2007 Chevy Rock & Roll 400
|Race 26 of 36 in the 2007 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series season
|Date||September 8, 2007|
|Location||Richmond International Raceway, Richmond, Virginia|
|Course||Permanent racing facility
0.75 mi (1.207 km)
|Distance||400 laps, 300 mi (482.803 km)|
|Average speed||91.813 miles per hour (147.759 km/h)|
|Driver||Jimmie Johnson||Hendrick Motorsports|
|Most laps led|
|Driver||Jeff Gordon||Hendrick Motorsports|
|Television in the United States|
|Announcers||Jerry Punch, Andy Petree and Rusty Wallace|
The 2007 Chevy Rock & Roll 400 was the twenty-sixth and final "regular season" race in the 2007 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup season. The race was run on Saturday night, September 8, 2007 at Richmond International Raceway in Henrico County, Virginia, just outside of Virginia's state capital. The race was the eleventh to utilize NASCAR's Car of Tomorrow template, and also the first race to be telecast on ABC.
Following the race, the top twelve drivers in the point standings entered the Chase for the NEXTEL Cup, and all drivers had their points reset to 5,000 points, with a ten-point bonus for each race they have won in the prior 26 races.
In The Chase
Through September 2, these drivers have clinched a spot in the "post-season:"
- Jeff Gordon (#24 DuPont Chevrolet)
- Denny Hamlin (#11 FedEx Chevrolet)
- Matt Kenseth (#17 DeWalt Tools Ford)
- Carl Edwards (#99 Office Depot Ford)
- Tony Stewart (#20 The Home Depot Chevrolet)
- Jimmie Johnson (#48 Lowe's Chevrolet)
- Jeff Burton (#31 AT&T Chevrolet)
- Kyle Busch (#5 Carquest/Kellogg's Chevrolet)
The following drivers clinched a spot in the chase by taking the green flag for this race:
- Clint Bowyer (#07 Jack Daniels/DirecTV Chevrolet)
- Martin Truex Jr. (#1 Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Boats Chevrolet)
The remaining spots were decided as well. Kurt Busch needed to finish 36th or better without leading a lap or 39th or better when leading a lap while Kevin Harvick needed to finish 32nd or better without leading a lap or 34th or better while leading a lap (worth five bonus points) to lock himself in. Dale Earnhardt, Jr. needed help for a case of bad luck from either Kurt Busch or Harvick in order to make the Chase. Hypathetically, had the Chase started with this race, Johnson would have had a ten-point lead over Jeff Gordon, with Bowyer in last place, as he has not been to Victory Lane in his career.
- Hall of Fame Racing signed J.J. Yeley to drive for the No. 96 team beginning with the 2008 season. Yeley had been unseated from the #18 Interstate Batteries car at Joe Gibbs Racing by Kyle Busch. Additionally, it was announced that they will run Toyota next season.
- The long rumored switch from Chevrolet to Toyota was made official when JGR made the announcement at RIR on September 5. Kyle Busch all but let the cat out of the bag at a press conference in California with that news.
- Ricky Rudd missed this race due to a shoulder injury suffered in an accident during the Sharp AQUOS 500 on Sunday (September 2). Kenny Wallace replaced the native Virgnian in the Yates/Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing Snickers Ford, the first time in Rudd's career that he has missed a race due to injury.
- Bobby Labonte ran in his 500th career Cup race in the Petty Enterprises #43 Dodge Avenger. The younger Labonte was the 2000 Cup Series Champion with Joe Gibbs Racing in the aforementioned #18 car while the series was under the Winston Cup banner. In an interesting sidelight, Labonte's official website gave away free commemorative T-shirts.
- In another worst-kept secret, Mark Martin and Aric Almirola along with their US Army sponsorship will move from the #01 Chevy to the #8 ride being vacated by Dale Earnhardt Jr. for the 2008 season. The current #01 will likely change their number to #14 as Regan Smith is expected to have Coors Light sponsorship as Budweiser is expected to go to GEM and the #9 Dodge of Kasey Kahne.
- A settlement in the "exclusivity lawsuit" between AT&T and NASCAR on the Jeff Burton #31 car for Richard Childress Racing allows the car to carry the AT&T colors for the rest of the 2007 season as well as 2008.
- David Stremme will not be back in the Chip Ganassi Racing #40 Dodge for the 2008 season. Also, sponsor Coors Light will also not return to Ganassi, ending a 14 year relationship with the team. Dario Franchitti, winner of the 2007 Indianapolis 500, has been mentioned as a replacement.
- Robert Yates officially announced his retirement as a team owner at the end of the 2007 season. He will hand over his operation to his son, Doug. The team also announced the end of their partnership with Champ Car World Series team Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing. The team will be renamed Yates Racing with NCTS driver Travis Kvapil replacing the retiring Ricky Rudd.
Going out early, Jimmie Johnson earned his 10th career pole award. Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jeff Gordon will join him on the outside pole, with soon to be ex-teammate Kyle Busch in third. Of note, defending winner Kevin Harvick and Kurt Busch, both drivers "on the bubble" to make the chase, started alongside each other in row 7.
Jimmie Johnson took the race and the top seeding in the Chase by winning his season-high sixth race of the season, leading 104 laps. Tony Stewart finished second while David Ragan completed the "podium" with a career best third. Jeff Gordon finished fourth and Johnny Sauter had his career best finish of fifth. The final Chase spots went to Kurt Busch and Kevin Harvick while in a symbolic moment in his season, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. was knocked out of the chase when John Andretti blew an engine on lap 344, and then the race with six laps to go when his engine blew up, resulting in his sixth DNF of the year.
Jeff Gordon left the track with a 312-point lead on second-place Tony Stewart. However, points were reset after the race, with each qualifying driver receiving a base score of 5000 points. Additional points were awarded on the basis of 10 per driver win. As a result, Gordon (four wins) dropped to second behind Johnson.
|7||Martin Truex, Jr.||11|
Top Ten Results:
|1||#48||Jimmie Johnson||Chevrolet||Hendrick Motorsports|
|2||#20||Tony Stewart||Chevrolet||Joe Gibbs Racing|
|3||#6||David Ragan (R)||Ford||Roush Fenway Racing|
|4||#24||Jeff Gordon||Chevrolet||Hendrick Motorsports|
|5||#70||Johnny Sauter||Chevrolet||Haas CNC Racing|
|6||#11||Denny Hamlin||Chevrolet||Joe Gibbs Racing|
|7||#29||Kevin Harvick||Chevrolet||Richard Childress Racing|
|8||#9||Kasey Kahne||Dodge||Gillett Evernham Motorsports|
|9||#2||Kurt Busch||Dodge||Penske Racing|
|10||#18||J.J. Yeley||Chevrolet||Joe Gibbs Racing|
- http://www.nascar.com/2007/news/headlines/cup/09/05/gibbs.toyota.dhamlin.tstewart.kybusch.jyeley/index.html Article on JGR's official switch to Toyota
- http://www.nascar.com/2007/news/headlines/cup/09/07/dstremme.cganassi.40.car/index.html Article on Stremme's departure from Ganassi
- http://www.nascar.com/2007/news/headlines/cup/09/07/ryates.tkvapil.rrudd/index.html Article on the retirement of Robert Yates
- http://www.nascar.com/races/cup/2007/26/data/results_unofficial.html Results