2007 Dodge Avenger 500

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2007 Dodge Avenger 500
Race details
Race 11 of 36 in the 2007 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series
Layout of Darlington Raceway
Layout of Darlington Raceway
Date May 13, 2007 (2007-May-13)
Official name Dodge Avenger 500
Location Darlington Raceway, Darlington County, South Carolina
Course Permanent racing facility
1.366 mi (2.198 km)
Distance 367 laps, 501.322 mi (806.799 km)
Weather Mild with temperatures approaching 75 °F (24 °C); wind speeds up to 17.1 miles per hour (27.5 km/h)
Average speed 124.372 miles per hour (200.157 km/h)
Pole position
Driver Richard Childress Racing
Time 29.806
Most laps led
Driver Denny Hamlin Joe Gibbs Racing
Laps 179
Winner
No. 24 Jeff Gordon Hendrick Motorsports
Television in the United States
Network Fox Broadcasting Company
Announcers Mike Joy, Darrell Waltrip and Larry McReynolds

The 2007 Dodge Avenger 500, the 58th running of the event, was the eleventh race of the 2007 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup, held at Darlington Raceway in Darlington, South Carolina, a suburb of Florence.

The race was postponed by rain, and was run the following afternoon, May 13 (Mother's Day in the USA), the second race in two weeks to be rained out. Originally the third night race on the schedule, this also served as the fifth race to use the Car of Tomorrow template, as the first four CoT races have been dominated by Hendrick Motorsports leading to some[who?] renaming the CoT the "The Hendrick Car of Tomorrow".

Chevrolet continued to dominate the NASCAR Cup Series like it did during the 1990s and through most of the 2000s. Michael Waltrip continued to have a negative amount of points in this race due to his major penalty that wasn't mitigated until late into the 2007 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series season. Spanish-speaking NASCAR fans started to notice Jeff Gordon's dominance in this NASCAR event, making him a close second favorite to Juan Pablo Montoya.

Last chance for the All-Star Challenge[edit]

The race served as the final chance for teams and drivers who have not qualified for the NEXTEL All-Star Challenge to automatically enter that race by winning on the 1.366 mile egg-shaped oval known as "The Lady in Black" and "The Track Too Tough To Tame". If not, they would have to race in the NEXTEL Open race, as either one of the top two drivers or chosen in a fan vote.

Abrasive surface[edit]

The Darlington asphalt has been known to be one of the most abrasive in NASCAR, as the sandpaper-like surface shreds tires limiting their run on the track. This situation was rectified later in 2007 when the entire track was resurfaced. As a result, pit row became a concrete surface.

Race weekend[edit]

Qualifying[edit]

Clint Bowyer won the pole position, the first career pole in the Cup series for the driver of the #07 Chevrolet Impala. Greg Biffle, who had won the two previous Darlington races, sat on the outside of Bowyer. Michael Waltrip missed his 10th straight race, while Ken Schrader returned to the field after sitting out the two previous weeks.

Race[edit]

Jeff Gordon overcame a radiator problem to win the Dodge Avenger 500. The win was his third in the last four races, his sixth win in the Southern 500, and his 78th overall career. Because of the failure, his car emitted steam for the last 50 laps or so of the race. The race was arguably decided most in the pits. Gordon's crew chief, Steve Letarte, kept the #24 Chevy on the track during what would be the final caution of the race, while all other leaders came in for service. Meanwhile, Denny Hamlin was in position for a weekend sweep (he had won on Friday night in the Busch Series Diamond Hill Plywood 200), but a failure to apply lug nuts correctly on the first attempt led to a long pit stop, after which he never regained the lead. Hamlin still led the most laps on this day and finished second.

The remaining top drivers were in this order: Jimmie Johnson, Ryan Newman, Carl Edwards, Tony Stewart, Matt Kenseth, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Bowyer, and Jeff Burton.

After this race, Gordon led Jimmie Johnson by 231 points for the lead. Earnhardt Jr. led Jamie McMurray by 46 points for the 12th and final position in the Chase for the NEXTEL Cup. However, because of illegal bolts supporting the wing that was discovered in a pre-race inspection, Earnhardt was docked 100 driver points, the team lost 100 owner points and slapped with a $100,000 (US) fine and crew chief Tony Eury, Sr. was suspended until July 4. Because of the penalites, McMurray was elevated to the final Chase position as a result.

Race results[edit]

(*) denotes Rookie of the Year candidate.

Fin St Driver Car # Make Points Bonus Laps Winnings
1 10 Jeff Gordon 24 Chevrolet 190 5 367 $323,286
2 7 Denny Hamlin 11 Chevrolet 180 10 367 $211,550
3 12 Jimmie Johnson 48 Chevrolet 170 5 367 $197,761
4 29 Ryan Newman 12 Dodge 165 5 367 $159,875
5 4 Carl Edwards 99 Ford 160 5 367 $125,475
6 26 Tony Stewart 20 Chevrolet 150 367 $145,961
7 31 Matt Kenseth 17 Ford 151 5 367 $143,516
8 21 Dale Earnhardt Jr. 8 Chevrolet 142 367 $133,033
9 1 Clint Bowyer 7 Chevrolet 143 5 367 $114,575
10 34 Jeff Burton 31 Chevrolet 134 367 $127,541
11 25 Martin Truex Jr. 1 Chevrolet 130 367 $112,320
12 18 Kurt Busch 2 Dodge 127 367 $119,108
13 28 Sterling Marlin 14 Chevrolet 124 367 $104,433
14 37 Mark Martin 1 Chevrolet 121 367 $108,308
15 2 Greg Biffle 16 Ford 118 367 $97,700
16 3 Jamie McMurray 26 Ford 115 367 $89,850
17 9 Kevin Harvick 29 Chevrolet 112 367 $125,886
18 22 J.J. Yeley 18 Chevrolet 109 367 $108,183
19 13 Bobby Labonte 43 Dodge 106 367 $117,036
20 5 Kasey Kahne 9 Dodge 103 367 $124,616
21 17 Elliott Sadler 19 Dodge 105 5 367 $96,370
22 39 Jeff Green 66 Chevrolet 97 365 $100,008
23 41 Juan Montoya * 42 Dodge 94 365 $113,575
24 6 Kenny Wallace 78 Chevrolet 91 365 $75,775
25 42 Kyle Petty 45 Dodge 88 364 $87,233
26 40 Ricky Rudd 88 Ford 85 364 $105,333
27 24 David Ragan * 6 Ford 82 363 $109,425
28 35 Joe Nemechek 13 Chevrolet 79 363 $69,950
29 19 Johnny Sauter 70 Chevrolet 76 361 $69,750
30 38 David Gilliland 38 Ford 73 361 $100,289
31 23 Paul Menard * 15 Chevrolet 70 358 $69,325
32 27 Dave Blaney 22 Toyota 72 5 355 $89,197
33 14 David Reutimann * 0 Toyota 64 351 $69,925
34 30 David Stremme 40 Dodge 61 349 $68,850
35 11 Casey Mears 25 Chevrolet 58 345 $76,600
36 20 A.J. Allmendinger * 84 Toyota 55 344 $68,450
37 36 Kyle Busch 5 Chevrolet 52 338 $86,250
38 33 Robby Gordon 7 Ford 49 317 $68,025
39 32 Tony Raines 96 Chevrolet 46 310 $78,400
40 16 Reed Sorenson 41 Dodge 43 310 $75,750
41 8 Ken Schrader 21 Ford 45 5 254 $87,839
42 43 Kevin Lepage 37 Dodge 37 127 $68,280
43 15 Brian Vickers 83 Toyota 34 122 $67,382

Notes[edit]

  • The last NASCAR race to be staged on Mother's Day before this one was the Winston (now the NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge) on May 15, 1986. Bill Elliott was the winner of the exhibition race.
  • The race was postponed and moved to Sunday, in violation of South Carolina blue laws, with track president Bob Colvin was fined for the violation. Current blue laws state Sunday racing is legal in South Carolina provided (1) a race is scheduled for more than 250 miles (402 km), or (2) it starts after 1:30 PM.

External links[edit]

Previous race:
2007 Crown Royal Presents The Jim Stewart 400
Nextel Cup Series
2007 season
Next race:
2007 Coca-Cola 600