2008 Pepsi 500
|Race 25 of 36 in the 2008 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season|
Auto Club Speedway, the race track where the race was held.
|Date||August 31, 2008|
|Location||Auto Club Speedway Fontana, California|
|Course||Permanent racing facility
2.0 mi (3.23 km)
|Distance||250 laps, 500 mi (804.672 km)|
|Weather||Temperatures approaching an average of 76.9 °F (24.9 °C); wind speeds up to 15.9 miles per hour (25.6 km/h)|
|Average speed||138.857 miles per hour (223.469 km/h)|
|Driver||Jimmie Johnson||Hendrick Motorsports|
|Most laps led|
|Driver||Jimmie Johnson||Hendrick Motorsports|
|Television in the United States|
|Announcers||Jerry Punch, Dale Jarrett and Andy Petree|
The 2008 Pepsi 500 was the twenty-fifth race of the 2008 NASCAR Sprint Cup season and the next-to-last race to determine the twelve drivers to compete in the 2008 Chase for the Sprint Cup. The 500 miles (800 km) race was held on Sunday night, August 31 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. ESPN carried the race beginning at 7 PM US EDT and MRN along with Sirius Satellite Radio having radio coverage starting at 7:15 PM US EDT. This year marked the final time that this race would be run on Labor Day Weekend. In 2009, this race will move into the current spot occupied to Talladega Superspeedway as part of the NASCAR 2009 realignment.
- Jeff Burton joined the NASCAR 500 Start club this week.
- In this week's edition of "The Worst Kept Secret in NASCAR", Joe Gibbs Racing officially announced August 25 that Joey Logano will officially take the place of the soon-to-be-departing Tony Stewart in the #20 Home Depot-sponsored Toyota for the 2009 season. Logano will debut in the series next week at Richmond driving the #02 car, which will be painted in the reverse colors of the #20.
- Reed Sorenson will leave Chip Ganassi Racing and the #41 Dodge and become a driver for Gillett Evernham Motorsports in 2009. His car number and sponsors will be announced at a later date. There was some good news to come out of it for CGR. Target Stores will return for one of the planned two rides.
- The Budweiser Shootout has undergone a major format change for 2009. In the past, as Budweiser was an official NASCAR sponsor, the race featured winners of the previous season's pole position at each NASCAR race. This has changed with Coors Light becoming the pole position sponsor. Only 24 cars and their drivers, representing the top six points finishers from each brand running in the series (Chevrolet, Dodge, Ford and Toyota) will compete. In addition, the first segment will be increased to 25 laps.
- Drew Carey was the Grand Marshal, and attendance at this race inspired the "ultimate fan package" prizes offered on his show, The Price Is Right. Carey told NASCAR.COM, "I wish (the VIP treatment) was a prize they could give away to the average person, or somebody could win this so they could get a police escort in, get to sit in the pit, get to hang out in the Presidential Suite with all The Price is Right models." Carl Edwards returned the favour, appearing on the November 10, 2009 episode of the show, taped just after the 2009 Pepsi 500.
Jimmie Johnson took the top position for the fourth time this season and 17th in his career, and A.J. Allmendinger closed fast to take the other front row spot, edging Johnson's Hendrick teammate, Jeff Gordon.
Failed to qualify: Tony Raines (#70).
A caution came out early in the race due to debris when one of the track's caution lights fell onto the track itself. Another caution came out on lap 43 when Kurt Busch spun due to tire tread separation on his left rear tire. Caution #4 came out when Joe Nemecheck over corrected for over steer and hit the wall. Caution #5 came out around lap 102 due to debris on the track. Caution #6 on 160 was also due debris that was from a small piece of another caution light falling on the track. Caution #7 came out with 70 laps to go due to Robby Gordon spinning out. Caution #8 came out due to Marcos Ambrose's car hitting a wall, after which Jimmie Johnson won the race, leading 228 of 250 laps. Three drivers - Johnson, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and Jeff Burton - all locked up spots in the 2008 Chase for the Sprint Cup. Greg Biffle, who finished second, also all but wrapped up a spot in the Chase as well, and all he'll have to do is qualify his car and start in Richmond next week.
Polesitter Johnson dominated, leading 238 out of 250 laps to score his 36th victory at the venue wher he scored his first just more than six years prior.
Post-race temperatures got as low as 61.9 °F (16.6 °C); a radical shift from the high temperatures witnessed prior to the race.
|Top Ten Finishers|
|Pos.||Car #||Driver||Car Make||Team|
|1||48||Jimmie Johnson||Chevrolet||Hendrick Motorsports|
|2||16||Greg Biffle||Ford||Roush Fenway Racing|
|3||11||Denny Hamlin||Toyota||Joe Gibbs Racing|
|4||29||Kevin Harvick||Chevrolet||Richard Childress Racing|
|5||17||Matt Kenseth||Ford||Roush Fenway Racing|
|6||99||Carl Edwards||Ford||Roush Fenway Racing|
|7||18||Kyle Busch||Toyota||Joe Gibbs Racing|
|8||9||Kasey Kahne||Dodge||Gillett Evernham Motorsports|
|9||44||David Reutimann||Toyota||Michael Waltrip Racing|
|10||07||Clint Bowyer||Chevrolet||Richard Childress Racing|