2007 UAW-Ford 500
|Race 30 of 36 in the 2007 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series season|
|Date||October 7, 2007|
|Location||Talladega Superspeedway, Talladega, Alabama|
|Course||Permanent racing facility
2.66 mi (4.28 km)
|Distance||188 laps, 500.08 mi (804.8 km)|
|Weather||Temperatures reaching up to 90 °F (32 °C); average wind speeds of 8.9 miles per hour (14.3 km/h)|
|Average speed||143.438 miles per hour (230.841 km/h)|
|Driver||Michael Waltrip||Michael Waltrip Racing|
|Most laps led|
|Driver||Denny Hamlin||Joe Gibbs Racing|
|Television in the United States|
|Announcers||Jerry Punch, Andy Petree and Rusty Wallace|
The 2007 UAW-Ford 500 was the 30th race of the 2007 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Season and the fourth race in the 2007 Chase for the NEXTEL Cup. This race was raced on Sunday, October 7, 2007 at the Talladega Superspeedway outside of Talladega, Alabama.
This race was historic as it marked the first race for NASCAR's new Car of Tomorrow template, which was in their fourteenth race in the 2007 season before it becomes the full-time car in 2008, on a super speedway. In addition to the mandatory restrictor plate used at both Talladega and Daytona International Speedway (which will be 31/32" in diamiter), NASCAR had a mandatory gear ratio at this track for the first time.
- Wednesday was a big announcement day for many teams. The first of the "worst kept secrets" became official as Mars Incorporated, departing Yates Racing, becomes the sponsor of the #18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota of Kyle Busch for the 2008, 2009, and 2010 seasons. Interstate Batteries will remain as primary sponsor for six races.
- The next least surprising secret was also released on October 3 as IndyCar Series owner Chip Ganassi formally announced that 2007 Indianapolis 500 winner Dario Franchitti will drive his #40 Dodge Avenger for the 2008 season, replacing David Stremme. Franchitti began his stock car debut much like Juan Pablo Montoya did by running the Food World 250 ARCA RE/MAX Series race and finished 17th. As Franchitti was still under contract with Andretti Green Racing, he was originally assigned to drive in the Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta. With him being in the ARCA race, AGR has hired Vitor Meira to drive.
- Another announcement was made on Wednesday as Haas CNC Racing announced that they have signed Scott Riggs to drive for them in 2008. Which driver he replaces, be it Jeff Green or Johnny Sauter is still unknown, though sources claim that Green is leaving Haas.
- Jacques Villeneuve will make his Cup debut in the #27 Bill Davis Racing Toyota in qualifying, which will carry the colors of UNICEF, urging fans to go to UNICEF's web site and donate $27 (US) to go "the extra mile". He made the race on time as he was not in the top 35 in owners points, and started fourth.
- Nationwide Insurance and NASCAR made the official announcement on Wednesday that Nationwide would take over Anheuser-Busch's title sponsorship of the second-tier Busch Series, to be renamed the NASCAR Nationwide Series in 2008, in a seven year, $70 million (US) deal. In addition, Nationwide replaces Allstate as official insurance sponsor of NASCAR as part of the deal.
Because the top 35 teams are locked into the race, only eight slots were available for battle among sixteen teams. When all was said and done, the top eight teams were "go or go home" cars led by Michael Waltrip. Dave Blaney started second, followed by Brian Vickers, Villenevue, Joe Nemechek, David Reutimann, John Andretti, and Dale Jarrett. The next four fastest cars - A.J. Allmendinger, Boris Said, Sam Hornish Jr and Scott Riggs - were sent home.
Waltrip, in his 80th qualifying attempt, is the only driver to have attempted all 80 races, missing three (1988 Daytona 500, 2007 Aaron's 499, 2007 Pepsi 400).
Top Ten Results: (NOTE: Chase drivers are in bold italics.)
|1.||#24||Jeff Gordon||Chevrolet||Hendrick Motorsports|
|2.||#48||Jimmie Johnson||Chevrolet||Hendrick Motorsports|
|3.||#22||Dave Blaney||Toyota||Bill Davis Racing|
|4.||#11||Denny Hamlin||Chevrolet||Joe Gibbs Racing|
|5.||#12||Ryan Newman||Dodge||Penske Racing|
|6.||#25||Casey Mears||Chevrolet||Hendrick Motorsports|
|7.||#2||Kurt Busch||Dodge||Penske Racing|
|8.||#20||Tony Stewart||Chevrolet||Joe Gibbs Racing|
|9.||#96||Tony Raines||Chevrolet||Hall of Fame Racing|
|10.||#41||Reed Sorenson||Dodge||Chip Ganassi Racing|
- The win at Talladega was the 80th of Gordon's career. He now only needs five more wins to pass Cale Yarborough and Bobby Allison for fourth and third, respectively, on the all time wins list. Gordon, by sweeping Talladega, also beat Dale Earnhardt's record of most superspeedway wins.
- Blaney's third place finish tied the best finish of his career, which came at Darlington in March 2003. The finish also propelled him back into the top-35 in owners points, leading Ken Schrader and the Wood Brothers by 51 points.
- During post-race inspection, the car of Reed Sorenson was found to be too low.