2010 AMP Energy Juice 500
|Race 33 of 36 in the 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season|
|Date||October 31, 2010|
|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||Mostly sunny with a high around 78; wind out of the SW at 9 mph.|
|Average speed||163.618 miles per hour (263.318 km/h)|
|Driver||Earnhardt Ganassi Racing|
|Most laps led|
|Driver||Dale Earnhardt, Jr.||Hendrick Motorsports|
|No. 33||Clint Bowyer||Richard Childress Racing|
|Television in the United States|
|Announcers||Marty Reid, Dale Jarrett and Andy Petree|
The 2010 AMP Energy Juice 500 was a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stock car race that was held on October 31, 2010, at Talladega Superspeedway in Talladega, Alabama. Contested over 188 laps, it was the thirty-third, and the seventh race in the Chase for the Sprint Cup during the 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season. The race was won by Clint Bowyer, for the Richard Childress Racing team. Kevin Harvick finished second, and Juan Pablo Montoya clinched third.
Pole position driver Juan Pablo Montoya fell to third during the first lap, as Joe Nemechek, who started in the third position on the grid, moved to first. Afterward, Harvick became the leader of the race. Some of the Chase for the Sprint Cup participants, such as, Jeff Gordon stayed in the rear almost all race, but with about twenty laps remaining, him and his team mate Jimmie Johnson moved to first and second. Dale Earnhardt, Jr. led the most laps with 24, even though he was involved in an accident on lap 134. After the final caution, Bowyer led on the restart, but Harvick passed him with one lap remaining. While Harvick and Bowyer were side-by-side in the first turn, the sixth caution ended the race, which resulted in Bowyer winning over Harvick. Bowyer was able to edge Harvick for his second Chase win, with his other being at New Hampshire.
There were six cautions and eighty-five lead changes among twenty-six different drivers throughout the course of the race. It was Bowyer's second win in the 2010 season, with the other being in the Sylvania 300. The result kept him twelfth in the Drivers' Championship, 367 points behind Jimmie Johnson in first. Chevrolet maintained its lead in the Manufacturers' Championship, forty-five ahead of Toyota and ninety-three ahead of Ford, with three races remaining in the season. A total of 110,000 people attended the race, while 5.177 million watched it on television.
Talladega Superspeedway is one of six superspeedways to hold NASCAR races; the others are Daytona International Speedway, Auto Club Speedway, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Pocono Raceway and Michigan International Speedway. The standard track at the speedway is a four-turn superspeedway that is 2.66 miles (4.28 km) long. The track's turns are banked at thirty-three degrees, while the front stretch, the location of the finish line, is banked at 16.5 degrees. The back stretch has a two-degree banking. Talladega Superspeedway can seat up to 143,231 people.
Before the race, Jimmie Johnson led the Drivers' Championship with 5,998 points, and Denny Hamlin stood in second with 5,992 points. Kevin Harvick followed in third with 5,936 points, 110 ahead of Kyle Busch and 141 ahead of Jeff Gordon in fourth and fifth. Carl Edwards with 5,785 was twenty-three points ahead of Tony Stewart, as Jeff Burton with 5,752 points, was thirty-one ahead of Kurt Busch, and forty-seven in front of Matt Kenseth. Greg Biffle and Clint Bowyer was eleventh and twelfth with 5,682 and 5,592 points. In the Manufacturers' Championship, Chevrolet was leading with 236 points, forty-two points ahead of their rival Toyota. Ford, with 149 points, was twenty-four points ahead of Dodge in the battle for third. Jamie McMurray was the race's defending champion.
Practice and qualifying
Two practice sessions was held on Saturaday before the Sunday race. The first session lasted 45 minutes, while the second session lasted 60 minutes. During the first practice session, Hamlin, for the Joe Gibbs Racing team, was quickest ahead of Kyle Busch in second and McMurray in the third position. Gordon was scored fourth, and Johnson managed fifth. Marcos Ambrose, Kasey Kahne, Aric Almirola, Mark Martin, and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. rounded out the top ten quickest drivers in the session. Afterward, during the second, and final practice session, Martin, with a fastest time of 48.409, was quickest. Burton and Kyle Busch followed in second and third both with a time of 48.414 seconds. Hamlin managed to be fourth fastest, ahead of David Reutimann and Earnhardt, Jr. Kenseth was scored seventh, Stewart took eighth, David Ragan was ninth, and Robby Gordon was tenth.
On Saturday, during qualifying, forty-six cars were entered, but only forty-three was able because of NASCAR's qualifying procedure. Juan Pablo Montoya clinched his fifth pole position in the Sprint Cup Series, with a time of 51.863. He was joined on the front row of the grid by Bowyer. Kurt Busch qualified third, Joe Nemechek took fourth, and Burton started fifth. Stewart, one of the drivers in the Chase for the Sprint Cup, qualified twenty-sixth, while Gordon was scored thirty-first. The three drivers that failed to qualify for the race was Johnny Sauter, Travis Kvapil, and Landon Cassill. Once qualifying concluded, Montoya stated, "We always run pretty good at restrictor-plate tracks and we’re looking for a good day tomorrow." "We’ll run up front a little bit and see what happens," he continued, "We’ll play it by ear if we decide to go to the back for a while. It’s nice to have these cars and everyone doing the job they are doing here on this team."
The race, the thirty-third out of a total of thirty-six in the season, began at 1:00 p.m. EDT and was televised live in the United States on ESPN. Prior to the race, weather conditions were dry with the air temperature around 64 °F (18 °C). Randy Norris, from Alabama Raceway Ministries, began pre-race ceremonies, by giving the invocation. Next, Average Joe's Entertainment recording artist Josh Gracin performed the national anthem, and the AMP Energy grand marshal winners gave the command for drivers to start their engines.
At the start, Juan Pablo Montoya was first, ahead of Clint Bowyer. Joe Nemechek and Bowyer, both passed Montoya before the first lap was over, with Nemechek leading the first lap. On the following lap, Nemechek dropped to the back of the grid, as Kevin Harvick edged Dale Earnhardt, Jr. for the lead. Earnhardt became the leader on the third lap, while Bowyer was scored second on the lower line of cars. The lead then changed for the next three laps, with Montoya taking Bowyer for the lead at first, the first Red Bull Racing car of Kasey Kahne passed Montoya on the following lap before he was passed by Earnhardt, Jr. on the sixth lap. Afterward, Burton became the leader, after using the draft for assistance. On the eighth lap, Burton's team mate, Bowyer claimed the lead. With the draft, Brad Keselowski became the leader, before he was passed by Sam Hornish, Jr. during the tenth lap. Hornish held the lead until lap 12, when Michael Waltrip passed him for the lead, but would return to the head of the grid two laps after.
During the 15th lap, Matt Kenseth became the leader. On the following lap, Kenseth and Burton had separated themselves by 1.8 seconds. Afterward, Burton moved into the first position on lap 17. He kept the lead until lap 20, when Kenseth reclaimed the lead, as Tony Stewart made an unexpected pit stop. Two laps later, Kenseth was passed by Burton for the lead, but he would return to the first position on lap 25. After being almost two seconds ahead of third place, the rest of the grid was catching first and second, as Burton became the leader three laps later. Brad Keselowski became the leader on lap 29, while the first and second group of cars on the track was separated by six seconds. Keselowski led one lap before Waltrip became the leader, but he returned to lead during the 32nd lap. Keselowski until lap 36, when Bowyer passed him. On lap 37, Keselowski and Earnhardt made pit stops, two laps earlier than Jimmie Johnson and Nemechek. There were 3 lead changes over the next three laps; the drivers who led were Harvick, Martin Truex, Jr., and David Reutimann.
Reutimann led until lap 48 before Mark Martin passed him and led a lap, until Denny Hamlin – with assistance from Sam Hornish, Jr. – passed him. He led only two laps before Martin reclaimed the lead, but Hamlin would pass him on the 52nd lap. On the following lap, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. passed Hamlin for the first position. On the same lap, Bobby Labonte, David Ragan, and Bill Elliott was scored a lap behind the leaders. Earnhardt, Jr. led until lap 62, when Jamie McMurray passed him and became the leader. One lap later, Harvick claimed the lead, after having assistance from Reutimann. After one lap, Harvick and Reutimann had gained two seconds on the rest of the grid, but after leading two laps, Kyle Busch passed him and lead one lap. Afterward, his older brother, Kurt Busch moved ahead to become the leader. Harvick assisted Reutimann to the lead on lap 68. On the following lap, the first caution was given, after Allmendinger lost the handling of his car. All, except four of the front runners made pit stops during the caution; with most teams changing two or four tires. Following the pit stops, Kenseth moved to first, ahead of Harvick, Greg Biffle, Paul Menard, and Hamlin.
At the lap 73 restart, Kenseth was the leader, but was passed by Kyle Busch one lap later to become the leader. Busch led one lap before Reutimann passed him and led two laps, before Busch reclaimed the first position. Because of the draft, Kahne led lap 79. On the following lap, Hamlin was not able to stay toward the leaders, after losing the 'draft'. The lead then changed for the next five laps, with Earnhardt, Jr. taking Kahne for the lead at first, the second Earnhardt Ganassi car of Montoya passed Earnhardt, Jr. on the following lap before he was passed by Truex, Jr., who led only one lap before Hornish, Jr. edged Truex to lead lap 84.Afterward, Montoya reclaimed the lead, after drafting with his team mate, McMurray. On lap 86, Chad McCumbee drove to pit road, as Montoya continued to lead. Burton used the draft to move Earnhardt, Jr. pass Montoya for the head of the grid six laps later. On lap 99, Hamlin was scored a lap down after Earnhardt, Jr. passed him.
Earnhardt, Jr. led four laps before Reutimann took over the lead position and led two laps. Afterward, Harvick reclaimed the lead position, but was passed a lap later when Montoya moved to the lead on lap 106. Two laps later, Kenseth moved to first and led one lap, before Harvick passed him. Afterward, there were three lead changes in the next three laps, beginning with Harvick's team mate Bowyer, followed by Montoya and Earnhardt, Jr. Two laps earlier, pit stops began. On the 114th lap, Bowyer became the leader. On the following lap, he made a pit stop, leaving the lead to Reutimann, who led one lap, before finally giving the lead to Aric Almirola. After leading two laps, he was passed by Elliott Sadler, who led only one lap, before leaving the first position to Marcos Ambrose on lap 120, but one lap later, Menard passed Ambrose for the lead position.
Menard led three laps before McMurray reclaimed the lead and led one lap. Afterward, there were 3 lead changes, with the leaders being Burton leading two laps, and his team mate Bowyer with one. Two laps later, Bowyer claimed the lead, but after leading one lap he was passed by Montoya. After leading two laps, Montoya was passed by his team mate of McMurray, who led one lap before Montoya reclaimed the head of the grid. On lap 134, Burton and Earnhardt, Jr. collided, sending them to collide into the wall, prompting the second caution to be given. Both drove to the garage for repairs, but Burton said that his car was to severely damaged to return to the race. During the caution there were two leaders, they were Johnson, who led one lap, and Montoya, who reclaimed the lead, after Johnson made a pit stop. At the lap 138 restart, Montoya was scored first, ahead of Reutimann and Menard. One lap later, Joey Logano moved to first and led one lap, before Reutimann claimed the lead.
Reutimann led one lap before the third caution was given because Bowyer collided into Ambrose's rear bumper, which sent Ambrose down the track, as Harvick collided into him. On the same lap, Hornish, Jr. claimed the lead, as Denny Hamlin moves back on the same lap as the front runners. During the caution, all the front runners made pit stops for mostly fuel or four tires. On lap 144, Hornish, Jr. was given a drive-through penalty for excessive speed on pit road, causing him to give Logano the first position. At the lap 145 restart, Logano was scored first, Kurt Busch was second, and Menard was third. Logano led five laps before Truex, Jr., with assistance from Montoya, took over the first position. On lap 152, the fourth caution was given because of debris on the track. Most of the front runners didn't pit during the caution. Truex, Jr. led on the restart, but after leading one lap, was passed by Montoya.
Montoya led two laps before he was passed by Hamlin, who led one lap, before his team mate Kyle Busch passed him. On lap 164, McMurray drove to pit road, as Busch and Hamlin remained in the first two positions. Kyle Busch led sixteen laps before Menard became the leader and led a lap, until Jeff Gordon claimed the first position. Afterward, Johnson became the leader, as Gordon experienced engine problems. With nine laps remaining, Bowyer passed Johnson for the head of the grid, as Gordon continued to lose positions. Two laps later, the fifth caution was given because of debris in the third and fourth turns, which came from Nemechek's car. At the lap 184 restart, Bowyer led, as Johnson lost positions. On lap 187, Harvick claimed the lead, as the sixth caution was given because Allmendinger turned on his roof and collided into the wall. There were several other drivers also involved in the accident. Once the caution ended the race, Bowyer and Harvick were side-by-side, but Bowyer was announced the winner, while Harvick took second ahead of Montoya, Reutimann, and Logano in third, fourth, and fifth. Truex, Jr. finished sixth, Johnson claimed seventh, and Gordon was scored eighth. Hamlin and Keselowski managed to finish in the ninth and tenth positions.
Clint Bowyer appeared in victory lane after his victory lap to start celebrating his second win of the season, and his first Sprint Cup win at Talladega Superspeedway, in front of a crowd of 110,000 people. "Kevin coming on the outside and Juan (Montoya) pushing me got me to the lead. I turned (Marcos Ambrose) around and got into my teammate (Harvick) and I was sick about that but here he came at the end of the race," said Bowyer of his triumph.
Although Jimmie Johnson was leading with ten laps remaining, the fifth caution was given. Johnson, who finished second, said, "It's going to be an awesome championship battle all the way to Homestead, and I'm really looking forward to it." Bowyer also stated, "I thought we had it for sure," Bowyer said. "When two cars hook up, they just drive off from them and they [Harvick and Reutimann] were coming on the outside and ran us down, and then I quit dragging my brakes and we kind of took off again. Door to door there and all of a sudden ... [spotter Mike] Dillon is yelling at me in my ear that the caution was coming out. I looked over to make sure I was ahead of him. I thought I was, but I didn't know." The race result left Johnson leading the Driver's Championship with 6,149 points. Denny Hamlin, who finished ninth, maintained second at 6,135, twenty-four points ahead of Kevin Harvick and 193 ahead of Jeff Gordon. In the Manufacturers' Championship, Chevrolet maintained their lead with 245 points. Toyota remained second with 200 points. Ford followed with 152 points, twenty-three points ahead of Dodge in fourth. 5.177 million people watched the race on television.
Three days following the race, one race team was given penalties: Michael McDowell, from Whitney Motorsports. Whitney Motorsports's penalty included a $50,000 fine to Thomas Tucker (McDowell's crew chief) and an indefinite suspension of Tucker, and both Dusty Whitney and McDowell lost 50 driver and owner points. The team's car chief, Richard Boga, and team manager Tony Furr were also given indefinite suspensions. Whitney Motorsports was penalized because of unapproved added weight location and unapproved added weight, which was caused by the lower A-frames being filled with weight pellets.
Standings after the race
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