Jimmie Johnson who started in the 21st position quickly made his way through the field and after just 40 laps into the race was up to the 4th position. Jeff Gordon who started in 32nd position had made his way up to the 9th position within that same time. On lap 53 Johnson lost the tread of his tire (thank goodness for the inner liner which at some tracks they don't use) and slowed causing the field to back up resulting in a huge multi car pileup. Johnson sustained minor damage and his car's performance wasn't hurt.
Jeff Gordon was taken out early in the race when Tony Raines got loose and ran Gordon into the wall which then sent him sliding into the infield and then back across the track where he collected Allmendinger who collided with Gordon with such impact that it lifted his car off of the ground. Sorry about my low quality pics below. 😛 This was really a scary hit and I was relieved to see him get out of the car okay afterwards. All of the safety equipment that NASCAR mandates are really the best innovations in the sport making the races safer for drivers as well as fans in the stands. After the death of Dale Sr. in February 2001 many additions to help restrain the driver in the cockpit at times of impact were introduced into the sport.
That's the back of Gordons car above on the left (his spoiler is yellow) as he's turned backwards and lifted into the air by the impact of Allmendinger's car after he slid back onto the track giving Allmendinger nowhere to go. 😦
1. Casey Mears 2. J.J. Yaley 3. Kyle Petty 4. Reed Sorenson 5. Brian Vickers.
Mears who drives for Hendrick Motorsports along with team mates Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, and Kyle Busch was 34th in the points prior to the race and had never won a Cup race. This was Kyle Petty's best finish in years. Seeing Petty up there in the top 5 really made me smile! Brian Vickers' car looked like it had raced at Bristol Motor Speedway instead of LMS as it was all beaten up. Quite a sight seeing his car in it's condition finish in the 5th spot! After having to pit for fuel under green Johnson finished in the 10th spot while Gordon came away with yet another DNF at LMS ending up in the 41st spot. This marks his 5th DNF I think, in a row at LMS but with his huge points lead in the standings he's still in first place while Johnson remains in 2nd place 132 points behind Gordon.
Congratulations to Casey Mears on his first well deserved win in the Cup series! Did I mention that he drives for Hendrick Motorsports too. Even with Gordon suffering a wreck not of his own making and Johnson suffering a pit road mishap, another Hendrick Motorsports team mate comes through and makes it to victory lane! Hendrick Motorsports continues its domination! What a season it's been so far. 🙂