2006 Golden Corral 500
|Race 4 of 36 in the 2006 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series season
|Date||March 20, 2006|
|Location||Atlanta Motor Speedway, Hampton, Georgia|
|Course||Permanent racing facility
1.54 mi (2.48 km)
|Distance||325 laps, 500.5 mi (805.476 km)|
|Weather||Temperatures reaching up to 59 °F (15 °C); wind speeds up to 8.9 miles per hour (14.3 km/h)|
|Average speed||144.098 miles per hour (231.903 km/h)|
|Driver||Kasey Kahne||Evernham Motorsports|
|Most laps led|
|Driver||Greg Biffle||Roush Racing|
|Television in the United States|
|Network||Fox Broadcasting Company|
|Announcers||Mike Joy, Darrell Waltrip and Larry McReynolds|
The 2006 Golden Corral 500 was the fourth race in the 2006 NASCAR Nextel Cup season which took place on March 20, 2006 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Rain showers forced the green flag to be moved back to the Monday. Television coverage moved to cable's FX channel for the race (with some exceptions).
Kasey Kahne sat on the pole with a speed of 192.553 mph, edging Ryan Newman by .002 seconds. Bill Lester qualified 19th in the #23 Waste Management Dodge Charger, becoming the first African-American to start a NASCAR Nextel Cup race since 1986. He finished 38th, six laps down.
For the first time during the season there were no extra laps at the end of the race. Last year's Atlanta winner, Carl Edwards eliminated himself from contention early. He damaged the front end of the 99 car after hitting Dave Blaney on pit road on lap 45 during a caution to address the stopped car of Kyle Busch. Bobby Labonte ran in the top 10 for the first 50 laps before his engine failed on lap 55. Another scary incident took place on pit road during the sixth caution of the day (laps 189-197), when Reed Sorenson hit John Slusher, catch can man for Robby Gordon's crew, as he pulled out of his pit stall. Slusher was attached to a backboard but treated at the infield care center.
Several rookies had good days at Atlanta. Paul Menard and Reed Sorenson finished in the top ten, and Denny Hamlin led 16 laps. He was forced to make an unscheduled pit stop because of a loose condition, and finished 31st.
On the track, the 9 car was near the front all day. Kahne took the lead from Greg Biffle with 79 laps to go. Despite a challenge from Mark Martin, Kahne was not seriously challenged down the stretch and visited victory lane for the second time in his career. Kahne was the first driver to win from the pole since Matt Kenseth in the 2005 Sharpie 500.
|3||26||Dale Earnhardt Jr.||8||Chevrolet||165||325||$138,841|
|10||15||Reed Sorenson *||41||Dodge||134||325||$89,225|
|15||5||J.J. Yeley *||18||Chevrolet||118||325||$109,050|
|19||35||Martin Truex Jr. *||1||Chevrolet||106||324||$92,608|
|27||16||Clint Bowyer *||7||Chevrolet||82||324||$78,060|
|31||7||Denny Hamlin *||11||Chevrolet||75||5||323||$70,125|
|33||38||David Stremme *||40||Dodge||64||322||$75,125|
|36||40||Brent Sherman *||49||Dodge||55||322||$66,055|