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2010 Kobalt Tools 500 (Atlanta)

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2010 Kobalt Tools 500 (Atlanta)

The 2010 Kobalt Tools 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Atlanta, Georgia was the fourth race of the 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season and ran 341 laps. The race began at 1 pm EST on March 7, 2010 and was televised on Fox and broadcast on PRN radio. The race had 13 different leaders, 33 lead changes, and 10 cautions.[1] During the race Carl Edwards and Brad Keselowski collided; Keselowski was sent airborne, subsequently crashing on his side door. Following his collision with Keselowski, Edwards was put under a three race probation that began in the 2010 Food City 500.[2] Kurt Busch was the winner.

Race report

Background

The track, Atlanta Motor Speedway, is one of ten intermediate to hold NASCAR races, the others being Charlotte Motor Speedway, Chicagoland Speedway, Darlington Raceway, Homestead Miami Speedway, Kansas Speedway, Kentucky Speedway, Las Vegas Motor Speedway, New Hampshire Motor Speedway, and Texas Motor Speedway.[3] The standard track at Atlanta Motor Speedway is a four-turn quad-oval track that is 1.54 miles (2.48 km) long.[4] The track's turns are banked at twenty-four degrees, while the front stretch, the location of the finish line, and the back stretch are banked at five.[4]

Practices and qualifying

In the first round of practice, the five fastest drivers were Mark Martin, Kyle Busch, Kasey Kahne, Ryan Newman.[5] During qualifying, Dale Earnhardt Jr. won the pole with a lap of 28.761 seconds while Kyle Busch, Juan Pablo Montoya, Mark Martin, and Jeff Gordon rounded out the top five.[6] There were only three drivers, Aric Almirola, Casey Mears, and Terry Cook, who failed to qualify.[6] In the second practice session, Jimmie Johnson, Mark Martin, Denny Hamlin, Kurt Busch, and Kasey Kahne were the fastest.[7] During Happy Hour (final practice), the five fastest cars were driven by Mark Martin, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Martin Truex Jr., Paul Menard, and David Ragan;[8] the session had one red flag when Greg Biffle collided with the wall.[9]

Race summary

During prerace events, Elliot Yancey gave the invocation and the country singer Mark Wills performed the national anthem. David Vaughn, Jr. gave the command.[10]

The green flag at 1:18 pm EST with the pole sitter Dale Earnhardt, Jr. leading them to the green start flag. After the start, Kyle Busch passed Earnhardt, Jr. and led the field. The first yellow flag was given on lap 4 due to the explosion of Robby Gordon's tire. Gordon's car hit the wall. He was uninjured. This time Kyle Busch led to the green start flag, but was passed by Kasey Kahne on lap 14. On lap 34, a yellow caution flag was given because David Ragan's right front tire was deflating. On lap 40, Kahne led the field to the green flag; on the same lap, the third caution came out, when Carl Edwards was clipped by Brad Keselowski and ran up the track to bump into Joey Logano. Also on the same lap, Kyle Busch passed Kahne to steal the lead. Busch then led the field until lap 48, when he was passed again by Kahne.[10]

On lap 78, the fourth yellow caution flag was brought out because of debris in turn four. On pit road Kurt Busch passed Kasey Kahne by beating everyone to the line, which meant Busch would lead the field to the green flag. After a 36 lap run, the fifth caution came out when Mark Martin spun out in the grass. Kurt Busch brought the drivers to the green flag after the caution. On lap 148, Denny Hamlin passed Kurt Busch for the lead. Ten laps later, the sixth caution was called because Joey Logano had a deflating tire. Denny Hamlin lead the field to the green flag on lap 164 by beating everyone off pit road.[10]


On lap 172, Juan Pablo Montoya passed Denny Hamlin for the lead, but the lead did not last for long as at lap 175 Kahne passed him. During green flag pit stops from lap 200 to lap 219, Denny Hamlin, Jeff Burton, Bill Elliott, and then Kasey Kahne held the lead, with Kahne leading after the pit stops. On lap 224, the seventh caution came out again because of debris, this time on the front stretch. On lap 229, Kasey Kahne again led them to the green flag, but his lead was cut short by Kurt Busch who passed him on lap 230. After 14 laps, Kasey Kahne again led until his green flag pit stop on lap 277. After the pit stop, the leader was Kahne until lap 288, when the eighth caution came out because Denny Hamlin blew a tire. Kurt Busch led the field to the green flag; on the same lap, the ninth caution came out because Max Papis and Elliott Sadler collided with the wall. Only a couple cars pitted, and Kurt Busch led them to the green flag.[10]

On lap 323, a 150 laps down Edwards made contact with Keselowski which angered him enough to desire revenge. Edwards got retaliation for his incident with Keselowski a lap later whom he spun out on the front stretch. Keselowski turned airborne, barrel-rolled once (despite all of the flaps on his car deploying), and crashed on the driver's side door on the catch-fence.

The crash was instantly described by NASCAR on Fox commentators Mike Joy and Darrell Waltrip as being eerily similar to the finish of the 2009 Aaron's 499 at Talladega the year before, when Keselowski turned the then leader Edwards into the catch fencing in the tri-oval on the last lap to win the big event, causing Edwards to get airborne and smash Ryan Newman's hood into wreckage and forcing Edwards to have to run by himself, 10,000 feet to get to the line to finish. Edwards had finished 24th in the race and claimed after the race that he forgave Keselowski but the rest of the year showed bitter blood between the two drivers.

Brad Keselowski hurt his leg during the crash and his pain was evident when he had to limp to the ambulance as his demolished car was dragged away and the fuel thrown out of his car during the flip was blown away by the dryers.

After a few caution laps just as the cars were getting ready to restart Edwards was blackflagged and parked for the rest of the race because NASCAR discovered radio communications from Edwards that he intentionally turned Keselowski; and was ordered to the NASCAR hauler. Expressing anger one last time he drove backwards down pit road in defiance as he entered the garage.[11] Instantly Edwards was given a three race probation for his actions.[12]

When interviewed soon after being parked Carl Edwards apologized and told NASCAR, the drivers, fans and officials that the guess by the officials and announcers about him wanting revenge but not expecting Keselowski to flip into the catch fences like the 2009 Talladega crash, when he performed it; was true. He also added before saying his goodbyes to the show for his meeting with NASCAR for his actions; that he hoped Keselowski was okay and messaged that he would not have performed his revenge had he known Keselowski was going to flip over.

On lap 331, many laps into overdrive, Clint Bowyer led the field to the green flag. They did not get the white flag under green, as the eleventh caution came out for a six car crash in turn 3, which included Jamie McMurray, Clint Bowyer, Kyle Busch, Mark Martin, Martin Truex Jr., and Denny Hamlin. There was also a lead change on the same lap, with Kurt Busch passing Clint Bowyer and Paul Menard. Kurt Busch continued to hold off Kenseth to win his first race of the year. This also marks as the longest race in Atlanta Motor Speedway history, as they ran 341 laps total, beating the 330 laps of the previous year's Kobalt Tools 500.[10]

Race results

Pos Car Driver Team Make
1 2 Kurt Busch[13][14] Penske Racing Dodge
2 17 Matt Kenseth Roush Fenway Racing Ford
3 42 Juan Pablo Montoya Earnhardt Ganassi Racing Chevrolet
4 9 Kasey Kahne Richard Petty Motorsports Ford
5 98 Paul Menard Richard Petty Motorsports Ford
6 43 A. J. Allmendinger Richard Petty Motorsports Ford
7 83 Brian Vickers Red Bull Racing Toyota
8 16 Greg Biffle Roush Fenway Racing Ford
9 29 Kevin Harvick Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet
10 82 Scott Speed Red Bull Racing Toyota
11 47 Marcos Ambrose JTG Daugherty Racing Toyota
12 48 Jimmie Johnson Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
13 14 Tony Stewart Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet
14 78 Regan Smith Furniture Row Racing Chevrolet
15 88 Dale Earnhardt, Jr. Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
16 21 Bill Elliott Wood Brothers Racing Ford
17 39 Ryan Newman Stewart Haas Racing Chevrolet
18 24 Jeff Gordon Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
19 19 Elliott Sadler Richard Petty Motorsports Ford
20 31 Jeff Burton Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet
21 11 Denny Hamlin Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota
22 71 Bobby Labonte TRG Motorsports Chevrolet
23 33 Clint Bowyer Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet
24 36 Mike Bliss Tommy Baldwin Racing Chevrolet
25 18 Kyle Busch Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota
26 38 David Gilliland Front Row Motorsports Ford
27 56 Martin Truex, Jr. Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota
28 77 Sam Hornish, Jr. Penske Racing Dodge
29 1 Jamie McMurray Earnhardt Ganassi Racing Chevrolet
30 34 Travis Kvapil Front Row Motorsports Ford
31 37 Kevin Conway Front Row Motorsports Ford
32 26 Boris Said Latitude 43 Motorsports Ford
33 5 Mark Martin Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
34 13 Max Papis Germain Racing Toyota
35 20 Joey Logano Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota
36 12 Brad Keselowski Penske Racing Dodge
37 6 David Ragan Roush Fenway Racing Ford
38 87 Joe Nemechek NEMCO Motorsports Toyota
39 99 Carl Edwards Roush Fenway Racing Ford
40 00 David Reutimann Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota
41 66 Dave Blaney Prism Motorsports Toyota
42 55 Michael McDowell Prism Motorsports Toyota
43 7 Robby Gordon Robby Gordon Motorsports Toyota

References

Previous race:
2010 Shelby American
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
2010 season
Next race:
2010 Food City 500
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