Sunday, October 7
UAW-Ford 500 winner Jeff Gordon celebrates in Victory Lane at Talladega Superspeedway on Sunday with his wife Ingrid and
three-month-old daughter, Ella. It's Ella's first visit to Victory Lane with her proud papa!!!
Gordon Regains Points Lead With Victory at Talladega
TALLADEGA, Ala. (October 7, 2007) - Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson laid back for two-third's of the UAW-Ford 500 at Talladega Superspeedway Sunday, then stormed to the front with just seven laps remaining to finish one-two in a wild scramble to the checkered flag.
Gordon, a four-time champion, and Johnson, NASCAR's defending champion, saved their best for last as both drivers hooked together and literally charged to the front of the free-wheeling pack at the end.
It was a typical every-man-for-himself Talladega finish as 200 mile an hour cars fanned out four abreast for the final run.
Tony Stewart, who did everything he could to win, was cut off in the scramble to the line after leading most of the final laps. He wound up eighth.
Trailing Gordon and Johnson were Dave Blaney, Denny Hamlin, Ryan Newman, Casey Mears, Kurt Busch, Stewart, Tony Raines and Reed Sorensen.
The day's biggest accident, which happened on lap 145, knocked several frontrunners out of contention. Something broke on Bobby Labonte's car and he slid suddenly up the track and into the wall in front of the field. The ensuing wreck involved Kyle Busch, Matt Kenseth, Paul Menard, Jamie McMurray, David Reutimann, Brian Vickers and David Ragan.
Several other accidents or mechanical problems took out drivers who might have been a factor in the "last man standing" finish, including Dale Earnhardt Jr., his teammate Martin Truex Jr., Michael Waltrip and Elliott Sadler.
Engine problems accounted for the DEI team woes. Waltrip and Sadler wrecked.
It was not a good day for many of the contenders in the Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup title. Besides Busch, Kenseth and Truex, Jeff Burton fell out with engine problems and Kevin Harvick had to nurse a sick engine to the 20th finishing position.
This white-knuckle race, traditionally one of the most exciting and nerve-wracking in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series, had a little added spice in its ingredients this time around.
The first seven qualifiers had to get in the race on speed and were set up for qualifying runs, not race runs. As a result, there was added nervous anticipation to what would happen at the start under those conditions.
Polesitter Waltrip, Labonte, Robby Gordon, Blaney and Vickers set the tone for the 188-lap event by swapping the lead every lap for the first six trips around the massive, 2.66-mile tri-oval.
By the 15th lap, two of the sport's most fearless drivers, Hamlin and Kyle Busch, were running one-two. Hard-luck hit Kenseth who had to pit with a tire problem.
The afternoon's first caution waved at 17 laps when John Andretti blew a tire and smacked the wall.
On the restart at 22 laps, Hamlin led with Kasey Kahne in tow. Sadler and Kevin Harvick lined up in the low groove and two lines of cars stretched 10 deep. At times, there were three lanes of fast cars, zipping around this incredible speedway like daredevils of the midway.
Crowd favorite Earnhardt roared to the front for the first time on the 32nd lap. The crowd of more than 150,000 fans remained on its feet 50 laps into the race as NASCAR's best drivers jockeyed for position.
Green flag pit stops started on lap 56 when Kenseth, Harvick and Blaney pitted. Both Blaney and Kenseth were penalized for speeding while exiting pit road. Earnhardt and the leaders came in on lap 60. The second caution of the afternoon fell at lap 63 when David Gilliland and Greg Biffle collided off turn four.
A quickie yellow allowed cleanup crews to clear the track and most of the frontrunners stayed on the track. On the restart at 66 laps, it was Hamlin up front with Stewart, Kyle Busch, Earnhardt, and Raines right behind him.
Joe Nemechek's day ended on the 85th lap when engine troubles sent him to the garage.
At 88 laps, Waltrip went to the front. A lap later, his teammate David Reutimann, a rookie, took the lead with drivers in pursuit going three and four wide, typical, flat-out, no-holds-barred Talladega racing.
Burton's day ended with engine failure on lap 92 and the caution flag slowed things down, giving the field a breather.
Some of the Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup contenders were content to hang back in the first half of the race, including Johnson, Gordon, Carl Edwards, Clint Bowyer and Kenseth
At the halfway point after the restart, the top 10 included leader Waltrip, Kahne, Earnhardt, Vickers, Sadler, Sorensen, Truex Jr., Jeff Green, Hamlin and Kyle Busch.
A few laps later, Stewart took the lead. The position-swapping was happening so fast, you couldn't keep up with it.
With his 80th NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series career win, Jeff Gordon takes over the championship points lead, nine points ahead of Johnson. Johnson slips to second with Bowyer 63 points behind Gordon in third. In fourth, Stewart is 154 points out of the lead while fifth-place Harvick trails Gordon by 202 points.
Complete race results and point standings in the Event Stats section below...
The last two laps saw Penske teammates Ryan Newman (12) and Kurt Busch (20) running the top lane at the front of the pack and
Hendrick teammates Jimmie Johnson (48) and Jeff Gordon (24) on the low line...
Checkered Flag Fast Facts
Practice: Friday, October 5 (SPEED at 1:30 p.m./AT)
Final Practice: Friday, October 5 (SPEED at 4:30 p.m./AT)
Qualifying: Saturday, October 6 (SPEED at 2 p.m./AT)
RaceDay: Sunday, October 7 (SPEED at 1 p.m./AT)
Countdown to Green: Sunday, October 7 (ABC at 2 p.m./AT)
Race: Sunday, October 7 (ABC at 3 p.m./AT)
- Jeff Gordon won the UAW-Ford 500, his 80th victory in 503 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series races.
- This is his fifth victory and 24th top-10 finish in 2007.
- This is his sixth victory and 16th top-10 finish in 30 races at Talladega Superspeedway.
- Jimmie Johnson (second) posted his fifth top-10 finish in 12 races at Talladega. It is his 19th top 10 of the
- Dave Blaney (third) posted his first top-10 finish in 14 races at Talladega and tied his career-best set at
Darlington in March 2003.
- Juan Pablo Montoya (15th) was the highest finishing rookie.
- Jeff Gordon retook the lead in the Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup and is now nine points ahead of
teammate Jimmie Johnson.
*AT is one hour ahead of ET, i.e. if it's 2 p.m./AT - it's 1 p.m./ET...
Event Stats PDF files unless otherwise noted
Friday First Practice
Friday Final Practice
Michael Waltrip will start Sunday's UAW-Ford 500 from the pole position - in his Toyota - the first of five Toyota's in the top
six starting spots...The complete starting lineup is in the Event Stats section below...
- Michael Waltrip won the Bud Pole for the UAW-Ford 500 with a lap of 50.648 seconds, 189.070 mph.
- This is his fourth Bud Pole in 686 career NASCAR NEXTEL Cup races.
- This is his first Bud Pole and first top-10 start 11 races in 2007.
- This is Waltrip’s first Bud Pole and 11th top-10 start in 43 races at Talladega Superspeedway.
- Dave Blaney posted the second-fastest qualifying time with a lap of 50.838 seconds, 188.838 mph. He
posted his second top-10 start in 14 races at Talladega and his seventh top-10 start in 27 races in 2007.
- Brian Vickers (third) posted his second top-10 start in seven Talladega races. It is his second top-10 start
in 19 races this season.
- Jacques Villeneuve (sixth) qualified for his career-first NASCAR NETEL Cup race.
- Waltrip was the fastest of the drivers required to make the field on time.
- David Reutimann (fifth) was the fastest qualifying rookie.
- Drivers that failed to qualify include AJ Allmendinger, Boris Said, Scott Riggs, Sam Hornish Jr., Jeremy Mayfield, Sterling
Marlin, Ward Burton and Kevin Lepage.
- See the complete starting lineup in the Event Stats section below.
Green Flag Fast Facts
The Race: UAW-Ford 500
The Place: Talladega Superspeedway
The Date: Sunday, Oct. 7
The Track: 2.66-mile oval
The Distance: 500 miles, 188 laps
The Purse: $5,384,639
2006 Winner: Brian Vickers
2006 Pole: David Gilliland
Pre-Race On-Track Schedule (local/CT time): Friday—Practice, 11 a.m.-12 p.m. and 2:45 – 3:30 p.m.; Saturday—Qualifying, 11:15 a.m.
Season To-Date Results & Point Standings: click here DO NOT REFLECT THIS WEEKS 25 PT PENALTY TO 99 CAR
Keys to Winning...
Talladega Superspeedway is the longest oval track on the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup schedule and is one of two tracks needing a restrictor plate. With the new car running for the first time, there are a lot of questions to be answered.
Green Flag Notes...
- Friday’s practice is key; Teams will need to find out how their cars react in big packs.
- Dynamics of the draft might change; The leaders may be more vulnerable to passing than in the past.
- Pit strategy is crucial; Crew chiefs need to make the right call and avoid pitting alone. Mistakes on pit road can cost you valuable track position.
Canadian Jacques Villeneuve qualified sixth for the UAW-Ford 500 - his first NASCAR start...
- Jacques Villeneuve (No. 27 Bill Davis Racing Toyota) will be attempting to make his first career start in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series this weekend. Villeneuve, a former Formula One and CART champion, made his NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series debut at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Sept. 22. He finished 21st, after starting seventh.
Villeneuve is attempting to follow Juan Pablo Montoya (No. 42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge) who followed a similar career path to the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series.
A tight pack of 17 cars during Friday practice for Sunday's UAW-Ford 500; Tony Stewart (pictured fifth inside line) was
fast car in both sessions. Practice speed charts are available in the Event Stats section below...
Jacques Villeneuve qualified sixth for his NASCAR NEXTEL Cup debut, and after a week filled with much debate about whether he should
make his start at Talladega - was swarmed by media. Villeneuve says he knows he's being watched and will have to be careful...
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check with the source to confirm.
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