2006 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series

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2006 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series season
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Champions | Seasons

The 2006 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup season started at Daytona International Speedway on Sunday, February 12 with the Bud Shootout and ended on Monday, November 20 with the Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The Chase for the NEXTEL Cup began with the Sylvania 300 on Sunday, September 17 at New Hampshire International Speedway. Tony Stewart, driver of the No. 20 Home Depot Chevrolet for Joe Gibbs Racing, was the defending series champion, but lost out in defending his championship this year, having finished outside of the top 10 in the points standings after the Chevy Rock and Roll 400. He did, however, claim a $1 million (US) bonus as the best finisher outside the Chase for the Nextel Cup drivers, winning three of the ten Chase races. By the end of the season Cheverolet had captured 23 victories, and 270 points to win the NASCAR Manufacturers' Championship over Ford.[1]

New cars[edit]

The 2006 season was the first for Ford's all-new Fusion, which replaced the Taurus both in NASCAR and in showrooms. Also, a new version of the Chevrolet Monte Carlo, called the Monte Carlo Super Sport (SS for short) debuted on the circuit.

Major changes for 2006[edit]

Several new drivers were in their first stint as regulars on the NEXTEL Cup circuit in 2006. Martin Truex Jr. raced the No. 1 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet for Dale Earnhardt, Inc. (DEI) after winning back-to-back Busch Series championships in 2004 and 2005. The No. 15 car, which was vacated by Michael Waltrip, is being driven by another rookie, Paul Menard, and is being sponsored by his father's Menards Home Improvement stores and ran a partial schedule of seven races.

The vacancy left following Rusty Wallace's retirement from the Penske No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge, was filled by former 2004 NEXTEL Cup champion Kurt Busch. Jamie McMurray took over for Busch in the No. 26 Sharpie / Crown Royal / Irwin Tools ride for Roush Racing which had previously been the #97. In addition, Mark Martin continued his "Salute to You" tour for an encore with new sponsorship from AAA and 3M, who replaced Viagra on the hood of the No. 6 Ford.

With the egressing of both McMurray and Sterling Marlin from Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates, Casey Mears became the senior driver and moved from the No. 41 Target Dodge to the Texaco Havoline No. 42 car. Reed Sorenson took the wheel of the No. 41 Target ride and David Stremme became the pilot of the No. 40 car sponsored by Lone Star Steakhouse and Coors Light. Marlin, who was the driver of the No. 40 a year ago, drove the No. 14 (formerly #10) ride for MB2 Motorsports, which was sold to resort magnate Bob Ginn during the season, with partial sponsorship from Waste Management. Scott Riggs took the No. 10 Valvoline-sponsored car and number to Evernham Motorsports, where they switched from Chevy to Dodge.

The No. 66 (formerly #0) car, now with full-time sponsorship from Best Buy Electronics stores and vacated by Mike Bliss, was driven by Jeff Green, leaving Petty Enterprises' fabled No. 43 Cheerios car open for former Joe Gibbs Racing driver (and former Cup champion when the series carried the Winston Cup Series banner) Bobby Labonte to step in, and new teammate/boss Kyle Petty has brought Wells Fargo, NTB and Schwan's to the No. 45 Dodge he drives, with Schwan's moving from the No. 49 ride. J. J. Yeley took the wheel of JGR's No. 18 Interstate Batteries ride and Denny Hamlin, who scored three top ten finishes at the end of last season in the No. 11 FedEx ride, earned the full-time seat for 2006, paying off with two wins and Rookie of the Year honors.

Waltrip and his sponsor, NAPA, left DEI for Bill Davis Racing and the new No. 55 car, but ownership was transferred to the newly merged (with the old No. 77 team) Waltrip-Jasper Racing in order to ensure that Waltrip made the first five races. Despite the change, the No. 55 still receives most of its equipment and crew from Bill Davis Racing. On January 23 in Charlotte, North Carolina as part of the annual Media Tour, NASCAR announced that the Toyota Camry will be added to the series in 2007, and become the first non-American brand to run in the premier series since Jaguar raced in the mid-1950s. Waltrip-Jasper Racing and BDR will become one of the first Toyota teams because, despite the fact that they currently race Dodges in Nextel Cup, they have done so without Dodge's support because BDR races Toyotas in the Craftsman Truck Series. The team recently hired Dave Blaney to take the wheel of the No. 22 Caterpillar Dodge. A third Toyota team, which will carry the No. 83, will be owned and sponsored by Red Bull Energy Drink, with Brian Vickers scheduled to drive. There were stories that they would also buy the No. 7 Jim Smith-owned team driven by Robby Gordon, who is sponsored by Red Bull, but those were denied. Bill Elliott, the 1988 series champion drove in an attempt for three races for Red Bull in a Dodge, as the 2006 Camry was not approved for racing. He didn't make any of the races in the ride, nor did former Champ Car driver A.J. Allmendinger.

Hall of Fame Racing, a new Nechnology. Terry Labonte, a two-time series champion, drove the car for the first five races utilizing the past champions provisional rule, as the team was new at the start of the season, and Tony Raines took over at Martinsville. Terry Labonte will officially wound down his career "Texas Style" in the No. 44 Hendrick Motorsports second Kellogg's ride following the Dickies 500 race in November in his home state at Texas Motor Speedway, finishing 34th.

Brent Sherman took over the No. 49 Dodge for BAM Racing with new sponsor Serta Mattresses and State Water Heaters, but was replaced by Kevin Lepage, who had started the season in the Peak Fitness Racing No. 61, which was the No. 66 in 2005. Ken Schrader moved to the famous Wood Brothers No. 21 Ford for Ricky Rudd which not only has the U.S. Air Force and Ford Motorcraft sponsorship, but also Little Debbie on board as a new sponsor, and the No. 07 car, sponsored by Jack Daniels with Blaney's departure, was piloted by Clint Bowyer for Richard Childress Racing.

Other moves saw Scott Wimmer moved to the Morgan-McClure Motorsports Aero Exhaust Chevrolet replacing Mike Wallace, Travis Kvapil moved from the Jasper team to the PPI Motorsports Tide Chevrolet team. Front Row Motorsports hired Chad Chaffin to run for Rookie of the Year honors and Randy LaJoie, who has been replaced by Chad Blount, to run full-time in its No. 34 and No. 92 teams, then bought Peak Fitness Racing's No. 61, suspending the operations of the No. 92 car. Chaffin planned to run for rookie of the year. Furniture Row Racing announced it would run full-time with Kenny Wallace in the No. 78 Chevrolet.

Competitive Edge Motorsports closed, Marathon Petroleum Company now to sponsor Kyle Petty. Jeremy Mayfield was released for Evernham Motorsports, Elliott Sadler was released from Robert Yates Racing. Sadler will drive the No. 19 for Evernham and David Gilliland will drive No. 38 of Robert Yates Racing taking effect at GFS Marketplace 400. Scott Wimmer parted from Morgan-McClure Motorsports, and in a game of musical drivers, 2002 Daytona 500 champion Ward Burton, who had been sitting on the sidelines, took over late in the season. Mike Bliss took over in the No. 49 for BAM Racing.

Teams and drivers[edit]

Complete schedule[edit]

List of full-time teams at the start of 2006.

Jimmie Johnson, the 2006 Cup Champion
Matt Kenseth finished second behind Johnson by 56 points
Denny Hamlin finished third in the championship and won Rookie of the Year
Car(s) Team No. Driver(s) Crew Chief
Chevrolet Dale Earnhardt, Inc. 1 Martin Truex, Jr. (R) Kevin Manion
8 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Tony Eury, Jr.
Front Row Motorsports 61 Kevin Lepage14 Greg Conner
Chad Chaffin (R)17 Mike Steurer
Brian Simo1 Craig Osbourne
Ted Christopher1
Derrike Cope1
Stanton Barrett1
Furniture Row Racing 78 Kenny Wallace31 Joe Garone
Travis Kvapil1
Max Papis1
Jimmy Spencer3
Haas CNC Racing 66 Jeff Green Harold Holly
Hall of Fame Racing 96 Terry Labonte7 Phillipe Lopez
Tony Raines29
Hendrick Motorsports 5 Kyle Busch Alan Gustafson
24 Jeff Gordon Steve Letarte
25 Brian Vickers Lance McGrew
48 Jimmie Johnson Chad Knaus
Joe Gibbs Racing 11 Denny Hamlin (R) Mike Ford
18 J. J. Yeley (R) Steve Addington
20 Tony Stewart Greg Zipadelli
Ginn Racing 01 Joe NemechekAll Ryan Pemberton
MB2 Motorsports Ryan Pemberton
14 Sterling Marlin Doug Randolph
Morgan-McClure Motorsports 4 Scott Wimmer33 Chris Carrier
P. J. Jones1
Eric McClure1
Ward Burton1
PPI Motorsports 32 Travis Kvapil34 James Ince
Ron Fellows2
Richard Childress Racing 07 Clint Bowyer (R) Gil Martin
29 Kevin Harvick Todd Berrier
31 Jeff Burton Scott Miller
Robby Gordon Motorsports 7 Robby Gordon Greg Erwin
Ford Robert Yates Racing 38 Elliott Sadler22 Tommy Baldwin Jr.
David Gilliland14
88 Dale Jarrett Slugger Labbe
Roush Racing 6 Mark Martin Pat Tryson
16 Greg Biffle Doug Richert
17 Matt Kenseth Robbie Reiser
26 Jamie McMurray Jimmy Fennig
99 Carl Edwards Bob Osborne
Wood Brothers Racing 21 Ken Schrader David Hyder
Dodge BAM Racing 49 Brent Sherman (R)6 Ron Otto
Jimmy Spencer1
Mike Wallace1
Kevin Lepage17
Chris Cook2
Mike Bliss7
Bill Davis Racing 22 Dave Blaney Kevin Hamlin
55 Michael Waltrip Derrick Finley
Chip Ganassi Racing
with Felix Sabates
40 David Stremme (R)34 Jeff Vandermoss
Scott Pruett2
41 Reed Sorenson (R) Jimmy Elledge
42 Casey Mears Donnie Wingo
Evernham Motorsports 9 Kasey Kahne Kenny Francis
10 Scott Riggs Rodney Childers
19 Jeremy Mayfield21 Chris Andrews
Bill Elliott1
Elliott Sadler14
McGlynn Racing 74 Derrike Cope Dom Turse
Penske Racing South 2 Kurt Busch Roy McCauley
12 Ryan Newman Matt Borland
Petty Enterprises 43 Bobby Labonte Todd Parrott
45 Kyle Petty Paul Andrews

Limited schedule[edit]

The following teams ran a partial schedule in 2006.

Car(s) Team No. Driver(s) Crew Chief Rounds
Chevrolet Competitive Edge Motorsports 51 Mike Garvey Barry Haefele 10
Cupp Motorsports 46 Carl Long Stan Hover 4
Dale Earnhardt, Inc. 15 Paul Menard Dan Stillman 10
Front Row Motorsports 92 Chad Chaffin (R) Teddy Brown 1
Randy LaJoie 1
Chad Blount 1
Johnny Miller 1
34 Randy LaJoie Wayne Hatfield 1
Carl Long 1
Greg Sacks 2
Mike Skinner 2
Johnny Miller 1
Joey McCarthy 1
Brian Simo 1
Kertus Davis 1
Haas CNC Racing 70 Johnny Sauter Bootie Barker 2
Hendrick Motorsports 44 Terry Labonte Peter Sospenzo 10
Kirk Shelmerdine Racing 27 Kirk Shelmerdine Phil Harris 6
Tom Hubert 1
Ted Christopher 3
Mike Skinner 1
Braun Racing 71 Jason Leffler Todd Lohse 1
Richard Childress Racing 33 Scott Wimmer Pat Smith 1
Stanton Barrett Racing 95 Stanton Barrett Shawn Parker 17
CJM Racing 72 David Gilliland Doug George 1
Dale Quarterley 1
Kertus Davis 2
Brent Sherman 1
Mike Skinner 4
Brandon Whitt 2
MB2 Motorsports 36 Bill Elliott Frank Stoddard 1
Michael Waltrip Racing 00 Bill Elliott Larry Carter 5
MBA Racing Hermie Sadler Micah Horton 18
Ford
Andy Belmont Racing 59 Andy Belmont Billy Owen 1
Hover Motorsports 80 Carl Long Stan Hover 1
Brent Sherman Racing 04 Brent Sherman 1
No Fear Racing 60 Boris Said Frank Stoddard 4
David Ragan 2
Roush Racing 06 Todd Kluever 7
David Ragan 2
Phoenix Racing 09 Jeremy Mayfield Marc Reno 2
Mike Wallace 6
Dodge
Arnold Motorsports 50 Larry Foyt Buddy Sisco 1
Bill Davis Racing 23 Mike Skinner Ricky Viers 1
Bill Lester 3
Team Red Bull 83 Bill Elliott 1
84 A. J. Allmendinger 2
Chip Ganassi Racing 30 Juan Pablo Montoya Steve Boyer 1
R&J Racing 37 Chad Blount Mark Tutor 1
Mike Skinner 5
Carl Long 3
David Murry 2
Bill Elliott 4
Brandon Ash Racing 02 Brandon Ash Ed Ash 2
Ware Racing Enterprises 30 Stanton Barrett Dan Kolanda 3
52 1
Larry Gunselman 2
Steve Portenga 1
Donnie Neuenberger 2
Robert Yates Racing 90 Marc Goossens Raymond Fox, Jr. 1
Stephen Leicht 1
Shepherd Racing Ventures 89 Morgan Shepherd Doug George 16
Kertus Davis 1

2006 Schedule[edit]

No. Race Title Track Date
Budweiser Shootout Daytona International Speedway, Daytona Beach February 12
Gatorade Duel February 16
1 Daytona 500 February 19
2 Auto Club 500 California Speedway, Fontana February 26
3 UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400 Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Las Vegas, Nevada March 12
4 Golden Corral 500 Atlanta Motor Speedway, Hampton March 20
5 Food City 500 Bristol Motor Speedway, Bristol March 26
6 DirecTV 500 Martinsville Speedway, Ridgeway April 2
7 Samsung/Radio Shack 500 Texas Motor Speedway, Fort Worth April 9
8 Subway Fresh 500 Phoenix International Raceway, Phoenix April 22
9 Aaron's 499 Talladega Superspeedway, Talladega May 1
10 Crown Royal 400 Richmond International Raceway, Richmond May 6
11 Dodge Charger 500 Darlington Raceway, Darlington May 13
NEXTEL All-Star Challenge Charlotte Motor Speedway, Concord May 20
12 Coca-Cola 600 May 28
13 Neighborhood Excellence 400 presented by Bank of America Dover International Speedway, Dover June 4
14 Pocono 500 Pocono Raceway, Long Pond June 11
15 3M Performance 400 Michigan International Speedway, Brooklyn June 18
16 Dodge/Save Mart 350 Infineon Raceway, Sonoma June 25
17 Pepsi 400 Daytona International Speedway, Daytona Beach July 1
18 USG Sheetrock 400 Chicagoland Speedway, Joliet July 9
19 Lenox Industrial Tools 300 New Hampshire International Speedway, Loudon July 16
20 Pennsylvania 500 Pocono Raceway, Long Pond July 23
21 Allstate 400 at the Brickyard Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Speedway August 6
22 AMD at The Glen Watkins Glen International, Watkins Glen August 13
23 GFS Marketplace 400 Michigan International Speedway, Brooklyn August 20
24 Sharpie 500 Bristol Motor Speedway, Bristol August 26
25 Sony HD 500 California Speedway, Fontana September 3
26 Chevy Rock & Roll 400 Richmond International Raceway, Richmond September 9
Chase for the Championship
27 Sylvania 300 New Hampshire International Speedway, Loudon September 17
28 Dover 400 Dover International Speedway, Dover September 24
29 Banquet 400 Presented by ConAgra Foods Kansas Speedway, Kansas City October 1
30 UAW-Ford 500 Talladega Superspeedway, Talladega October 8
31 Bank of America 500 Charlotte Motor Speedway, Concord October 14
32 Subway 500 Martinsville Speedway, Ridgeway October 22
33 Bass Pro Shops 500 Atlanta Motor Speedway, Hampton October 29
34 Dickies 500 Texas Motor Speedway, Fort Worth November 5
35 Checker Auto Parts 500 Presented by Pennzoil Phoenix International Raceway, Avondale November 12
36 Ford 400 Homestead-Miami Speedway, Homestead November 19

Races[edit]

NOTE: An asterisk (*) in each Top Ten finish denotes a rookie driver.

Budweiser Shootout[edit]

This non-points race, which involves the previous season's pole winners and past Shootout winners, was held February 12, 2006, at Daytona International Speedway after a postponement of one day due to rain, and in a major upset, rookie Denny Hamlin won the event. Even though he was classified as a rookie, Hamlin had qualified by winning the pole position for the Checker Auto Parts 500 held 11/13/2005 in Phoenix. Hamlin drove in only 7 Nextel Cup races in 2005.

Daytona 500[edit]

Main article: 2006 Daytona 500

Qualifying and Gatorade Duels[edit]

Jeff Burton won the pole for the race with a speed of over 189 mph, and would start alongside Jeff Gordon in an all-Chevy front row. Gordon would win the second Gatorade Duel (his third career victory in a Daytona qualifying race) after Elliott Sadler won in race 1, which was delayed by showers.

The race[edit]

The weather dawned cloudy and cold for the 48th running of "The Great American Race", as Jeff Burton led the field to the green at 2:45 pm, the latest scheduled start in the history of the race (so as to get a finish in prime time.) There were several lead changes in the early going en route to a race record of 32. Tony Stewart was a magnet for controversy, tangling with Jeff Gordon on lap 48 and Matt Kenseth on lap 106. Stewart was penalized for aggressive driving after the Kenseth incident, in which he blocked the 17 car down into the grass on the backstretch, which led to a Kenseth spin. Kenseth took matters into his own hands and was black flagged for hitting Stewart's car in retaliation on pit road. All three drivers involved in the incidents would repair their cars and get back into contention. Carl Edwards, a popular dark horse candidate for the Nextel Cup title, got off to a bad start when he was collected in a five-car incident on lap 80 that included Dale Jarrett, Kyle Petty and two other cars. Edwards finished 43rd and last.

Jimmie Johnson had one of the strongest cars all day, despite the suspension of crew chief Chad Knaus for rules violations. He took the lead with 10 laps to go just as the caution flag came out for an incident between Kurt Busch and Jamie McMurray. It set up a 10-lap battle for the win, which was extended into "overtime" when McMurray and Jeff Burton collided on lap 197. The green-white-checker finish was anti-climactic, as Casey Mears and Ryan Newman battled for second, leaving Johnson to take the victory. The race ended under caution just before Johnson crossed the line. The 48th Daytona 500 was the first win for the 48 car on a restrictor plate track and his 19th career victory.

One story of the race was Kirk Shelmerdine, who barely qualified for the race and finished 20th with a borrowed motor, donated tires, and a volunteer pit crew.

Top Ten Results: (Race distance extended to 203 laps/507.5 miles due to green-white-checkered rule.)

  1. No. 48 Jimmie Johnson
  2. No. 42 Casey Mears
  3. No. 12 Ryan Newman
  4. No. 38 Elliott Sadler
  5. No. 20 Tony Stewart
  6. No. 07 Clint Bowyer *
  7. No. 25 Brian Vickers
  8. No. 8 Dale Earnhardt Jr.
  9. No. 21 Ken Schrader
  10. No. 88 Dale Jarrett

Failed to qualify: Scott Riggs (#10), Kenny Wallace (#78), Scott Wimmer (#4), Mike Skinner (#23), Derrike Cope (#74), Larry Gunselman (#52), Chad Blount (#37), Larry Foyt (#50), Andy Belmont (#59), Randy LaJoie (#64), Morgan Shepherd (#89), Chad Chaffin (#92), Carl Long (#80), Paul Menard (#15), Stanton Barrett (#95)

Auto Club 500[edit]

Main article: 2006 Auto Club 500

Body styles and engines were the story in the second race of the Nextel Cup season, the Auto Club 500 at California Speedway on February 26. Kurt Busch won the pole (187.086 mph) using a 2004 Dodge Intrepid-styled body, as opposed to the new Dodge Charger, which his Penske Racing team believed was aerodynamically superior. Bobby Labonte and the No. 43 team ran the Intrepid as well. Others, including Evernham Motorsports drivers Jeremy Mayfield and Kasey Kahne, drove the Charger.

On race day, Greg Biffle dominated, leading 168 of the first 218 laps. Biffle won last year's spring race at California, finished second in the fall, and had won the Busch race the day before. Tony Stewart was the fastest Chevy in the early going. He overcame the car falling off the jack on a pit stop and an unscheduled stop for a flat tire to claw his way back among the leaders only to have an engine failure at lap 215, ending a string of 30 straight races without a DNF. Biffle continued up front until lap 226. He reported to the crew that his engine had lost a cylinder and a few laps later, he retired to the garage. This left Matt Kenseth to take the lead and only a late-race caution kept him from pulling away. Smoke and oil from the No. 4 car of Scott Wimmer brought out a yellow with three laps to go. Kenseth easily held off Jimmie Johnson in the green-white-checker finish to earn his 11th career win.

Top ten results: (Race distance extended to 502 miles/251 laps due to green-white checkered rule.)

  1. No. 17 Matt Kenseth
  2. No. 48 Jimmie Johnson
  3. No. 99 Carl Edwards
  4. No. 9 Kasey Kahne
  5. No. 31 Jeff Burton
  6. No. 26 Jamie McMurray
  7. No. 42 Casey Mears
  8. No. 18 J. J. Yeley *
  9. No. 6 Mark Martin
  10. No. 5 Kyle Busch

Failed to qualify: Travis Kvapil (#32), Hermie Sadler (#00), Derrike Cope (#74), Randy LaJoie (#34), Morgan Shepherd (#89)

UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400[edit]

After a week off, the Nextel Cup series returned to action at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on March 12, 2006 for the UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400. Greg Biffle clocked the fastest lap in qualifying at 172.403 mph.

In the third consecutive race to require a green-white-checker finish, Jimmie Johnson blew past Matt Kenseth on the last corner of the day to get his 20th career victory and second of the season. Kenseth looked like a good bet to cruise to victory before Denny Hamlin and Kenny Wallace wrecked three laps from the end, bunching the field and leading to the overtime finish. Before the lap 268 restart, Kenseth told his crew that his engine felt weak, but he was able to protect the lead until the last corner, where Johnson, who had not led all day, overtook the 17 car on the high side to take the win by a half a car length. This was the first time that a green-white-checkered finish was occurred in the first three races of the season.

Top Ten Results: (Race distance extended to 270 laps/405 miles due to green-white-checkered rule.)

  1. No. 48 Jimmie Johnson
  2. No. 17 Matt Kenseth
  3. No. 5 Kyle Busch
  4. No. 9 Kasey Kahne
  5. No. 24 Jeff Gordon
  6. No. 6 Mark Martin
  7. No. 31 Jeff Burton
  8. No. 16 Greg Biffle
  9. No. 42 Casey Mears
  10. No. 11 Denny Hamlin *

Failed to qualify: Stanton Barrett (#95), Hermie Sadler (#00), Brandon Ash (#02), Mike Skinner (#37), Morgan Shepherd (#89), Randy LaJoie (#92)

Golden Corral 500[edit]

There were no extra laps in race four of the Nextel Cup season, the Golden Corral 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway, but there was an extra day, as rain showers forced the green flag to be moved to Monday, March 20 at 11 am 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 No. 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. 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.

Top ten results:

  1. No. 9 Kasey Kahne
  2. No. 6 Mark Martin
  3. No. 8 Dale Earnhardt Jr.
  4. No. 24 Jeff Gordon
  5. No. 20 Tony Stewart
  6. No. 48 Jimmie Johnson
  7. No. 15 Paul Menard *
  8. No. 45 Kyle Petty
  9. No. 88 Dale Jarrett
  10. No. 41 Reed Sorenson *

Failed to qualify: Mike Garvey (#51), Stanton Barrett (#95), Chad Chaffin (#34), Derrike Cope (#74), Kenny Wallace (#78), Travis Kvapil (#32), Mike Skinner (#37), Greg Sacks (#13), Chad Blount (#92)

Food City 500[edit]

Main article: 2006 Food City 500

The fifth race of the season, the Food City 500, was held at Bristol Motor Speedway on March 26, 2006. Qualifying was cancelled on March 24 due to snow, sleet and rain, and the field was set with top 35 owners points from 2005, the Champion's Provisional (for Terry Labonte) and seven others, based on qualifying attempts in 2006. As a result, 2005 champion Tony Stewart sat on pole.

The race featured 18 cautions, and over 100 of the 500 laps were run under the yellow flag. Points leader Jimmie Johnson made contact with the car of Reed Sorenson which caused a flat tire and put the 48 car multiple laps down. He finished 30th. Lap 188 saw the most notable wreck of the first half of the race, as Clint Bowyer spun Dave Blaney, causing a chain reaction that collected David Stremme, Brian Vickers and Michael Waltrip and brought out a red flag to clean up.

Jeff Gordon spun Martin Truex Jr. out on lap 415 in an incident that collected Jeff Burton, Robby Gordon and J. J. Yeley. Kurt Busch, who had made up two laps lost earlier in the day due to tire problems, used the "bump-and-run" to nudge Matt Kenseth out of the lead with four laps to go. Jeff Gordon used the same tactic to take third, but on the final lap, Kenseth used the bump and run to spin Gordon out as Busch raced to victory. Gordon finished 21st and was involved in a shoving match with Kenseth on pit road after the race, for which he was put on probation and fined $10,000 by NASCAR.

The win was Busch's fifth in 11 career races at the Tennessee track and the fifteenth in his career. It was Dodge's first win at Bristol since Richard Petty in 1975.

Top ten results:

  1. No. 2 Kurt Busch
  2. No. 29 Kevin Harvick
  3. No. 17 Matt Kenseth
  4. No. 99 Carl Edwards
  5. No. 43 Bobby Labonte
  6. No. 6 Mark Martin
  7. No. 16 Greg Biffle
  8. No. 5 Kyle Busch
  9. No. 12 Ryan Newman
  10. No. 9 Kasey Kahne

Failed to make field: Chad Chaffin (#34), Mike Skinner (#37), Mike Garvey (#51), Derrike Cope (#74), Kenny Wallace (#78), Morgan Shepherd (#89), Chad Blount (#92).

DirecTV 500[edit]

Main article: 2006 DirecTV 500

The sixth race of the season, the DirecTV 500, was held at Martinsville Speedway on April 2, 2006. Jimmie Johnson won the pole.

Top ten results:

  1. No. 20 Tony Stewart
  2. No. 24 Jeff Gordon
  3. No. 48 Jimmie Johnson
  4. No. 8 Dale Earnhardt, Jr.
  5. No. 5 Kyle Busch
  6. No. 38 Elliott Sadler
  7. No. 29 Kevin Harvick
  8. No. 25 Brian Vickers
  9. No. 26 Jamie McMurray
  10. No. 10 Scott Riggs

Failed to qualify: Derrike Cope (#74), Kevin Lepage (#61), Kenny Wallace (#78), Jimmy Spencer (#49), Morgan Shepherd (#89), Hermie Sadler (#00).

Samsung/Radio Shack 500[edit]

The Samsung/Radio Shack 500, the seventh race of the season was held at Texas Motor Speedway on April 9, 2006. Kasey Kahne won the pole.

Top ten results:

  1. No. 9 Kasey Kahne
  2. No. 17 Matt Kenseth
  3. No. 20 Tony Stewart
  4. No. 11 Denny Hamlin *
  5. No. 29 Kevin Harvick
  6. No. 31 Jeff Burton
  7. No. 10 Scott Riggs
  8. No. 1 Martin Truex Jr. *
  9. No. 6 Mark Martin
  10. No. 43 Bobby Labonte

Failed to qualify: Brent Sherman (#49), Chad Blount (#92), Kenny Wallace (#78), Chad Chaffin (#34), Stanton Barrett (#95).

Subway Fresh 500[edit]

Main article: 2006 Subway Fresh 500

The Subway Fresh 500, the eighth race of the season was held at Phoenix International Raceway on April 22, 2006. Kyle Busch won the pole.

Top ten results:

  1. No. 29 Kevin Harvick
  2. No. 20 Tony Stewart
  3. No. 17 Matt Kenseth
  4. No. 99 Carl Edwards
  5. No. 07 Clint Bowyer *
  6. No. 9 Kasey Kahne
  7. No. 48 Jimmie Johnson
  8. No. 43 Bobby Labonte
  9. No. 31 Jeff Burton
  10. No. 24 Jeff Gordon

Failed to qualify: Chad Chaffin (#34), Mike Garvey (#51), Chad Blount (#92), Kevin Lepage (#61), Morgan Shepherd (#89), Steve Portenga (#52)

Aaron's 499[edit]

Main article: 2006 Aaron's 499

The ninth race of the season, the Aaron's 499, was scheduled to be held at Talladega Superspeedway on April 30, 2006. However, due to rain starting one lap prior to the green flag, the event was postponed until the following day. Television coverage was moved from Fox to FX except for several Fox stations which elected to carry the race. Elliott Sadler won the pole. The Aaron's 499 was one of five impound races this year in the NEXTEL Cup Series.

Top ten results:

  1. No. 48 Jimmie Johnson
  2. No. 20 Tony Stewart
  3. No. 25 Brian Vickers
  4. No. 31 Jeff Burton
  5. No. 26 Jamie McMurray
  6. No. 17 Matt Kenseth
  7. No. 2 Kurt Busch
  8. No. 99 Carl Edwards
  9. No. 10 Scott Riggs
  10. No. 7 Robby Gordon

Failed to qualify: Morgan Shepherd (#89), Stanton Barrett (#95), Mike Wallace (#09), Chad Blount (#92), Brent Sherman (#49), Kenny Wallace (#78)

Crown Royal 400[edit]

Main article: 2006 Crown Royal 400

The Crown Royal 400, NASCAR's tenth race of the season was held at Richmond International Raceway on May 6, 2006. Greg Biffle won the pole. This was the second impound race of the 2006 season.

Top ten results:

  1. No. 8 Dale Earnhardt Jr.
  2. No. 11 Denny Hamlin *
  3. No. 29 Kevin Harvick
  4. No. 16 Greg Biffle
  5. No. 5 Kyle Busch
  6. No. 20 Tony Stewart
  7. No. 99 Carl Edwards
  8. No. 12 Ryan Newman
  9. No. 14 Sterling Marlin
  10. No. 07 Clint Bowyer *

Failed to qualify: Kertus Davis (#89), Chad Chaffin (#34), Stanton Barrett (#95), Hermie Sadler (#00)

Dodge Charger 500[edit]

The Dodge Charger 500, the eleventh race of the season was held at Darlington Raceway on May 13, 2006. Kasey Kahne won the pole.

Top ten results:

  1. No. 16 Greg Biffle
  2. No. 24 Jeff Gordon
  3. No. 17 Matt Kenseth
  4. No. 48 Jimmie Johnson
  5. No. 8 Dale Earnhardt, Jr.
  6. No. 12 Ryan Newman
  7. No. 5 Kyle Busch
  8. No. 6 Mark Martin
  9. No. 31 Jeff Burton
  10. No. 11 Denny Hamlin *

Failed to qualify: Chad Chaffin (#61), Kenny Wallace (#78), Carl Long (#37), Chad Blount (#34)

NEXTEL Open[edit]

The first of two non-points doubleheader races was held May 20, 2006, at Lowe's Motor Speedway. Scott Riggs won the pole, and would go on to win after having led every single lap.

Top Ten Results

  1. 10- Scott Riggs
  2. 66- Jeff Green
  3. 25- Brian Vickers
  4. 11- Denny Hamlin*
  5. 18- J.J. Yeley*
  6. 40- David Stremme*
  7. 31- Jeff Burton
  8. 14- Sterling Marlin
  9. 7- Robby Gordon
  10. 21- Ken Schrader

NEXTEL All-Star Challenge[edit]

The second non-points race was held May 20, 2006, at Lowe's Motor Speedway. Kasey Kahne won the pole in the unique three-lap qualifier that included a required four-tire pit stop.

Top Ten Results

  1. 48- Jimmie Johnson
  2. 29- Kevin Harvick
  3. 24- Jeff Gordon
  4. 99- Carl Edwards
  5. 12- Ryan Newman
  6. 43- Bobby Labonte
  7. 88- Dale Jarrett
  8. 45- Kyle Petty +
  9. 8- Dale Earnhardt, Jr.
  10. 10- Scott Riggs §

+ – Was selected by fans in a poll to participate following NEXTEL Open.

§ – Winner of NEXTEL Open.

Coca-Cola 600[edit]

Main article: Coca-Cola 600

The twelfth points-paying race, the Coca-Cola 600, NASCAR's longest race in terms of distance, was run on May 28, 2006 at Lowe's Motor Speedway. Scott Riggs won the pole.

Top Ten Results:

  1. No. 9 Kasey Kahne
  2. No. 48 Jimmie Johnson
  3. No. 99 Carl Edwards
  4. No. 6 Mark Martin
  5. No. 17 Matt Kenseth
  6. No. 31 Jeff Burton
  7. No. 16 Greg Biffle
  8. No. 26 Jamie McMurray
  9. No. 11 Denny Hamlin *
  10. No. 41 Reed Sorenson *

Failed to qualify: Kevin Lepage (#49), Hermie Sadler (#00), Chad Chaffin (#61), Michael Waltrip (#55)+, Stanton Barrett (#95), Mike Garvey (#51), Chad Blount (#34), Carl Long (#37), Kirk Shelmerdine (#27), and Kertus Davis (#72).

+ Michael Waltrip failed to qualify, but he bought Derrike Cope's 43rd starting spot (#74).

Neighborhood Excellence 400 presented by Bank of America[edit]

The thirteenth race of the season, the Neighborhood Excellence 400 presented by Bank of America, was held at Dover International Speedway on June 4, 2006. Ryan Newman won the pole for this race.

Top ten results:

  1. No. 17 Matt Kenseth
  2. No. 26 Jamie McMurray
  3. No. 29 Kevin Harvick
  4. No. 31 Jeff Burton
  5. No. 5 Kyle Busch
  6. No. 48 Jimmie Johnson
  7. No. 9 Kasey Kahne
  8. No. 16 Greg Biffle
  9. No. 6 Mark Martin
  10. No. 8 Dale Earnhardt, Jr.

Failed to qualify: Carl Long (#34), Donnie Neuenberger (#52), Chad Chaffin (#61), and Stanton Barrett (#95).

Note: Tony Stewart was injured at Charlotte and needed relief from Ricky Rudd, who was taking a year off from racing.

Pocono 500[edit]

The Pocono 500, the fourteenth race of the season was held at Pocono Raceway on June 11, 2006. Denny Hamlin sat on pole and led 49 of the first 50 laps before crashing and coming back from 40th place to become the first rookie to win in 2006.

Top Ten Results:

  1. No. 11 Denny Hamlin *
  2. No. 2 Kurt Busch
  3. No. 20 Tony Stewart
  4. No. 25 Brian Vickers
  5. No. 17 Matt Kenseth
  6. No. 16 Greg Biffle
  7. No. 9 Kasey Kahne
  8. No. 10 Scott Riggs
  9. No. 31 Jeff Burton
  10. No. 48 Jimmie Johnson

Failed to qualify: Scott Wimmer (#4), Derrike Cope (#74), Stanton Barrett (#95), Greg Sacks (#34), Brent Sherman (#72)

  • This also Hamlin's first career Cup victory.

3M Performance 400[edit]

The fifteenth race of the season, the 3M Performance 400, was held at Michigan International Speedway on June 18, 2006. Kasey Kahne won the pole.

Top Ten Results: (Race called after 129 laps/258 miles because of rain.)

  1. No. 9 Kasey Kahne
  2. No. 99 Carl Edwards
  3. No. 8 Dale Earnhardt, Jr.
  4. No. 16 Greg Biffle
  5. No. 41 Reed Sorenson *
  6. No. 48 Jimmie Johnson
  7. No. 42 Casey Mears
  8. No. 24 Jeff Gordon
  9. No. 2 Kurt Busch
  10. No. 29 Kevin Harvick

Failed to qualify: Carl Long (#37), Mike Garvey (#51), Chad Chaffin (#61), Jimmy Spencer (#78)

Dodge/Save Mart 350[edit]

Race number sixteen on the 2006 schedule was the Dodge/Save Mart 350, the 100th road race in Cup history. The race was held at Infineon Raceway on June 25, 2006. Kurt Busch won the pole.

Top Ten Results:

  1. No. 24 Jeff Gordon
  2. No. 12 Ryan Newman
  3. No. 96 Terry Labonte
  4. No. 16 Greg Biffle
  5. No. 2 Kurt Busch
  6. No. 99 Carl Edwards
  7. No. 31 Jeff Burton
  8. No. 38 Elliott Sadler
  9. No. 60 Boris Said
  10. No. 48 Jimmie Johnson

Failed to qualify: Johnny Miller (#34), Chris Cook (#49), Travis Kvapil (#78), Stanton Barrett (#95), Brian Simo (#61)

Pepsi 400[edit]

The Pepsi 400, the traditional "halfway point" of the season, and the seventeenth race of the season, was held at Daytona International Speedway on July 1, 2006. Veteran driver Boris Said won the pole, his first on an oval. Boris Said had a great run as he ran in the top ten nearly the entire race. Because of a genius call by his crew chief with three laps to go Boris Said led the race but Tony Stewart got by Said for the win just before the white flag waved. Boris Said ended up fourth and emotionally said after the race that his performance was the highlight of his career. This race was the third impound race of the season.

Top ten results:

  1. No. 20 Tony Stewart
  2. No. 5 Kyle Busch
  3. No. 2 Kurt Busch
  4. No. 60 Boris Said
  5. No. 17 Matt Kenseth
  6. No. 38 Elliott Sadler
  7. No. 42 Casey Mears
  8. No. 26 Jamie McMurray
  9. No. 29 Kevin Harvick
  10. No. 07 Clint Bowyer *

Failed to qualify: Scott Wimmer (#4), Kevin Lepage (#49), Kenny Wallace (#78), Chad Blount (#34), Kertus Davis (#72)

USG Sheetrock 400[edit]

The USG Sheetrock 400, the Nextel Cup Series' eighteenth race of the season, was held at Chicagoland Speedway on July 9, 2006. Jeff Burton won the pole. Jeff Gordon won his second race of the year after the race was extended to 270 laps due to a green-white-checker finish after spinning out leader Matt Kenseth with three laps remaining.

Top Ten Results: (Race distance extended to 270 laps/405 miles due to green-white-checkered rule.)

  1. No. 24 Jeff Gordon
  2. No. 31 Jeff Burton
  3. No. 5 Kyle Busch
  4. No. 29 Kevin Harvick
  5. No. 8 Dale Earnhardt, Jr.
  6. No. 48 Jimmie Johnson
  7. No. 41 Reed Sorenson *
  8. No. 2 Kurt Busch
  9. No. 07 Clint Bowyer *
  10. No. 18 J. J. Yeley *

Failed to qualify: Paul Menard (#15), Kevin Lepage (#61), Chad Blount (#61), Brent Sherman (#04), Mike Garvey (#51), Derrike Cope (#74), Carl Long (#34)

Lenox Industrial Tools 300[edit]

The nineteenth race of the season, the Lenox Industrial Tools 300, was held at New Hampshire International Speedway on July 16, 2006. Ryan Newman won his second pole of the season. Kyle Busch got his first win of 2006 in a race extended by the green-white-checker finish rule in which a caution setting up the green-white-checker finish was extended due to another crash under caution involving Michael Waltrip and Robby Gordon just before the green flag was to have flown on lap 304.

Top Ten Results: (Race distance extended to 308 laps/308 miles due to green-white-checkered rule.)

  1. No. 5 Kyle Busch
  2. No. 99 Carl Edwards
  3. No. 16 Greg Biffle
  4. No. 6 Mark Martin
  5. No. 29 Kevin Harvick
  6. No. 11 Denny Hamlin *
  7. No. 31 Jeff Burton
  8. No. 9 Kasey Kahne
  9. No. 48 Jimmie Johnson
  10. No. 10 Scott Riggs

Failed to qualify: Ted Christopher (#61), Joey McCarthy (#34), Derrike Cope (#74), Morgan Shepherd (#89)

Pennsylvania 500[edit]

The twentieth race of the season, the Pennsylvania 500, was held at Pocono Raceway on July 23, 2006. Denny Hamlin took the pole in qualifying and went on to win the race, earning his second career win and sweeping both races at Pocono.

Top Ten Results:

  1. No. 11 Denny Hamlin *
  2. No. 2 Kurt Busch
  3. No. 24 Jeff Gordon
  4. No. 25 Brian Vickers
  5. No. 29 Kevin Harvick
  6. No. 48 Jimmie Johnson
  7. No. 20 Tony Stewart
  8. No. 43 Bobby Labonte
  9. No. 31 Jeff Burton
  10. No. 1 Martin Truex Jr. *

Failed to qualify: Greg Sacks (#34), Stanton Barrett (#52), Derrike Cope (#74), Jimmy Spencer (#78)‡

  • ‡ – Chad Chaffin originally qualified in the No. 61 car, but his time was disqualified due to failing a post-qualifying inspection. Spencer took his place in the grid as he was the fastest of the four who failed to qualify on time.

Allstate 400 at the Brickyard[edit]

The Allstate 400 at the Brickyard, the twenty-first race of the season and the second richest race on the Nextel Cup circuit, was held at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on August 6, 2006. Jeff Burton won the pole. Jimmie Johnson came back from 38th place to become the second driver to win both the Daytona 500 and the Allstate 400 in the same season, first accomplished by Dale Jarrett in 1996.

Top Ten Results:

  1. No. 48 Jimmie Johnson
  2. No. 17 Matt Kenseth
  3. No. 29 Kevin Harvick
  4. No. 07 Clint Bowyer *
  5. No. 6 Mark Martin
  6. No. 8 Dale Earnhardt, Jr.
  7. No. 5 Kyle Busch
  8. No. 99 Carl Edwards
  9. No. 20 Tony Stewart
  10. No. 2 Kurt Busch

Failed to qualify: Paul Menard (#15), Michael Waltrip (#55), Johnny Sauter (#70), Kevin Lepage (#49), Stephen Leicht (#90), Bobby Hamilton, Jr. (#04), Derrike Cope (#61)

AMD at The Glen[edit]

The AMD at The Glen, NASCAR's second and final road course race of the season and the twenty-second race on the season, was held at Watkins Glen International on August 13, 2006. Kurt Busch won the pole.

Top Ten Results:

  1. No. 29 Kevin Harvick
  2. No. 20 Tony Stewart
  3. No. 26 Jamie McMurray
  4. No. 7 Robby Gordon
  5. No. 99 Carl Edwards
  6. No. 40 Scott Pruett
  7. No. 38 Elliott Sadler
  8. No. 12 Ryan Newman
  9. No. 5 Kyle Busch
  10. No. 11 Denny Hamlin *

Failed to qualify: Chris Cook (#49), Max Papis (#78), Tom Hubert (#27), David Murry (#37), Dale Quarterly (#72), Johnny Miller (#92), Brandon Ash (#02)

  • This would be the last race for Sadler in the No. 38 M&Ms ride. As of August 20, he became the driver of the Everham Motorsports No. 19 Dodge.

GFS Marketplace 400[edit]

The GFS Marketplace 400, the twenty-third race of the season was held at Michigan International Speedway August 20, 2006. Jeff Burton won his fourth pole of the year. Matt Kenseth held off Jeff Gordon in the closing laps to earn his third victory of the season.

Top Ten Results:

  1. No. 17 Matt Kenseth
  2. No. 24 Jeff Gordon
  3. No. 20 Tony Stewart
  4. No. 9 Kasey Kahne
  5. No. 6 Mark Martin
  6. No. 8 Dale Earnhardt, Jr.
  7. No. 16 Greg Biffle
  8. No. 41 Reed Sorenson
  9. No. 11 Denny Hamlin *
  10. No. 19 Elliott Sadler

Failed to qualify: Scott Wimmer (#4), Mike Skinner (#34), Chad Chaffin (#61), Kenny Wallace (#78)

Sharpie 500[edit]

One of the most popular races on the circuit, the Sharpie 500, NASCAR's twenty-fourth race of the season was held on August 26, 2006 under the lights on the 0.533 mile Bristol International Speedway. Kurt Busch won the pole for this event. Matt Kenseth won his second straight NEXTEL Cup race and, along with points leader Jimmie Johnson, clinched a berth in the Chase for the NEXTEL Cup.

Top Ten Results:

  1. No. 17 Matt Kenseth +
  2. No. 5 Kyle Busch
  3. No. 8 Dale Earnhardt, Jr.
  4. No. 10 Scott Riggs
  5. No. 24 Jeff Gordon
  6. No. 11 Denny Hamlin *
  7. No. 99 Carl Edwards
  8. No. 12 Ryan Newman
  9. No. 31 Jeff Burton
  10. No. 48 Jimmie Johnson +

Failed to qualify: Chad Chaffin (#61), Hermie Sadler (#00), Mike Wallace (#09), Mike Skinner (#37). NOTE: Morgan Shepard (#89) and Stanton Barrett (#30) withdrew from qualifying.

+ – Clinched a spot in the Chase for the NEXTEL Cup.

Sony HD 500[edit]

The twenty-fifth race, and the penultimate race prior to the Chase for the NEXTEL Cup was the Sony HD 500, held at California Speedway on September 3, 2006. Kurt Busch won the pole.

Top ten results:

  1. No. 9 Kasey Kahne
  2. No. 8 Dale Earnhardt, Jr.
  3. No. 07 Clint Bowyer *
  4. No. 99 Carl Edwards
  5. No. 24 Jeff Gordon
  6. No. 11 Denny Hamlin *
  7. No. 17 Matt Kenseth
  8. No. 5 Kyle Busch
  9. No. 20 Tony Stewart
  10. No. 88 Dale Jarrett

Failed to qualify: Todd Kluever (#06), Kertus Davis (#34), Chad Chaffin (#61), Bill Lester (#23)

Chevy Rock and Roll 400[edit]

The twenty-sixth and final race prior to the Chase, the Chevy Rock and Roll 400 was held at Richmond International Raceway on September 9, 2006. Following this race, the top ten drivers in point qualified for the ten-race Chase. Richmond-area native Denny Hamlin won the pole in front of his hometown fans, and clinched a spot in the Chase for the NEXTEL Cup. This was the season's fourth impound race.

Top ten results:

  1. No. 29 Kevin Harvick +
  2. No. 5 Kyle Busch +
  3. No. 9 Kasey Kahne +
  4. No. 22 Dave Blaney
  5. No. 6 Mark Martin +
  6. No. 16 Greg Biffle
  7. No. 21 Ken Schrader
  8. No. 17 Matt Kenseth
  9. No. 31 Jeff Burton +
  10. No. 10 Scott Riggs

Failed to qualify: Derrike Cope (#74), Mike Wallace (#09), Michael Waltrip (#55), Hermie Sadler (#00), Ted Christopher (#27)

+ – Clinched spots in the Chase for the NEXTEL Cup.

Chase for the NEXTEL Cup[edit]

With the top ten positions all locked in, the playoff began.

In the top ten results, a • indicates one of the 10 drivers who made the Chase for the NEXTEL Cup.

Sylvania 300[edit]

The Sylvania 300, the first race in the 2006 Chase for the NEXTEL Cup, was held September 17 at New Hampshire International Speedway. Kevin Harvick won the pole and the race, becoming the overall points leader for the first time in his career.

Top ten results:

  1. No. 29 Kevin Harvick
  2. No. 20 Tony Stewart
  3. No. 24 Jeff Gordon
  4. No. 11 Denny Hamlin * •
  5. No. 25 Brian Vickers
  6. No. 19 Elliott Sadler
  7. No. 31 Jeff Burton
  8. No. 18 J. J. Yeley *
  9. No. 22 Dave Blaney
  10. No. 17 Matt Kenseth

Failed to qualify: Stanton Barrett (#30), Derrike Cope (#74), Carl Long (#46), Kenny Wallace (#78), Chad Blount (#34)

Dover 400[edit]

The Dover 400, the second race of the 2006 Chase, was held September 24 at Dover International Speedway. Jeff Gordon won the pole. Jeff Burton broke a 175-race winless streak after getting alongside Matt Kenseth several times between Laps 385–395. Kenseth ran out of fuel at the white flag.

Top Ten results:

  1. No. 31 Jeff Burton
  2. No. 99 Carl Edwards
  3. No. 24 Jeff Gordon
  4. No. 2 Kurt Busch
  5. No. 16 Greg Biffle
  6. No. 1 Martin Truex, Jr.
  7. No. 43 Bobby Labonte
  8. No. 07 Clint Bowyer
  9. No. 11 Denny Hamlin *•
  10. No. 17 Matt Kenseth

Failed to qualify: Morgan Shepherd (#89), Kenny Wallace (#78), Chad Blount (#34), Donnie Neuenberger (#52)

Banquet 400 Presented by ConAgra Foods[edit]

The third race of the 2006 Chase, the Banquet 400, was held October 1 at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, Kansas. Kasey Kahne won the pole. Tony Stewart captured his third win of the year despite running the last half of the final lap with no fuel.

Top ten results:

  1. No. 20 Tony Stewart
  2. No. 42 Casey Mears
  3. No. 6 Mark Martin
  4. No. 88 Dale Jarrett
  5. No. 31 Jeff Burton
  6. No. 99 Carl Edwards
  7. No. 5 Kyle Busch
  8. No. 25 Brian Vickers
  9. No. 07 Clint Bowyer *
  10. No. 8 Dale Earnhardt, Jr.

Failed to qualify: Scott Wimmer (#4), Kevin Lepage (#49), Chad Blount (#92), Carl Long (#46)

  • This marked the first time that NBC broadcast in 1080i (HDTV) provided by Sony as the official HDTV sponsor of NASCAR on NBC in the next 8 races of the chase until the 2006 Ford 400, which was the last race of NASCAR on NBC broadcast.

UAW-Ford 500[edit]

Considered the wild card track of the Chase, the fourth race on the 2006 Chase, the UAW-Ford 500 was held on the newly repaved Talladega Superspeedway Sunday, October 8, 2006. The repaving was the first on the 2.66 mile trioval since 1979. David Gilliland won his first career pole. This race was the fifth and final impound race of the season. Brian Vickers won his first Nextel Cup race when he was declared the winner after he, Jimmie Johnson, and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. made contact on the final lap.

Top ten results:

  1. No. 25 Brian Vickers
  2. No. 9 Kasey Kahne
  3. No. 2 Kurt Busch
  4. No. 17 Matt Kenseth
  5. No. 1 Martin Truex, Jr. *
  6. No. 29 Kevin Harvick
  7. No. 66 Jeff Green
  8. No. 43 Bobby Labonte
  9. No. 6 Mark Martin
  10. No. 99 Carl Edwards

Failed to qualify: Hermie Sadler (#00), Todd Bodine (#4), Kirk Shelmerdine (#27), Travis Kvapil (#32), Kevin Lepage (#34), Chad Chaffin (#61)

Bank of America 500[edit]

Race number five on the 2006 Chase, and the halfway point of the playoff, the Bank of America 500, was held on Saturday, October 14, 2006 at Lowe's Motor Speedway in Concord, North Carolina. The event is the only Saturday night race in the Chase. Scott Riggs won the pole, and Kurt Busch had his 3rd-place run disqualified due to an unapproved right rear shock absorber. It cost him 50 points (along with a similar deduction for Penske Racing) and $25,000 (US) in fines as well as a four race suspension for his crew chief.

Top ten results:

  1. No. 9 Kasey Kahne
  2. No. 48 Jimmie Johnson
  3. No. 31 Jeff Burton
  4. No. 8 Dale Earnhardt, Jr.
  5. No. 43 Bobby Labonte
  6. No. 5 Kyle Busch
  7. No. 96 Tony Raines
  8. No. 99 Carl Edwards
  9. No. 01 Joe Nemechek
  10. No. 25 Brian Vickers

Failed to qualify: Bill Elliott (#83), Kevin Lepage (#34), Derrike Cope (#74), Chad Chaffin (#61), Hermie Sadler (#00), Kirk Shelmerdine (#27), Carl Long (#46), Kenny Wallace (#78), Morgan Shepherd (#89)

Subway 500[edit]

The sixth event on the Chase, the Subway 500, was held on October 22, 2006 at Martinsville Speedway outside Martinsville, Virginia. The .526 mile track is the shortest in the NEXTEL Cup series and the Chase as well. Kurt Busch won his sixth pole of the season. Ward Burton, the 2002 Daytona 500 champion, returned to the circuit to drive the Morgan-McClure No. 4 Chevy after a two-year absence. Jeff Burton, current points leader on the Chase for the Nextel Cup in 4 races after winning the race just 4 races ago has lost his points lead because of engine failure that will put Burton finishing worse than 20th, allowing Matt Kenseth puts him into the points lead.

Top ten results:

  1. No. 48 Jimmie Johnson
  2. No. 11 Denny Hamlin *•
  3. No. 43 Bobby Labonte
  4. No. 20 Tony Stewart
  5. No. 24 Jeff Gordon
  6. No. 42 Casey Mears
  7. No. 9 Kasey Kahne
  8. No. 66 Jeff Green
  9. No. 29 Kevin Harvick
  10. No. 45 Kyle Petty

Failed to qualify: Mike Bliss (#49), Hermie Sadler (#00), Chad Chaffin (#61), Morgan Shepherd (#89), Ted Christopher (#27), Derrike Cope (#74), Stanton Barrett (#30)

Bass Pro Shops 500[edit]

The seventh Chase event, the Bass Pro Shops 500 was held at Atlanta Motor Speedway, located in Hampton, Georgia, on October 29. Qualifying was rained out, and the starting order was set by owner points, with Matt Kenseth sitting on the pole. A. J. Allmendinger was to have made his NEXTEL Cup debut here. Tony Stewart captured his second race win in a 2006 chase race. The first few laps involving Kyle Busch, putting a driver on the bubble of championship hopes. Meanwhile, another chaser, Kasey Kahne, who earned six wins of the season, just made some damage with David Stremme, sending two drivers into the garage. Less than 20 laps to go, Mark Martin, the veteran drivers just wreck, ending the championship hopes. Those three drivers putted on the dangerous spot of championship hopes.

Top ten results:

  1. No. 20 Tony Stewart
  2. No. 48 Jimmie Johnson
  3. No. 8 Dale Earnhardt, Jr.
  4. No. 17 Matt Kenseth
  5. No. 16 Greg Biffle
  6. No. 24 Jeff Gordon
  7. No. 99 Carl Edwards
  8. No. 11 Denny Hamlin *•
  9. No. 01 Joe Nemechek
  10. No. 7 Robby Gordon

Failed to make field: Derrike Cope (#74), Kirk Shelmerdine (#27), Mike Skinner (#72), A. J. Allmendinger (#84)

  • In a video replay shown by NBC after the race, it was determined that Robby Gordon deliberately and willfully caused a late-race caution by throwing out his rollbar padding (for which he got the free pass to the lead lap). For that, he was docked 50 owner and driver points (as he owns the No. 7 car), fined $15,000 and placed on probation until December 31.

Dickies 500[edit]

The eighth Chase race, the Dickies 500, was run on November 5, 2006 at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas. Brian Vickers, the last car to qualify, edged Elliott Sadler, next to last to take time, for the pole in this race. After a DNF in Martinsville just two races ago, Jeff Burton has lost an engine and fell greater than 67 laps down after more than one hour of repair, Burton will finish 38th. Another chaser, Mark Martin spun out after Ken Schrader cuts a tire on lap 174, putting Martin a 22nd place finish. With less than 11 laps to go, chaser Kasey Kahne expired an engine during the 11th caution period and will finish 32nd with a 2nd straight DNFs.

Top Ten Results: (Race distance extended to 339 laps/508.5 miles due to green-white-checkered rule.)

  1. No. 20 Tony Stewart
  2. No. 48 Jimmie Johnson
  3. No. 29 Kevin Harvick
  4. No. 5 Kyle Busch
  5. No. 07 Clint Bowyer
  6. No. 8 Dale Earnhardt, Jr.
  7. No. 42 Casey Mears
  8. No. 2 Kurt Busch
  9. No. 24 Jeff Gordon
  10. No. 11 Denny Hamlin *•

Failed to qualify: Chad Chaffin (#34), Bill Elliott (#37), David Ragan (#60), Kevin Lepage (#61), Mike Skinner (#72), Derrike Cope (#74), A. J. Allmendinger (#84)

  • Following this race, Craig Curione, the front tire carrier for the No. 10 Evernham Dodge driven by Scott Riggs, shoved Kevin Harvick, his wife Delana and NASCAR official John Sacco to the pavement after Harvick was blamed for a late race incident that led to the green-white-checkered finish. Curione was suspended indefinitely and fined $10,000 by NASCAR and fired from Evernham, while Sacco suffered a sprained ankle.

Checker Auto Parts 500[edit]

The ninth race on the Chase for the NEXTEL Cup, the Checker Auto Parts 500, was held at Phoenix International Raceway in Avondale, Arizona on November 12, 2006. Jeff Gordon was the pole winner, while the championship provisional was used by Bill Elliott. Kyle Busch ended the championship hopes when he crashed late in the race. The other four drivers that finished in the top-15 were Kasey Kahne, Mark Martin, Jeff Burton and Jeff Gordon were out of the contention for championship after the race. The five drivers then competed for the championship at Homestead.

Top Ten Results:

  1. No. 29 Kevin Harvick
  2. No. 48 Jimmie Johnson
  3. No. 11 Denny Hamlin *•
  4. No. 24 Jeff Gordon
  5. No. 99 Carl Edwards
  6. No. 6 Mark Martin
  7. No. 9 Kasey Kahne
  8. No. 2 Kurt Busch
  9. No. 8 Dale Earnhardt, Jr.
  10. No. 31 Jeff Burton

Failed to qualify: Jason Leffler (#71), Todd Kluever (#06), Morgan Shepherd (#89), Brandon Ash (#02), Kevin Lepage (#34), Kenny Wallace (#78), Derrike Cope (#74), Jeremy Mayfield (#09)

Ford 400[edit]

Main article: 2006 Ford 400

The final race of the season, and the last race in the 2006 Chase for the NEXTEL Cup, the Ford 400, was run on November 19, 2006, at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Ford Championship Weekend will crown the next champion at the track. Kasey Kahne won the pole, and won the Bud Pole Award overall championship for 2006, while for the second straight week, Bill Elliott used the Championship Provisional. Juan Pablo Montoya, making his NEXTEL Cup debut, qualified 29th, but finished 34th after his car hit the wall after being clipped by Ryan Newman and caught fire on lap 251.

Top ten results: (Race extended to 268 laps/402 miles due to green-white-checkered rule.)

  1. No. 16 Greg Biffle
  2. No. 1 Martin Truex, Jr. *
  3. No. 11 Denny Hamlin *•
  4. No. 9 Kasey Kahne
  5. No. 29 Kevin Harvick
  6. No. 17 Matt Kenseth
  7. No. 10 Scott Riggs
  8. No. 99 Carl Edwards
  9. No. 48 Jimmie Johnson •°
  10. No. 07 Clint Bowyer

° – Clinched 2006 NEXTEL Cup Championship.

Failed to qualify: Michael Waltrip (#55); Todd Kluever (#06); Ward Burton (#4); Brandon Whitt (#72); Kenny Wallace (#78); Mike Skinner (#27); Derrike Cope (#74); Kevin Lepage (#61); Carl Long (#46); Chad Chaffin (#34); Casey Atwood (#95); David Ragan (#60). Note: Morgan Shepherd (#89) withdrew after his only car crashed during practice.

Championship Standings[edit]

2006 Chase Top Ten[edit]

These ten drivers competed in the Nextel Cup Championship.

Pos Driver Car Team Starts Poles Wins Top 5s Top 10s Points (Behind) Note
1 Jimmie Johnson No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS Hendrick Motorsports 36 1 5 15 24 6470 Champion
2 Matt Kenseth No. 17 DeWalt Ford Fusion Roush Racing 36 1 4 15 21 -56
3 Denny Hamlin * No. 11 FedEx Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS Joe Gibbs Racing 36 1 2 15 20 -63 2006 Raybestos Rookie of the Year
4 Kevin Harvick No. 29 GM Goodwrench/Hershey's Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS Richard Childress Racing 36 3 5 8 20 -73
5 Dale Earnhardt, Jr. No. 8 Budweiser Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS Dale Earnhardt, Inc. 36 0 1 10 17 -147
6 Jeff Gordon No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS Hendrick Motorsports 36 2 2 14 18 -224
7 Jeff Burton No. 31 Cingular Wireless Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS Richard Childress Racing 36 4 1 7 20 -242
8 Kasey Kahne No. 9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Charger Evernham Motorsports 36 5 6 12 19 -297
9 Mark Martin No. 6 AAA Ford Fusion Roush Racing 36 0 0 7 15 -302
10 Kyle Busch No. 5 Kellogg's Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS Hendrick Motorsports 36 1 1 10 18 -448

Non-chase participants[edit]

11. Tony Stewart
12. Carl Edwards
13. Greg Biffle
14. Casey Mears
15. Brian Vickers
16. Kurt Busch
17. Clint Bowyer*
18. Ryan Newman
19. Martin Truex, Jr.*
20. Scott Riggs
21. Bobby Labonte
22. Elliott Sadler
23. Dale Jarrett
24. Reed Sorenson*
25. Jamie McMurray
26. Dave Blaney
27. Joe Nemechek
28. Jeff Green
29. J. J. Yeley*
30. Robby Gordon
31. Ken Schrader
32. Kyle Petty
33. David Stremme*
34. Sterling Marlin
35. Tony Raines
36. Travis Kvapil
37. Michael Waltrip
38. Scott Wimmer
39. Jeremy Mayfield
40. Kevin Lepage
41. Terry Labonte
42. David Gilliland*
43. Kenny Wallace
44. Bill Elliott
45. Paul Menard
46. Chad Chaffin*
47. Boris Said
48. Mike Bliss
49. Brent Sherman*
50. Derrike Cope
51. Mike Wallace
52. Stanton Barrett
53. Hermie Sadler
54. Ward Burton
55. Scott Pruett
56. Todd Kluever
57. Mike Skinner
58. Mike Garvey
59. Kirk Shelmerdine
60. Todd Bodine
61. David Ragan
62. Jimmy Spencer
63. Ron Fellows
64. Bill Lester
65. Johnny Sauter
66. Brandon Ash
67. Chad Blount
68. Morgan Shepherd
69. Eric McClure
70. Stephen Leicht
71. Juan Pablo Montoya
72. P. J. Jones
73. Brian Simo
74. Carl Long
75. Ted Christopher
76. Marc Goossens
77. Tom Hubert
78. Brandon Whitt

* — Denotes rookie.

Rookies[edit]

The battle for ROTY was expected to be fierce, as many predicted that two time Busch Series Champion Martin Truex Jr. would handily win the award, and possibly be a chase contender. However, this was not to be as Joe Gibbs Racing driver Denny Hamlin shocked the NASCAR world the previous year by winning his first career pole at Phoenix while driving a part-time schedule. Hamlin again got everyone's attention by not only winning the Bud Shootout in his first attempt, but becoming the first rookie to sweep a racetrack (Pocono Raceway) since Jimmie Johnson accomplished that same feat at Dover. As Hamlin ran away with ROTY, his other competitors had up and down years. Although Clint Bowyer scored a surprising top-ten finish at Daytona, he was not a factor. Hamlin's teammate, J.J. Yeley, struggled mightily. Ganassi rookie Reed Sorenson had an up and down year, scoring his first top five at Michigan but was plagued by bad breaks. David Stremme was constantly fighting to stay within the top 35 in owners points throughout the year, and Brent Sherman was released from his ride with BAM Racing 1/3 into the year.

NASCAR Hall of Fame[edit]

Until March 6, 2006, NASCAR was without a recognized Hall of Fame. Charlotte, North Carolina, where most NASCAR teams are based near, was chosen over six other candidates (Atlanta, Georgia; Talladega, Alabama; Kansas City, Kansas; Detroit, Michigan; Richmond, Virginia and Daytona Beach, Florida) for the NASCAR Hall of Fame which will be located in the new Charlotte Convention Center, and is scheduled to open in 2009 or 2010. Unlike other sports' halls of fame, which are run mainly by nonprofit organizations, NASCAR will own and operate this hall directly. Winston R. Kelley, a respected motorsports broadcaster and vice president of Duke Energy, a Charlotte-based electrical provider, was named the hall's executive director on June 29.

Television[edit]

The 2006 season marked the final year of television contracts with Fox / FX / Speed and NBC / TNT. NBC aired the Daytona 500 to officially start the season on February 19, with Fox/FX picking up coverage the following week in California up to the Pepsi 400 July 1. For 2007, Fox and TNT began new eight-year contracts while ESPN / ABC joined in, taking over for NBC.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Standings: 2006 Manufacturer Standings". NASCAR; Turner Sports and Entertainment Digital Network. Retrieved 2009-09-12. 

External links[edit]

Notes and references[edit]