032,994
2006 Winner: Dale Earnhardt Jr.
2006 Pole: Greg Biffle
Pre-Race On-Track Schedule (local/ET time): Friday—Practice, 11:15 a.m. - 1 p.m.; Qualifying, 6:10 p.m.
Pre-Race Point Standings: click here
Practice: Friday, May 4 (SPEED at Noon/AT, 11 a.m./ET)
Qualifying: Friday, May 4 (SPEED at 7 p.m./AT, 6 p.m./ET)
Pre-Race: Saturday, May 5 (SPEED at 6 p.m./AT, 5 p.m./ET)
Race: Saturday, May 5 (FOX/TSN at 8 p.m./AT, 7 p.m./ET) POSTPONED BY RAIN
Race Rain Date: Sunday, May 6 (FOX at 2 p.m./AT, 1 p.m./ET)
Richmond Race Postponed By Rain
RICHMOND, VA (May 5, 2007) - The Crown Royal Presents The Jim Stewart 400 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race scheduled for
Saturday night at Richmond International Raceway has been postponed until Sunday afternoon due to inclement weather.
On the 12th lap, as a light drizzle that grew stronger fell, NASCAR saw the forecasts for more rain coming true, and
ordered the cars to pit road. The next time they moved was to the garage, to wait to start all over at 1:15 p.m. Sunday.
It's the first time a Nextel Cup race at Richmond has been postponed since May 2002, when the event went off the
next day and Tony Stewart earned the victory.
Fox TV coverage of the sold out race is scheduled to start Sunday at 1 p.m./ET (2 p.m./AT), with the green flag expected at 1:15 p.m./ET (2:15 p.m./AT)
The track credential office, NASCAR registration, media center and press box will open at 9 a.m. The NASCAR NEXTEL Cup
Series garage will open at 10 a.m.
The race started under caution Saturday night but will be re-started from the very beginning on Sunday.
Qualifying Notes - Gordon on a Pole Roll...
Keys to Winning
- Jeff Gordon won the Bud Pole for the Crown Royal presents The Jim Stewart 400, lapping Richmond
International Raceway in 21.386 seconds at 126.251 mph.
- This is Gordon’s 61st Bud Pole 483 career NASCAR NEXTEL Cup races. He remains fourth on the all-time
Bud Pole winners list – nine behind third place Cale Yarborough (70).
- This is Gordon’s fifth Bud Pole and eighth top-10 start in 2007. He also started first at Texas Motor Speedway
when qualifying was canceled.
- This is Gordon’s fifth Bud Pole at Richmond. He has started from the top 10 in 23 of his 29 races here.
- The most recent driver to win three consecutive Bud Poles was Ryan Newman, who posted four in a row from
Oct. 16, through Nov. 7, 2004.
- Carl Edwards (second) posted just his third top-10 start of the 2007 season and his best since he won the
Bud Pole for the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway in 2005.
- Scott Riggs (third) has started from the top 10 in seven races this season, including each of the past three.
This is his best start since he started second at Homestead in 2006.
- Dale Jarrett failed to qualify, ending a streak of 424 consecutive races that dated to North Wilkesboro on Oct.
2, 1994. Other drivers that failed to qualify for this event include: Brian Vickers, Ken Schrader, Michael Waltrip,
Jeremy Mayfield, Kevin Lepage, and Mike Bliss.
Saturday night’s Crown Royal Presents the Jim Stewart 400 at Richmond International Raceway will be the fourth event featuring NASCAR’s new Car of Tomorrow. If it’s anything like the previous three races, fans can expect a highly competitive race with a tightly contested finish.
Richmond’s .75-mile layout makes it one of the drivers’ and fans’ most popular venues in NASCAR. Here are some keys to getting into Victory Lane Saturday night:
Richmond Green Flag Tidbits
- Use the information from last month’s NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series test. The teams went through a two-day test session at RIR April 3-4 and the teams that are able to transpose what they learned then into getting their car set up properly for the race should be running near the front most of the night.
- Teams will want to run well in the bottom lane, because that’s where they will have to pass.
- Green flag pit stops will probably occur, so good pit strategy is a must. Getting onto pit road during green flag racing can be tricky at RIR.
Photo Gallery - Sunday, May 6
- For the third straight weekend, NASCAR will place a VT logo on the cars in the area just to the right of the driver’s side
window net. RIR will honor the victims with a large VT logo in the infield grass. A VT flag will be delivered into the infield
during Saturday’s pre-race by a member of a professional parachute jumping team. Two NASCAR drivers who are Virginia natives –
NASCAR NEXTEL Cup competitor Ward Burton (No. 4 State Water Heaters Chevrolet – South Boston) and NASCAR Busch Series competitor
Eric McClure (No. 0 Hefty Chevrolet – Abingdon) will wear special VT helmets this weekend designed by Canadian artist David
- Jeff Gordon’s quest for his fifth NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series championship continues to move forward in high gear. Gordon, who
leads the standings by 203 points over second-place Jeff Burton, is riding a wave of momentum heading into this Saturday night’s
race at Richmond. He’s fresh off two straight wins at Phoenix International Raceway and Talladega Superspeedway, both
historical wins, and both coming from the Bud Pole. Sunday’s win at Talladega was the 77th of his NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series
career, moving him past Dale Earnhardt into sixth place on the series’ all-time win list. The 1998 season was the last time
Gordon won three or more consecutive races. He won a career-high 13 events that year – tying the sport’s seventh-best,
single-season win total – en route to claiming his third series title. Gordon has been dominant in the previous three Car of
Tomorrow races, finishing third at Bristol, second at Martinsville, and first at Phoenix. Gordon has two wins (1996, 2000),
four poles, 10 top-five and 16 top-10 finishes at Richmond. Gordon will be looking to reverse his 2006 performances at
RIR, however, as he finished 40th in last year’s spring race and 31st in the fall event.
- Virginia native Denny Hamlin (Chesterfield) will be sporting a FedEx helmet that was designed for him by 11-year-old
Children’s Hospital of Richmond patient Justin Griffith. It is the first helmet of the 11 that Hamlin will wear as part of
the FedEx “Wear Your Heart on Your Helmet” program and it was presented to him during a visit to the hospital last week.
At the presentation, FedEx made a donation of $25,000 to the hospital and then Hamlin joined the patients as they designed
their own helmets and raced R/C cars on the FedEx speedway. The 11 helmets will be designed by children’s hospital patients
and Make-A-Wish program participants in race markets throughout the 2007 season. Following the season, all of the race-worn
helmets will be auctioned off to benefit Victory Junction Gang Camp.
- Elliott Yamin, Richmond’s own “American Idol” contestant will perform the National Anthem prior to the Circuit City 250
Presented by FUNAI NASCAR Busch Series race Friday night and will sing “God Bless America” before the Crown Royal Presents
the Jim Stewart 400 Saturday night.
- Kurt Busch (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge) was a regular member of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series top 10 point standings during the
2004-05 seasons. The 2004 series champion enters this week’s competition 10th in points, marking the first time he’s been in the
top 10 since the end of 2005, when he finished 10th in the Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup. During the 2004-05 seasons, Busch was
in the top 10 for 70 of a possible 72 weeks. In 2004, he was in the top 10 for 35 of 36 weeks. In 2005, he fell out of the top
10 for one week – following the season’s 14th event – but rebounded the next week and stayed in the top 10 for the remainder
of the year. Last year was his first season with Penske Racing and he finished 16th in the final standings. Busch won the 2005
fall race at Richmond.
- David Ragan (No. 6 AAA Travel Ford) turned in a 17th-place finish at Talladega last Sunday to earn the Raybestos Rookie of the Race Award. Ragan trails Juan Pablo Montoya (No. 42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge) 100-96 in the Raybestos Rookie of the Year standings.
- Chevrolet increased its lead in the Manufacturers Championship race, thanks to a 1-2 finish by Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson at Talladega.
- For the second week in a row, Casey Mears/owner Mary Hendrick (No. 25 National Guard/GMAC Chevrolet) is tinkering on the bubble
spot of 35th in the car owner point standings. His DNF last Sunday at Talladega certainly didn’t allow him to improve his position.
Weekly in NASCAR NEXTEL Cup, the top 35 teams in car owner points are guaranteed starting spots for that week’s event. Outside the
top 35? That means you have to get into a race based solely on your qualifying speed. Another team to keep an eye on this
weekend is the No. 44 UPS Toyota, driven by former series champion Dale Jarrett and owned by Michael Waltrip. Currently 38th in the standings, Jarrett has used up all of his six allotted championship provisionals and must qualify on time for Saturday’s race. Jarrett won the series championship in 1999 and has competed in 424 straight NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series races, the third longest current streak among active drivers, trailing only Jeff Gordon (482) and Bobby Labonte (No. 43 Cheerios Dodge – 481). The last time Jarrett did not participate in a scheduled NASCAR NEXTEL Cup race was April 1, 1990 at Darlington.
- Dale Earnhardt Jr. (No. 8 Budweiser Chevrolet) hopes history repeats itself this Saturday night at Richmond International Raceway – the site of his last NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series victory. Last May 6 at the Crown Royal 400, Earnhardt took the lead on Lap 356 and held off Denny Hamlin (No. 11 FedEx Express Chevrolet) and Kevin Harvick to claim his lone victory in 2006 and his 17th career NASCAR NEXTEL Cup win. Earnhardt has three wins, seven top fives and nine top 10s at Richmond.
- Jim Stewart is not your ordinary race fan. In fact, the Houma (Ho-ma), La., native is making sports history this weekend,
becoming the first fan in the history of sports to have an event named after him. In one of the most unique sports promotions
ever, Stewart beat out more than 15,000 contestants from around the world to win a contest from race sponsor Crown Royal. Stewart had to submit his most “Crown-worthy” moment – one that is defined as a memorable moment or occasion deemed worthy of toasting with a Crown Royal beverage in a responsible manner. Stewart’s winning entry chronicled his moments growing up fishing with his father and later christening his own fishing boat with a toast to his father. Crown Royal is hosting a press conference Friday at 2:30 p.m. in the track’s media center to recognize Stewart.
- Richmond International Raceway will unveil some new additions to its facility this weekend. The new Commonwealth Grandstand, located in Turn 1, has 7,843 new seats, bringing the track’s capacity to 112,029. It is also 180 feet high – two feet higher than the control tower at Richmond International Airport and the tallest structure in surrounding Henrico County. Also new is the TORQUE Club, a members-only, 16,000-square foot entertainment space in the middle level of the Commonwealth Grandstand.
Jeff Gordon led the field to the green flag to start the race in front of a sold out crowd...
Gordon (24) and Dale Earnhardt Jr. (8) battle for position...
Jimmie Johnson crosses the finish line first to win the race...
Then celebrates with a smokin' burnout...
Photo Gallery - Friday, May 4
dale Earnhardt Jr. (left) and Elliott Sadler share a laugh during a break in practice at RIR...
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