Saturday, April 12, 2008

LIVE Blog Tonight!

I've wanted to try a LIVE race log for a while, so I figured no better time than now to blog about tonight's race in Phoenix. Television coverage apparently begins at 8 p.m., so who knows when the green flag will actually drop. Anyway, expect periodic updates and commentary on the race. Feel free to follow along and make your own comments during the race.

Subway 500 Results
1. Jimmie Johnson
2. Clint Bowyer
3. Denny Hamlin
4. Carl Edwards
5. Mark Martin
6. Jeff Burton
7. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
8. Martin Truex Jr.
9. Greg Biffle
10. Kyle Busch

(12:08 a.m.) Johnson throttled back to a turtle-like pace to stretch fuel mileage and take his first victory of the season at Phoenix. Under the urging of crew chief Chad Knaus to "back it way down," Johnson did not pit for fuel at the end of the race and delivered Hendrick's first win of the season. Despite Knaus' warning, Johnson had plenty in the tank to pull off a wicked burnout, but needed a wrecker to take him to victory lane. Clint Bowyer also did not pit and finished second.

(12:00 a.m.) We've crossed into Sunday morning with 15 laps to go and the fuel strategy is picking up. Martin and Johnson, running first and second, are expected to run out with a few laps to go, while Earnhardt certainly will have to pit soon. Who will stretch and who will pit for a splash 'n go? Hamlin pits first and takes two tires. Stewart comes in for gas and stalls it. Junior pits at Lap 11 and Martin comes in a lap later and takes tires, giving the lead to Johnson.

(11:50 p.m.) Martin swoops underneath Earnhardt and takes the leads. He drives away as the handling has fallen off Junior's car. He's easily bypassed by Denny Hamlin and picked off by Jimmie Johnson for third place. With 30 laps to go, all the cars will have to make one more pit stop for fuel.

(11:32 p.m.) 8s are wild as Earnhardt and Martin battle for the lead with 70 to go. Martin is all over Junior's bumper, trying to pass high and low, but can't yet make it by. Farther back in the pack, Carl Edwards is charging back to the front and takes 10th position.

(11:08 p.m.) David Regan taps the wall ever so slight, prompting Michael McDowell to scoff at NASCAR for throwing a caution after he blew up the TMS wall last week. FOX pulls out "Digger The NASCAR Gopher" and Larry McReynolds tells him to run back into his hole for the 253rd time this season. Cars hit pit road and Earnhardt leads as they go back racing on Lap 204.

(10:55 p.m.) Mark Martin takes the point and battles Martin Truex and Dale Earnhardt. Martin has been stalking the leaders all race, but finally takes the lead at Lap 172. Meanwhile, Elliot Sadler is interviewed by Dick Bergren about why he's out of the race. He tells Bergren he's disappointed about the blown engine, but satisfied with running in midpack. Wow, talk about high expectations

(10:36 p.m.) Chip Ganassi is downing Tums as Reed Sorenson crashes after blowing a tire and Juan Montoya gets spun out by Robby Gordon. Dario Franchitti now proudly carries the Ganassi Racing colors. Johnson pits and surrenders the lead to Earnhardt as they go back to racing on Lap 154

(10:26 p.m.) Ryan Newman blew up and spewed oil all over the track, triggering a multi-car pileup. That brought out the red flag and restarted at Lap 138. Enjoyable ride home from work listening to the race on the radio, but it makes me wonder why the only MRN Radio affiliate is in Weirton, W.Va. (where they apparently advertise for the local strip bar every caution flag)

(10:03 p.m.) Joe Nemecheck nails the Turn 1 wall and brings out the third caution of the night around Lap 120. Edwards pitted just before so he's in trouble. Johnson wins the race off pit road and is followed by Earnhardt.

(9:50 p.m.) We're one-third of the way through the race at Lap 104 and nothing much has changed. Cars just going around in cricles with the setting sun. Johnson still leads as he and second-place Edwards are running away from the pack. Earnhardt runs third.

(9:20 p.m.) Matt Kenseth pops the Turn 4 wall while running in last place, brining out the second caution around Lap 40. It's feeding time at the zoo as all cars, except Dave Blaney, pit for tires. Johnson and Edwards make minor contact while coming out of their pit stalls, but it's Newman who beats everyone off pit road. Johnson quickly gobbles him up shortly after the restart on Lap 51.

(9:10 p.m.) Looks like they're plate-racing as it's two-wide for three rows back. Newman holds off Carl Edwards at Lap 23, but now Jimmie Johnson and Kyle Busch are challenging for the lead. Newman led the first 30 laps, but Johnson takes the point and has a comfortable lead.

(8:55 p.m.) FOX execs are obviously tired of Robinson Cano fouling off pitches, so they switch over to the race just in time to miss the green flag. The pole-sitter, Ryan Newman, leads early. As for Cano, he apparently wants to watch the race, too, so he grounds out to end the game: Red Sox 4 - Yanks 3.

(8:29 p.m.) We interrupt your previously scheduled NASCAR pre-race show with ... baseball? No big deal, I guess, unless Jonathan Papelbon gives up a 9th inning homer to send this game into extra innings. Then FOX would really have to decide where its bread is buttered.

(7:46 p.m.) Heavy rains in Boston delays the finish of the BoSox/Yanks game, thus forcing FOX to begin its pre-race coverage a little early. This will be interesting to see how FOX crams all that Dale Jr. and Hendrick coverage into a petite 2-hour pre-race show.

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