2006 Checker Auto Parts 500

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2006 Checker Auto Parts 500 Presented by Pennzoil
Race details
Race 35 of 36 in the 2006 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series season
Race logo of the 2006 Checker Auto Parts 500
Race logo of the 2006 Checker Auto Parts 500
Date November 12, 2006 (2006-November-12)
Location Phoenix International Raceway (Phoenix, Arizona, U.S.A.)
Course Permanent racing facility
1.000 mi (1.609 km)
Distance 312 laps, 312 mi (502 km)
Weather Temperatures reaching a maximum of 80.1 °F (26.7 °C); wind speeds up to 8 miles per hour (13 km/h)[1]
Average speed 96.131 miles per hour (154.708 km/h)
Pole position
Driver Jeff Gordon Hendrick Motorsports
Time 26.773
Most laps led
Driver Kevin Harvick Richard Childress Racing
Laps 252
No. 29
Kevin Harvick
Richard Childress Racing
Television in the United States
Network NBC
Announcers Bill Weber
Benny Parsons
Wally Dallenbach

The 2006 Checker Auto Parts 500 Presented by Pennzoil was a NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series racing event that took place on November 12, 2006, at Phoenix International Raceway in Phoenix, Arizona, U.S.A.[2][3][4]

The traditional pre-race ceremonies were held with the showing of the national colors along with the invocation service from a local minister. One of country music's top ten recording artists of 2006, Taylor Swift, sang the national anthem prior to the racing event.[5] The green flag was officially waved at 2:35 p.m. and the checked flag was waved at approximately 5:49 p.m.[6] This would be the final race in the entire history of the NASCAR Cup Series where the entire (43-car) grid was born in the United States of America.[2] Colombian native Juan Pablo Montoya and Australian driver Marcos Ambrose would become the foreigners that would consistently make the racing grid for all the future NASCAR Cup Series races along with limited degrees of success by Scottish IndyCar driver Dario Franchitti.

Events held alongside the 2006 Checker Auto Parts 500 on the same weekend include the Casino Arizona 150 (NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series) and the Arizona Travel 200 (NASCAR Busch Series).


Brandon Whitt would "earn" the last-place finish in this race due to a rear end issue on lap 123 of 312.[2][3][4][7] Kevin Harvick defeated Jimmie Johnson by a ¼ of a second in front of 106,000 people after three hours and fourteen minutes of racing action.[2][8] There were 12 lead changes in addition to ten caution flag waved by NASCAR for 58 laps.[2][4][7] There was at least one red flag in the race; it was waved due to a multi-car accident on lap 305.[9] Jeff Gordon qualified for the pole position with a speed of 134.646 miles per hour (216.692 km/h) while the average speed of the race was 96.131 miles per hour (154.708 km/h).[2][4][7]

The other finishers in the top ten were: Denny Hamlin, Jeff Gordon, Carl Edwards, Mark Martin, Kasey Kahne, Kurt Busch , Dale Earnhardt, Jr., and Jeff Burton.[2][3][4][7] Now-retired drivers Kyle Petty and Dale Jarrett also participated in this race during their twilight years.[2][3][4] Seven drivers failed to make the race while Robby Gordon was sent to the back of the grid due to an engine replacement.[2] Kyle Busch failed to finish in the top ten in his Hendrick Motorsports #5 Chevrolet Monte Carlo machine.[2][3][4][7]

Drivers were racing for a prize bounty of $4,892,924 ($5,724,026.48 when adjusted for inflation) with Jimmie Johnson being ahead of Matt Kenseth by a mere 17 points.[6] While Tony Stewart scored more points than the top ten drivers, the best result that he could come up with in the 2006 NASCAR Cup Series season would be eleventh place in the drivers' championship standings.[6] The "Chase for the Cup" formula at that time had the best ten drivers compete for the championship - as opposed to 16 in today's formula.

2006 Checker Auto Parts 500
Tony Stewart (of Joe Gibbs Racing) is getting involved in a close battle for position against several other drivers.
In this unlucky moment of the race, driver Robby Gordon spins out in front of Kyle Petty and Ken Schrader
Tony Stewart (of Joe Gibbs Racing) is getting involved in a close battle for position against several other drivers. 

Standings after the race[edit]

Pos Driver Points[2]
1 Jimmie Johnson 6332
2 Matt Kenseth 6269
3 Denny Hamlin 6242
4 Kevin Harvick 6242
5 Dale Earnhardt, Jr. 6217


Preceded by
2006 Dickies 500
NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Season
Succeeded by
2006 Ford 400