2007 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series

2007 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series
Chase for the Cup
  • Sylvania 300
  • Dodge Dealers 400
  • Kansas 400
  • UAW-Ford 500
  • Bank of America 500
  • Subway 500
  • Pep Boys Auto 500
  • Dickies 500
  • Checker Auto Parts 500 presented by Pennzoil
  • Ford 400
The 2007 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup season began on February 10, 2007 at Daytona International Speedway with the Budweiser Shootout and will end with the Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 18 of that same year. The Chase for the NEXTEL Cup began with the Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire International Speedway. This also serves as the final year that the series will be known as the NEXTEL Cup Series, as Sprint Nextel has decided to change the title series to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starting in 2008.

Changes in the points system and The Chase

Enlarge picture
NASCAR NEXTEL Cup logo
It was officially announced on January 22 at the annual NASCAR Media Tour]in Charlotte, North Carolina that two changes have been made for the 2007 Chase for the NEXTEL Cup.

The first is that wins will now be more important. The driver who finishes first now receives 185 points instead of 180. Including the five-point bonus for leading a lap, and the possible five bonus points for leading the most laps, a driver can now get a maximum of 195 points for winning a race.

The other changes involve the actual Chase. The top twelve drivers after the Chevy Rock and Roll 400 automatically qualified for the 2007 Chase. Additionally, each driver had their points reset to 5,000, plus ten points for each win during the first 26 races.

Top stories and controversies

Several major news stories and controversies have appeared throughout the 2007 campaign.

Car of Tomorrow

Main article: Car of Tomorrow


NASCAR introduced a new car style known as the "Car of Tomorrow" for use in sixteen races in 2007. This car was the result of a design program which started after the death of Dale Earnhardt Sr. in the 2001 Daytona 500. It was intended to offer improvements in safety, performance, competition and cost efficiency. Plans for a partial schedule in 2008 were expanded to full usage after race results and owner feedback led to acceptance of the new car. Some drivers however, offered criticism over the decision, feeling the new design led to boring, uncompetitive races.

AT&T Inc. vs. NASCAR

AT&T and BellSouth's Cingular brand, sponsor of Richard Childress Racing's #31 car, was legally renamed AT&T upon BellSouth's acquisition by AT&T, and has been phased out. This is not allowed under the grandfather clause in the original sponsorship agreement between the former Nextel Communitions (now Sprint Nextel) with NASCAR, and on March 16, it was announced that AT&T had filed suit in Atlanta Federal Court seeking to overturn said grandfather clause because of this and allow AT&T decals on the car. A judge ruled that RCR was allowed to put AT&T decals on the car on May 18, and the decals made their debut the following night in the NEXTEL All-Star Challenge. NASCAR originally had a stay when the judge ruled in RCR's favor, but that was later rescinded.

The legal wrangling continued as on June 17, NASCAR countersued AT&T for $100 million (US). NASCAR won the appeal on August 13th, and eleven days later at the Bristol Motor Speedway, NASCAR ordered AT&T logos removed from the 31 car, and AT&T filed for an injunction to get the decals back on. SprintNextel, AT&T and NASCAR settled their differences on September 7th, and the AT&T logos were placed back on Burton's ride in time for the Chevy Rock & Roll 400, and will stay on the car for the remainder of the season and into 2008, but after that, RCR must find a new sponsor to replace AT&T.

Robby Gordon and Motorola

Motorola is an associate sponsor on Robby Gordon's #7 car, however when his self-owned team tried to put a Motorola decal on the car for the Kobalt Tools 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway March 18, NASCAR ruled that this was in breach of the exclusivity clause with Sprint Nextel (even though NEXTEL uses Motorola phones) because NASCAR noticed this deal was part of Cellco Partnership (a joint partnership of Verizon and Vodafone, better known as the trade name Verizon Wireless) sponsorship of Gordon's Busch Series car (which is legal). NASCAR and Sprint later relented when it was decided to allow Motorola's Audio Products Division to be the car sponsor.

Shell logo controversy

Another controversy surrounds Shell and Sunoco. Sunoco is the exclusive gasoline supplier to NASCAR, yet RCR has signed Shell and their Pennzoil brand to the #29 car, driven by Kevin Harvick, winner of the Daytona 500 as that car had large Shell sponsorship decals during that race as well as large Shell logos on team uniforms in the pit crew and on Harvick himself. Pennzoil became the primary sponsor at following week's race in California. This was more than likely done at Sunoco's request, as a rival gasoline sponsored a car winning NASCAR's premier race, taking away publicity from an official sponsor.

Mark Martin schedule

The other concerns the part-time schedule being undertaken by Mark Martin. Through the spring Atlanta race, Martin held the points lead. Because he is taking a part-time schedule in the #01 DEI U.S. Army ride (purchased from the now-defunct Ginn Racing), Martin has reiterated that he will not run in all 36 races on the circuit this season, despite finishing second in the Daytona 500. He relinquished the lead by passing on the spring races at Bristol and Martinsville. Rookie drivers Regan Smith and Aric Almirola have been driving the #01 car in those races, as owner points had that car an exempt team for Bristol (from 2006) and Martinsville. However, Martin is extending his schedule to include a few more points races, but will again not race the full season.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. signs 5 year contract with Hendrick Motorsports

On May 10, 2007, it was announced that Dale Earnhardt, Jr. would be leaving the #8 Budweiser Chevrolet following the conclusion of the season as he could not get a contract extension with Dale Earnhardt, Inc., the driving team his father founded and run by his stepmother, Teresa Earnhardt. Speculation according to WFXT in Boston had him going to Richard Childress Racing where the "unretirement" of the #3 car that his father drove to seven then-Winston Cup championships and the 1998 Daytona 500 championship would have happened. Other rumors had him going to Joe Gibbs Racing driving a team sponsored by VISA, or had him starting a NEXTEL Cup team with the organization he owns that fields Busch Series cars, JR Motorsports. However, at a press conference on June 13, 2007, Dale Earnhardt Jr. announced a five year deal to join Hendrick Motorsports. He is replacing Kyle Busch, who currently drives the #5 Kellogg's/Carquest Chevrolet and will be going over to Joe Gibbs Racing to replace J.J. Yeley in the #18 Interstate Batteries Toyota. On September 19, it was announced that Jr. will drive the #88 Mountain Dew AMP/National Guard Chevrolet while Casey Mears will move over to the #5 with Alan Gustafson as crew chief. [1]. Junior's crew chief at DEI, Tony Eury, Jr. will make the move with him, leaving his position after the fall race at Talladega.

Merger Mania

Before the season opening Daytona 500, NASCAR team owner Jack Roush announced the selloff of 50% of his team, Roush Racing to the Fenway Sports Group, who own the Major League Baseball team the Boston Red Sox. The newly formed alliance between two differing sports markets would involve the team name to change to Roush Fenway Racing. However, this was only the beginning of what has now been called "Merger mania". The week before the Allstate 400 at The Brickyard became the week NASCAR was all shaken up in the ownership boxes. On July 24, Dale Earnhardt, Inc. merged with Ginn Racing, inheriting the #01 US Army ride of Mark Martin and Aric Almirola, putting the points earned by the #14 team points earned to Paul Menard's #15 team and the closure of the #13 team while releasing Sterling Marlin and Joe Nemechek. The next day, Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing, a regular in the Champ Car World Series, returned after an prolonged absence by buying Robert Yates Racing's NASCAR team, and renamed the combined operation Yates/Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing. With the announced retirement of Robert Yates, however, the merger was called off and the team will be named Yates Racing with Robert's son Doug Yates at the helm. Another merger was announced on August 6 when former crew chief Ray Evernham announced the merger of his team, Evernham Motorsports, with George Gillett, owner of the National Hockey League team the Montreal Canadiens and co-owner of the soccer team Liverpool F.C.. The merger was similar to the Roush Fenway merger as the new team was called Gillett Evernham Motorsports. During the weekend of the Sharp AQUOS 500, Hall of Fame Racing owners Troy Aikman and Roger Staubach, former football players for the Dallas Cowboys, announced their merger with Major League Baseball's Arizona Diamondbacks owner Tom Garfinkel and team president Jeff Moorad.[2] Michael Waltrip Racing Holdings LLC, a company created as a 50-50 partnership between Robert Kauffman and Michael Waltrip, was announced the weekend of the Bank of America 500 at Lowe's Motor Speedway. Michael currently owns the racing team that was originally formed in 1995 by two-time Daytona 500 winner.

Joe Gibbs Racing to Toyota

During the season rumors began to surface that Joe Gibbs Racing, owned by Washington Redskins coach Joe Gibbs, would be switching to the new manufacturer Toyota for the 2008 season. This switch would be signifigant for several reasons, one of them being that JGR has been allied with General Motors since its inception in 1992, first with Pontiac, then with Chevrolet when the former pulled out of NASCAR. The switch to Toyota would benefit the manufacturer itself, as they would be allied with a championship caliber team. As JGR loans equipment to Hall of Fame Racing, the team confirmed that they would also switch to Toyota if JGR does so. On September 5th, the rumors were confirmed.

Dale Jarrett announces retirement

During the race weekend for the Bank of America 500 at Lowe's Motor Speedway, Michael Waltrip Racing held a press conference. During the announcement, it was revealed to the racing world that 1999 Cup champion and three time Daytona 500 winner Dale Jarrett would retire from full-time driving following the end of the '07 season. The plan for Jarrett is to run the first five points races, then hand the #44 UPS Toyota to David Reutimann for the Goody's Cool Orange 500. As Jarrett is the '99 champion, entering the first five races, regardless of his previous standings, will guarantee his #44 in the field. Also, it was announced that MWR had added on New York investor Robert Kauffman, with Cal Wells as CEO.

2007 season

Teams

Each NEXTEL Cup race has a field of 43 cars.

For the first five races of 2007, the top 35 teams in owners points (not drivers' points) in 2006 earned an exemption into each race. If a driver went to a new team, he did not have a guaranteed starting spot, but his old team did, except if that new team was an exempt team. If a past champion is not driving for an exempt team (outside the top 35 in owner points), he may be eligible to use a past champions' provisional to enter the race. The provisional guarantees a spot to the most recent champion not exempt, but those who are former champions will be limited to six for the entire 2007 season.

Teams not exempt must "race" their way in during qualifying - if 47 cars are attempting to make the race, and no one is using a provisional, then there are 12 cars racing for eight spots, and the eight fastest cars will make the race. (The Daytona 500, which uses a different qualifying procedure, is the only exception to this rule, though the top 35 are still locked in.)

Starting with the sixth race in 2007, the current top 35 teams are awarded exemptions for the next race.

Full time entries

These 47 teams are expected to attempt all 36 NEXTEL Cup races. Those who need to qualify on time have their current owners points bolded.

Number Driver(s) Sponsor(s) Make Team 2007 Owners Points
00David Reutimann (R) / P. J. Jones ?Domino's Pizza / Burger KingToyotaMichael Waltrip Racing41st
1Martin Truex Jr.Bass Pro ShopsChevroletDale Earnhardt, Inc.12th
01Mark Martin / Regan Smith (R) / Aric Almirola[3]U.S. ARMY / Principal Financial GroupChevroletDale Earnhardt, Inc.8th
2Kurt BuschMiller LiteDodgePenske Racing16th
4Ward BurtonState Water Heaters / Lucas Oil / Food City / Miccosukee GamingChevroletMorgan-McClure Motorsports42nd
5Kyle BuschKellogg's / CarquestChevroletHendrick Motorsports11th
6David Ragan (R)AAAFordRoush Fenway Racing26th
7Robby Gordon / P. J. JonesJim Beam / Mapei / Menards / Camping World / Motorola / Johns-ManvilleFordRobby Gordon Motorsports25th
07Clint BowyerJack Daniel's / DirecTV / Camping WorldChevroletRichard Childress Racing10th
8Dale Earnhardt Jr.BudweiserChevroletDale Earnhardt, Inc.15th
9Kasey KahneDodge Dealers / UAW / McDonald'sDodgeGillett Evernham Motorsports27th
10Scott Riggs / Patrick CarpentierValvoline / Stanley ToolsDodgeValvoline Evernham Racing36th
11Denny HamlinFedExChevroletJoe Gibbs Racing2nd
12Ryan NewmanAlltel / Mobil 1 / KodakDodgePenske Racing14th
15Paul Menard (R)Menards / Pittsburgh Paints / Johns-Manville / Quaker State / Moen / Turtle WaxChevroletDale Earnhardt, Inc.29th (**)
16Greg BiffleAmeriquest / 3M / Jackson Hewitt / Dish Network / Aflac / Wii / Lumber LiquidatorsFordRoush Fenway Racing17th
17Matt KensethDeWALT / Carhartt / R+L Carriers / USG SheetrockFordRoush Fenway Racing4th
18J. J. YeleyInterstate BatteriesChevroletJoe Gibbs Racing18th
19Elliott SadlerDodge Dealers / UAW / SiemensDodgeGillett Evernham Motorsports22nd
20Tony StewartThe Home DepotChevroletJoe Gibbs Racing6th
21Ken Schrader / Boris Said / Bill Elliott * / Jon Wood (R)Little Debbie / U.S. Air Force / MotorcraftFordWood Brothers/JTG Racing38th
22Dave BlaneyCaterpillarToyotaBill Davis Racing34th
24Jeff GordonDuPont / Pepsi / NicoretteChevroletHendrick Motorsports1st
25Casey MearsNational Guard / GMACChevroletHendrick Motorsports20th
26Jamie McMurrayCrown Royal / Irwin Industrial ToolsFordRoush Fenway Racing15th
29Kevin HarvickShell / Pennzoil / Reese'sChevroletRichard Childress Racing9th
31Jeff BurtonAT&T / Prilosec OTC / Lenox Industrial ToolsChevroletRichard Childress Racing5th
36 / 23xJeremy Mayfield / Butch Leitzinger ?360 OTCToyotaBill Davis Racing44th
37Kevin Lepage / John Andretti / Brian Simo / Boris SaidRoadLoans / Huddle House / Long John Silvers / Camping World / Taco Bell / Detoxify BrandDodgeFront Row Motorsports48th
38David GillilandM&M's / CombosFordYates Racing33rd
40David StremmeCoors Light / Tums / Energizer / TargetDodgeChip Ganassi Racing24th
41Reed SorensonTarget / Tums / EnergizerDodgeChip Ganassi Racing28th
42Juan Pablo Montoya (R)Texaco / Havoline / Big RedDodgeChip Ganassi Racing21st
43Bobby LabonteCheerios / Betty CrockerDodgePetty Enterprises19th
44Dale JarrettUPSToyotaMichael Waltrip Racing40th
45Kyle Petty / John Andretti / Chad McCumbeeWells Fargo / Marathon Oil / Victory Junction Gang CampDodgePetty Enterprises34th
48Jimmie JohnsonLowe's Home ImprovementChevroletHendrick Motorsports3rd
49Mike Bliss / Chad Chaffin / Ken Schrader / Larry Foyt / Klaus Graf †/ John AndrettiParalyzed Veterans of America / Zoneloans / LifeLockDodgeBAM Racing49th
55Michael Waltrip / Terry Labonte * ?NAPA Auto PartsToyotaMichael Waltrip Racing51st
66Jeff GreenBest Buy / Garmin / Samsung / HAASChevrolet / Yellow TransportationHaas CNC Racing33rd
70Johnny SauterYellow Transportation / Radioactive Energy / FleetPride / HAAS Automation / Best BuyChevroletHaas CNC Racing34th
78Kenny Wallace / Scott Wimmer / Sterling Marlin / Joe NemechekFurniture RowChevroletFurniture Row Racing42nd
83Brian VickersRed BullToyotaTeam Red Bull39th
84A. J. Allmendinger (R)Red BullToyotaTeam Red Bull45th
88Ricky Rudd / Kenny WallaceSnickers / Combos / PedigreeFordYates Racing30th
96Tony Raines / Ron Fellows ?Texas Instruments DLP HDTVChevroletHall of Fame Racing23rd
99Carl EdwardsOffice DepotFordRoush Fenway Racing7th


Note: Dale Jarrett has used all of his championship provisionals through the spring race at Talladega.

(*) - Has past champions provisionals.

(†) - Will run the road races this season. Terry Labonte also replaced Waltrip at Indianapolis. [1]

(x) -When Leitzinger runs the road courses, he carries over the Davis owner points to his Catipillar #23 Toyota.

(**) - On July 24th, Ginn Racing merged with DEI. The #15 car inherited the points earned by the #14 team of Ginn Racing, with the #13 team closing. All other teams below them as a result, have been advanced by one position.

Part-time entries

These cars are expected to attempt several NEXTEL Cup races, but not all 36. Because it is highly unlikely any of the part-time teams will be in the top 35 in owners' points, they will have to race their way in to all events.

Number Driver(s) Sponsor(s) Make Team 2007 Owners' Points
02Brandon AshSprinter TruckingDodgeAsh Racing57th
03Todd BodineGermain RacingToyotaGermain RacingN/A
04Eric McClureHefty Brand / Crabby Joe'sChevroletMorgan-McClure MotorsportsN/A
06Sam Hornish, Jr.Penske Truck Rental / Mobil 1 / KenwoodDodgePenske RacingN/A
08Joe Nemechek / Carl LongFans on Board / E&M MotorsportsDodgeE&M Motorsports60th
09Mike Wallace / Sterling MarlinMiccosukee Indian ReservationChevroletPhoenix Racing53rd
23Mike SkinnerToyota CamryToyotaBill Davis Racing67th (see above)
27Kirk ShelmerdineLilly Trucking of VirginiaChevroletKirk Shelmerdine Racing66th
27Jacques VilleneuveUNICEFToyotaBill Davis RacingN/A
30Stanton BarrettBad Boy Power Drink / Interush / Pro30.comChevroletWare Racing50th
33Scott WimmerHoliday Inn / Camping WorldChevroletRichard Childress Racing54th
34Kevin Lepage / Chad Chaffin / John Andretti/ Bill ElliottTaco Bell / Makoto / myAutoloan.com / Detoxify Brand / Wyndham / Platinum ProductionsDodgeFront Row Motorsports52nd
39Regan Smith (R)Ginn ResortsChevroletGinn Racing(see above)
46Johnny BensonToyota Racing Development / 360 OTC / Wyler RacingToyotaWyler Racing51st
47Marcos Ambrose / Ken Schrader / Jon Wood (R)Team Australia / Aussie Vineyards / Clorox / Kingsford / McKee FoodsFordWood Brothers/JTG Racing63rd
58James HyltonRetirement Living TelevisionChevroletHylton Motorsports62nd
60Boris Said No Fear / Raley's / Valvoline / Dollar General / Winn DixieFordNo Fear Racing50th
71Frank KimmelFast Track Driving SchoolFordFast Track RacingN/A
72Brandon WhittDutch Quality StoneChevroletCJM RacingN/A
74Derrike CopeRoyal AdministrationDodgeMcGlynn Racing57th
77Marcos AmbroseCamping World / Robby Gordon MotorsportsFordRobby Gordon MotorsportsN/A
80Aric AlmirolaJoe Gibbs DrivenChevroletJoe Gibbs Racing55th
89Morgan ShepherdVictory in Jesus Racing MinistriesDodgeFaith MotorsportsN/A
91Marc GoossensCommonwealthToyotaRiley-D'Hondt Motorsports53
98Boris SaidValvoline / Stanley ToolsDodgeGillett Evernham Motorsports N/A

Rookies

§ - Smith and Wood will be running partial seasons, though they will be eligible for the rookie of the year award. The two have not announced they will be running for the award, however.

Driver Standings

For full Top 12 Drivers Standings, see 2007 Chase for the NEXTEL Cup.

2007 season races

All races are held in the USA. Race names are subject to change. See List of 2007 NASCAR races for a list and schedule of the 2007 season races.

Budweiser Shootout

This non-points race, which involves the previous season's pole winners and past Shootout winners, was held on Saturday, February 10, 2007, at Daytona International Speedway officially kicking off Speedweeks. Two-time series champion Tony Stewart took the checkered flag, but as he did so, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. made contact with the back bumper of Elliott Sadler, causing a five-car wreck less than 1000 feet from the start/finish line.

One of the biggest headlines for the Shootout was that it would be the first NEXTEL Cup race to feature Toyota, and in the draw for starting spots, Dale Jarrett, a Toyota driver, drew the pole position. However, he slid to the back within four laps of the start, and stayed there for most of the race. Brian Vickers, the other Toyota driver in the event, started fourth, and though he went back-and-forth through the field, finished eighth.

Top Ten Results:
Pos. No. Driver Car Team
1#20 Tony StewartChevroletJoe Gibbs Racing
2#38 David GillilandFordRobert Yates Racing
3#2 Kurt BuschDodgePenske Racing
4#48 Jimmie JohnsonChevroletHendrick Motorsports
5#29 Kevin HarvickChevroletRichard Childress Racing
6#01 Mark MartinChevroletGinn Racing
7#5 Kyle BuschChevroletHendrick Motorsports
8#83 Brian VickersToyotaTeam Red Bull
9#31 Jeff BurtonChevroletRichard Childress Racing
10#10 Scott RiggsDodgeEvernham Motorsports

Daytona 500

Main article: 2007 Daytona 500

Qualifying and Gatorade Duel

Qualifying for the front row of the 2007 Daytona 500 took place on February 11, 2007. Robert Yates Racing swept the front row with the #38 Ford Fusion of David Gilliland winning the pole and the #88 of teammate Ricky Rudd finishing second.

Rule-breaking tactics, however, swirled around the qualifying. Five teams were slapped with suspensions, fines and points deductions for illegal modifications. The hardest hit was Michael Waltrip, whose #55 team was the most harshly punished, having their race director and crew chief suspended indefinitely, fined $100,000 (US) and the docking of 100 owners and drivers points for a gelatin-like substance found in the intake manifold during inspections before the qualifying, and in a replacement manifold after qualifying. The substance was revealed by NASCAR, during the announcement of the penalties, to be an unspecified oxygenate compound that was blended with the fuel, possibly in an attempt to defeat the effect of the restrictor plate. Waltrip fired said crew chief for the unauthorized change that neither he or anyone else authorized. The #17 Matt Kenseth team of Roush Racing and the #9 Kasey Kahne team from Evernham Motorsports had their crew chiefs suspended for the first four races, fined $50,000 and had 50 driver and owner points taken away for illegal modifications discovered in post-qualifying inspections. All three teams also had their qualifying times for the pole positions disqualified, and Waltrip's original car was impounded by NASCAR, forcing him to go to a back-up auto for the first qualifying race.

Additionally, two other Evernham teams - the #10 of Scott Riggs and the #19 of Elliott Sadler - had their crew chiefs suspended for the first two races of the season, slapped with $25,000 fines and deductions of 25 owner and driver points. Unlike the other three teams, their times were allowed to stand and kept their starting positions for the qualifying doubleheader as those violations were found in pre-qualifying inspections.

Gilliland sat on the pole for the first of the Gatorade Duel races on February 15, 2007, which establishes the starting order for the Super Bowl of NASCAR Racing, while Rudd was on the point for the second race, which both aired on Speed as part of the new NASCAR TV package.

Top ten results:

Race One:
Pos. No. Driver Car Team
1#20 Tony StewartChevroletJoe Gibbs Racing
2#8 Dale Earnhardt Jr.ChevroletDale Earnhardt, Inc.
3#31 Jeff BurtonChevroletRichard Childress Racing
4#38 David GillilandFordRobert Yates Racing
5#11 Denny HamlinChevroletJoe Gibbs Racing
6#07 Clint BowyerChevroletRichard Childress Racing
7#1 Martin Truex Jr.ChevroletDale Earnhardt, Inc.
8#55 Michael WaltripToyotaMichael Waltrip Racing
9#25 Casey MearsChevroletHendrick Motorsports
10#21 Ken SchraderFordWood Brothers/JTG Racing


Race Two:
Pos. No. Driver Car Team
1#24 Jeff Gordon §ChevroletHendrick Motorsports
2#2 Kurt BuschDodgePenske Racing
3#40 David StremmeDodgeChip Ganassi Racing
4#5 Kyle BuschChevroletHendrick Motorsports
5#17 Matt KensethFordRoush Fenway Racing
6#18 J.J. YeleyChevroletJoe Gibbs Racing
7#99 Carl EdwardsFordRoush Fenway Racing
8#12 Ryan NewmanDodgePenske Racing
9#13 Joe NemechekChevroletGinn Racing
10#96 Tony RainesChevroletHall of Fame Racing

NOTE: First race was extended by three laps (157.5 miles) due to green-white-checker finish.
§ — During post-race inspection, it was discovered that Jeff Gordon's car was one inch too low due to misaligned bolts on a shock absorber. Gordon would keep the win, but had to start 42nd in the Daytona 500.

The race

The race was hotly contested by many, with many stories abound. From Toyota attempting to emotionally rebound after Michael Waltrip's loss of not only his crew chief and VP of Competition, but also losing 100 driver and owner points. Other stories were Jeff Gordon's disqualification after winning his Gatorade Duel, and Tony Stewart's Speedweeks domination, attempting to win the Bud Shootout, the Duel, and the Daytona 500. The first few laps were incident free except for a spin by road racing veteran Boris Said. The race was dominated by Tony Stewart and Kurt Busch. Both combined for a total of 130 of 200 laps. However, with just under a quarter of the laps to go, Tony got loose in Turn 4 while Kurt was unable to avoid Stewart and turned him into the wall in a crash that looked like the one that killed Dale Earnhardt in 2001, exactly six years to that tragic date. From that point on, it was a game of survival of the fastest as defending race winner Jimmie Johnson, outside polesitter Ricky Rudd, and fan favorite Dale Earnhardt Jr. were taken out in incidents throughout the day. A red flag was brought out in a crash involving Jamie McMurray, Rudd, and Junior. At the time of the flag, Mark Martin, who had not won the Great American Race in 22 tries, was in the lead with his ex-teammates behind him. On the restart, everyone attempted to pass Mark on the low line, but he successfully blocked. However, charging up the outside was Kevin Harvick who came from 34th to take the lead heading into the fourth turn. However, the Big One would finally occur on the last lap as Kyle Busch hit the apron and spun, causing a chain reaction crash. Despite the incidents, NASCAR officials did not freeze the field and let Harvick and Martin duke it out in the last hundred yards. In one of the closest 500s since the inaugural in 1959, Kevin Harvick passed Mark Martin to the stripe by 0.020 seconds, becoming the 31st different winner of the Great American Race.

Top ten results (202 laps/505 miles due to green-white-checkered rule.)
Pos. No. Driver Car Team
1#29 Kevin HarvickChevroletRichard Childress Racing
2#01 Mark MartinChevroletGinn Racing
3#31 Jeff BurtonChevroletRichard Childress Racing
4#09 Mike WallaceChevroletPhoenix Racing
5#6 David Ragan (R)FordRoush Fenway Racing
6#19 Elliott SadlerDodgeEvernham Motorsports
7#9 Kasey KahneDodgeEvernham Motorsports
8#38 David GillilandFordRobert Yates Racing
9#13 Joe NemechekChevroletGinn Racing
10#24 Jeff GordonChevroletHendrick Motorsports


Failed to qualify:

Auto Club 500

Main article: 2007 Auto Club 500
The Auto Club 500, NASCAR's second points race of the season, and what many people consider "the first real race of the season" (without the restrictor plates run at Daytona) was held at California Speedway on February 25, 2007. This race was the first run in NEXTEL Cup series history with unleaded gasoline, as all three major series began running Sunoco 260 GT Plus, a 112-octane racing fuel, starting with this race. Jeff Gordon won his first pole of the season. Matt Kenseth swept the Busch and Cup Series races at Fontana, and Toyota gained its first top-10 in the NEXTEL Cup Series.

Top ten results:
Pos. No. Driver Car Team
1.#17 Matt KensethFordRoush Fenway Racing
2.#24 Jeff GordonChevroletHendrick Motorsports
3.#48 Jimmie JohnsonChevroletHendrick Motorsports
4.#31 Jeff BurtonChevroletRichard Childress Racing
5.#01 Mark MartinChevroletGinn Racing
6.#07 Clint BowyerChevroletRichard Childress Racing
7.#2 Kurt BuschDodgePenske Racing South
8.#20 Tony StewartChevroletJoe Gibbs Racing
9.#5 Kyle BuschChevroletHendrick Motorsports
10.#83 Brian VickersToyotaTeam Red Bull


Failed to qualify: Michael Waltrip (#55), Ward Burton (#4), Jeremy Mayfield (#36), A. J. Allmendinger (#84), Robert Cline (#08), Brandon Whitt (#72), Mike Bliss (#49), Kenny Wallace (#78), Kevin Lepage (#34)

UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400

The UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400, NASCAR's third race of the season, was held at the newly refurbished Las Vegas Motor Speedway on March 11, 2007. Kasey Kahne won the pole. This would be the final race with the UAW-DaimlerChrysler name; starting in 2008 after DaimlerBenz sold off Chrysler, the race would be renamed the UAW-Dodge 400.

Top ten results:
Pos. No. Driver Car Team
1.#48 Jimmie JohnsonChevroletHendrick Motorsports
2.#24 Jeff GordonChevroletHendrick Motorsports
3.#11 Denny HamlinChevroletJoe Gibbs Racing
4.#17 Matt KensethFordRoush Fenway Racing
5.#01 Mark MartinChevroletGinn Racing
6.#99 Carl EdwardsFordRoush Fenway Racing
7.#20 Tony StewartChevroletJoe Gibbs Racing
8.#12 Ryan NewmanDodgePenske Racing South
9.#5 Kyle BuschChevroletHendrick Motorsports
10.#26 Jamie McMurrayFordRoush Fenway Racing


Failed to qualify: A.J. Allmendinger (#84), Mike Bliss (#49), John Andretti (#37), Brian Vickers (#83), David Reutimann (#00), Jeremy Mayfield (#36), Brandon Whitt (#72), Kevin Lepage (#34), Robert Cline (#08), Michael Waltrip (#55), Ken Schrader (#47).

NOTE: Regan Smith was to have qualified in the #39 car, but the car was withdrawn prior to qualifying.

Kobalt Tools 500

Main article: 2007 Kobalt Tools 500
The fourth race of the season, the Kobalt Tools 500, was held at Atlanta Motor Speedway on March 18, 2007. Ryan Newman won the pole, his seventh at Atlanta, but started 43rd after blowing an engine in Saturday practice.

Top ten results:
Pos. No. Driver Car Team
1.#48 Jimmie JohnsonChevroletHendrick Motorsports
2.#20 Tony StewartChevroletJoe Gibbs Racing
3.#17 Matt KensethFordRoush Fenway Racing
4.#31 Jeff BurtonChevroletRichard Childress Racing
5.#42 Juan Pablo Montoya (R)DodgeChip Ganassi Racing
6.#07 Clint BowyerChevroletRichard Childress Racing
7.#99 Carl EdwardsFordRoush Fenway Racing
8.#1 Martin Truex Jr.ChevroletDale Earnhardt, Inc.
9.#41 Reed SorensonDodgeChip Ganassi Racing
10.#01 Mark MartinChevroletGinn Racing


Failed to qualify: Scott Wimmer (#33), Ward Burton (#4), John Andretti (#37), Michael Waltrip (#55), Kenny Wallace (#78), Kevin Lepage (#34), Jeremy Mayfield (#36), A. J. Allmendinger (#84)

Food City 500

Main article: 2007 Food City 500
The fifth race of the season, the Food City 500, was held at Bristol Motor Speedway on March 25, 2007. This was the first race to feature the Car of Tomorrow and the last before the fabled high banks were repaved with new concrete for the August race under the lights with progressive banking.

Jeff Gordon won the first CoT Pole Position in NASCAR history, but this race was the first race without Joe Nemechek participating in five years as he failed to qualify on speed as his #13 Ginn Racing team missed the show. However, Jeremy Mayfield (Bill Davis Racing #36) and A.J. Allmendinger (Team Red Bull #84) both started their first race of the season.

Top ten results: (504 laps/252 miles due to green-white-checkered rule.)
Pos. No. Driver Car Team
1.#5 Kyle BuschChevroletHendrick Motorsports
2.#31 Jeff BurtonChevroletRichard Childress Racing
3.#24 Jeff GordonChevroletHendrick Motorsports
4.#29 Kevin HarvickChevroletRichard Childress Racing
5.#16 Greg BiffleFordRoush Fenway Racing
6.#66 Jeff GreenChevroletHaas CNC Racing
7.#8 Dale Earnhardt Jr.ChevroletDale Earnhardt, Inc.
8.#07 Clint BowyerChevroletRichard Childress Racing
9.#26 Jamie McMurrayFordRoush Fenway Racing
10.#25 Casey MearsChevroletHendrick Motorsports
Failed to qualify: Kevin Lepage (#37), David Reutimann (#00), Michael Waltrip (#55), Paul Menard (#15), Joe Nemechek (#13), Johnny Sauter (#70)

Goody's Cool Orange 500

The Goody's Cool Orange 500, the sixth race of the season was held at Martinsville Speedway on April 1, 2007, as this race was the second race to feature the Car of Tomorrow and the first of the season to use the 2007 owners' points to lock in the Top 35 teams for qualification. Denny Hamlin won the pole for this race, and Jimmie Johnson was the race winner.

Top ten results:
Pos. No. Driver Car Team
1.#48 Jimmie JohnsonChevroletHendrick Motorsports
2.#24 Jeff GordonChevroletHendrick Motorsports
3.#11 Denny HamlinChevroletJoe Gibbs Racing
4.#5 Kyle BuschChevroletHendrick Motorsports
5.#8 Dale Earnhardt Jr.ChevroletDale Earnhardt, Inc.
6.#31 Jeff BurtonChevroletRichard Childress Racing
7.#20 Tony StewartChevroletJoe Gibbs Racing
8.#10 Scott RiggsDodgeEvernham Motorsports
9.#26 Jamie McMurrayFordRoush Fenway Racing
10.#17 Matt KensethFordRoush Fenway Racing


Failed to qualify: Michael Waltrip (#55), Paul Menard (#15), Kenny Wallace (#78), Kevin Lepage (#34), Brian Vickers (#83), Ward Burton (#4)

Samsung 500

Main article: 2007 Samsung 500
The Samsung 500, the seventh race of the season was held at Texas Motor Speedway on April 15, 2007. Qualifying was cancelled due to a wild tornado outbreak and the field was set by current owners' points, as a result Jeff Gordon started from the pole. He finished a respectable fourth place, but the race was won on turn 2 of the final lap by Jeff Burton, who overtook Matt Kenseth for the lead in a classy finish.

Top ten results:
Pos. No. Driver Car Team
1.#31 Jeff BurtonChevroletRichard Childress Racing
2.#17 Matt KensethFordRoush Fenway Racing
3.#01 Mark MartinChevroletGinn Racing
4.#24 Jeff GordonChevroletHendrick Motorsports
5.#26 Jamie McMurrayFordRoush Fenway Racing
6.#16 Greg BiffleFordRoush Fenway Racing
7.#1 Martin Truex Jr.ChevroletDale Earnhardt, Inc.
8.#42 Juan Montoya (R)DodgeChip Ganassi Racing
9.#11 Denny HamlinChevroletJoe Gibbs Racing
10.#40 David StremmeDodgeChip Ganassi Racing


Failed to make race as qualifying was cancelled due to rain: David Reutimann (#00), Jeremy Mayfield (#36), John Andretti (#37), A. J. Allmendinger (#84), Michael Waltrip (#55), Ward Burton (#4), Kevin Lepage (#34), Scott Wimmer (#33)

Subway Fresh Fit 500

The eighth race of the season, the Subway Fresh Fit 500, was held at Phoenix International Raceway on April 21, 2007. This was the third race to feature the Car of Tomorrow, as well as the season's first night race. Jeff Gordon captured his third pole of the season, tying him for fourth on the all-time poles list with Darrell Waltrip. Near the end of the race, he pulled away from Tony Stewart, won the race and tied Dale Earnhardt's 76 wins. In the eyes of his son, Jeff Gordon pulled a class act and drove a "Polish Victory Lap" with the flag of his father's famous #3, but fans of "The Imtimidator" threw cans and bottles of beer on the track (mainly Earnhardt, Jr.'s sponsor Budweiser), and were criticized by the driver of the #8 car in the post-race news conference. Tony Stewart, who was leading when Jeff Gordon passed him following a caution was so irate about the outcome (even going as far to criticize that NASCAR "fixes" races much like professional wrestling on his satellite radio show later that week) blew off the manditory appearance at the post-race media session, and was fined $10,000 (US) for doing so.

Top ten results:
Pos. No. Driver Car Team
1.#24 Jeff GordonChevroletHendrick Motorsports
2.#20 Tony StewartChevroletJoe Gibbs Racing
3.#11 Denny HamlinChevroletJoe Gibbs Racing
4.#48 Jimmie JohnsonChevroletHendrick Motorsports
5.#17 Matt KensethFordRoush Fenway Racing
6.#66 Jeff GreenChevroletHaas CNC Racing
7.#5 Kyle BuschChevroletHendrick Motorsports
8.#43 Bobby LabonteDodgePetty Enterprises
9.#70 Johnny SauterChevroletHaas CNC Racing
10.#29 Kevin HarvickChevroletRichard Childress Racing


Failed to qualify: Jeremy Mayfield (#36), Michael Waltrip (#55), John Andretti (#37), Brian Vickers (#83), A. J. Allmendinger (#84), Mike Bliss (#49), Brandon Ash (#02)

Aaron's 499

Main article: 2007 Aaron's 499
The Aaron's 499, the ninth race of the season, was held at Talladega Superspeedway on April 29, 2007. Jeff Gordon won his second consecutive pole over David Gilliland who clocked an identical qualifying time by virtue of his higher standing in the owner points. Gordon broke his tie with Dale Earnhardt, while fourteen fans were arrested for throwing more beer cans at Gordon, despite being warned prior to the race. Those fans were banned from buying tickets from Talladega for life, but a loophole was found that would have those fans buying tickets from third-party companies and attend races in Alabama. Wood Brothers/JTG Racing missed their first race since the May 2000 event at California Speedway as they were out of the Top 35 in points.

Top ten results:
Pos. No. Driver Car Team
1.#24 Jeff GordonChevroletHendrick Motorsports
2.#48 Jimmie JohnsonChevroletHendrick Motorsports
3.#2 Kurt BuschDodgePenske Racing
4.#38 David GillilandFordRobert Yates Racing
5.#26 Jamie McMurrayFordRoush Fenway Racing
6.#29 Kevin HarvickChevroletRichard Childress Racing
7.#8 Dale Earnhardt Jr.ChevroletDale Earnhardt, Inc.
8.#40 David StremmeDodgeChip Ganassi Racing
9.#12 Ryan NewmanDodgePenske Racing
10.#1 Martin Truex Jr.ChevroletDale Earnhardt, Inc.


Failed to qualify: Michael Waltrip (#55), Brian Vickers (#83), Dave Blaney (#22), A. J. Allmendinger (#84), Ken Schrader (#21), Mike Wallace (#09), Kevin Lepage (#34), John Andretti (#37), Mike Bliss (#49)

Crown Royal Presents The Jim Stewart 400

The tenth race of the season, the Crown Royal Presents The Jim Stewart 400, was scheduled to be held at Richmond International Raceway on May 5, 2007, but was postponed due to rain to May 6th. This was the fourth race to feature the Car of Tomorrow. The race was named after Jim Stewart of Houma, Louisiana who won an essay contest during the festivities leading up to the Daytona 500 sponsored by Crown Royal. The contest was so popular, it is being repeated in 2008. Jeff Gordon captured his third straight pole by .01 second over second place qualifier Carl Edwards. Dale Jarrett failed to qualify and missed his first Nextel Cup Race since the 1994 fall race at North Wilkesboro Speedway.

Top ten results:
Pos. No. Driver Car Team
1.#48 Jimmie JohnsonChevroletHendrick Motorsports
2.#5 Kyle BuschChevroletHendrick Motorsports
3.#11 Denny HamlinChevroletJoe Gibbs Racing
4.#24 Jeff GordonChevroletHendrick Motorsports
5.#2 Kurt BuschDodgePenske Racing
6.#12 Ryan NewmanDodgePenske Racing
7.#29 Kevin HarvickChevroletRichard Childress Racing
8.#20 Tony StewartChevroletJoe Gibbs Racing
9.#07 Clint BowyerChevroletRichard Childress Racing
10.#17 Matt KensethFordRoush Fenway Racing


Failed to qualify: Brian Vickers (#83), Michael Waltrip (#55), Jeremy Mayfield (#36), Ken Schrader (#21), Dale Jarrett (#44), Kevin Lepage (#37), Mike Bliss (#49)

Dodge Avenger 500

The Dodge Avenger 500, NASCAR's eleventh race of the season, was held at Darlington Raceway on May 13, 2007, after rain forced the scheduled race date (May 12) to be postponed to the following afternoon. This was the fifth race to feature the Car of Tomorrow. Clint Bowyer won his first career pole when he earned the pole position in qualifying.

The race marked the 50th anniversary of the first Rebel 300, run on Confederate Memorial Day weekend. Ironically, like the inaugural Rebel exactly 50 years to the date of the rescheduled date, the 51st running of the "Rebel" was postponed because of rain itself. Unlike 1957, when Darlington Raceway president Bob Colvin was fined for racing on Sunday, a violation of South Carolina Blue laws at that time, current regulations permit Sunday racing provided (1) the race was scheduled for greater than 250 miles or (2) if the race start was later than 1:30 PM. The 501.367 mile distance made the race legal on Sunday.

(The September 1983 Busch Series race at Darlington, held on a Sunday as the Southern 500 was held on Monday, was 250 miles because of the law. All other races at the track have been 200 miles on Friday or Saturday.)

Despite radiator problems, Jeff Gordon won his second 500, his first since 1996. (Gordon won a record-tying five Mountain Dew Southern 500's, his most for any major, part of NASCAR's Grand Slam, was removed from the schedule because of a lawsuit.)

This was also the first daytime race at Darlington since the Carolina Dodge Dealers 400 in March 2004.

Following the race, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. had been docked 100 drivers points, his owner, Teresa Earhardt (his stepmother) had 100 owners points taken away from the #8 team and was fined $100,000 and crew chief Tony Eury, Jr. was suspended until July 4th for illegal bolts on the wing of the Chevy Impala Car of Tomorrow.

Top ten results:
Pos. No. Driver Car Team
1.#24 Jeff GordonChevroletHendrick Motorsports
2.#11 Denny HamlinChevroletJoe Gibbs Racing
3.#48 Jimmie JohnsonChevroletHendrick Motorsports
4.#12 Ryan NewmanDodgePenske Racing
5.#99 Carl EdwardsFordRoush Fenway Racing
6.#20 Tony StewartChevroletJoe Gibbs Racing
7.#17 Matt KensethFordRoush Fenway Racing
8.#8 Dale Earnhardt Jr.ChevroletDale Earnhardt Incorporated
9.#07 Clint BowyerChevroletRichard Childress Racing
10.#31 Jeff BurtonChevroletRichard Childress Racing


Failed to qualify: Jeremy Mayfield (#36), Ward Burton (#4), Mike Bliss (#49), Michael Waltrip (#55), Dale Jarrett (#44), Scott Riggs (#10)

NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge

The 23rd annual NEXTEL Open and All-Star Challenge, the second and final non-points event of the season, was held at Lowe's Motor Speedway on May 19, 2007. As part of the new NASCAR television package, these events were broadcast on Speed after six years on FX. New formats were used for not only the All Star itself, but also for the Open and the Pit Crew Challenge. in the first rule changes since the "Survivor" theme was eliminated from the event (then known as The Winston) after the 2003 season. Matt Kenseth earned the pole for the main event, while Martin Truex, Jr. and Johnny Sauter overtook a fading pole sitter Carl Edwards to win the NEXTEL Open, and Kenny Wallace (a/k/a "Herman the German") voted in by the fans, but it was Kevin Harvick in the end winning the final quarter over defending champion Jimmie Johnson and the $1 million first prize. To reflect the change in the series (and event's) title sponsor, the 2008 race and all future races will be called the Sprint All-Star Challenge.

Top Ten Results

Pos. No. Driver Car Team
1#29 Kevin HarvickChevroletRichard Childress Racing
2#48 Jimmie JohnsonChevroletHendrick Motorsports
3#01 Mark MartinChevroletGinn Racing
4#31 Jeff BurtonChevroletRichard Childress Racing
5#20 Tony StewartChevroletJoe Gibbs Racing
6#70 Johnny SauterChevroletHaas CNC Racing
7#17 Matt KensethFordRoush Fenway Racing
8#12 Ryan NewmanDodgePenske Racing South
9#8 Dale Earnhardt, Jr.ChevroletDale Earnhardt Inc.
10#1 Martin Truex, JrChevroletDale Earnhardt Inc.

Coca-Cola 600

Main article: 2007 Coca-Cola 600
The Coca-Cola 600, NASCAR's twelveth Nextel Cup race of the season, was held at Lowe's Motor Speedway on May 27, 2007. This is the longest race run by NEXTEL Cup (600 miles), and marks the official one-third mark of the season. Penske Racing South teammates Ryan Newman and Kurt Busch led a group of three Dodges to the green flag. One of the main factors of the 600 is not only the physical condition of the drivers, but the legend that Lowe's has of being an ever changing racetrack.

The "first phase" of the 600 was wild and crazy, with two cautions involving 21 cars in all. FOX commentator Darrell Waltrip even said that the race had a higher attrition rate than Bristol.The first wreck saw five-time Lowe's winner Jimmie Johnson lose his tire tread and start a multi car pileup behind him. The second crash was more spectacular. The car of Tony Raines got loose and turned the car of Jeff Gordon into the grass. As Gordon came back across the track, the oncoming car of A.J. Allmendinger hit the right side door, jacking Gordon's car off the ground. Penske's dominance of the day would end in the night with a crash by Kurt Busch and a blown engine from Newman. Toyota, who had been struggling through the first third of the season, had only lead a total of 15 laps. However, not only did both of Team Red Bull's cars make the race, but Brian Vickers carried the day for the manufacturer, leading 72 laps before power steering problems hit, but rallied for the marquee's first top five in NEXTEL Cup competition. Somehow, in the end, the longest race of the season would come down to who could go the longest on 18¾ gallons of fuel. Casey Mears, who had not won in 154 previous attempts, snapped his losing streak and joined teammate Jeff Gordon on the list of first time winners of the Coke 600. Mears went straight to Victory Lane after running out of fuel after crossing the finish line, leaving none to do a post-race burnout or "doughnuts".

Top ten results:
Pos. No. Driver Car Team
1.#25 Casey MearsChevroletHendrick Motorsports
2.#18 J.J. YeleyChevroletJoe Gibbs Racing
3.#45 Kyle PettyDodgePetty Enterprises
4.#41 Reed SorensonDodgeChip Ganassi Racing
5.#83 Brian VickersToyotaTeam Red Bull
6.#20 Tony StewartChevroletJoe Gibbs Racing
7.#88 Ricky RuddFordRobert Yates Racing
8.#8 Dale Earnhardt Jr.ChevroletDale Earnhardt Incorporated
9.#11 Denny HamlinChevroletJoe Gibbs Racing
10.#48 Jimmie JohnsonChevroletHendrick Motorsports


Failed to qualify: Paul Menard (#15), Michael Waltrip (#55), Ward Burton (#4), Kevin Lepage (#37), Mike Bliss (#49), David Reutimann (#00)

Autism Speaks 400 presented by Visa



The Autism Speaks 400 presented by Visa, the thirteenth race of the season, was held at Dover International Speedway on June 4, 2007 following postponement due to rain. Ryan Newman won his second consecutive pole. This was the sixth race to feature the Car of Tomorrow, as well as the last race broadcast by FOX in 2007. The race also serves as the halfway mark for the battle for entry into the 2007 Chase for the Nextel Cup. This race also marked the first time since Daytona that Michael Waltrip raced on Sunday, or because of the rainout, a Monday. In a twist of irony, Waltrip's teammate, David Reutimann, who had out qualified or bumped his boss from the field many times before, failed to qualify for his second consecutive race. Martin Truex Jr. won his first NASCAR NEXTEL Cup race, leading 216 of the 400 laps. The race was also noted for the announcement during the race that Bill France, Jr. peacefully passed on earlier that afternoon. It was the last race of the season to be broadcast on FOX.

Top ten results:
Pos. No. Driver Car Team
1.#1 Martin Truex Jr.ChevroletDale Earnhardt Incorporated
2.#12 Ryan NewmanDodgePenske Racing South
3.#99 Carl EdwardsFordRoush Fenway Racing
4.#11 Denny HamlinChevroletJoe Gibbs Racing
5.#17 Matt KensethFordRoush Fenway Racing
6.#16 Greg BiffleFordRoush Fenway Racing
7.#01 Mark MartinChevroletGinn Racing
8.#07 Clint BowyerChevroletRichard Childress Racing
9.#24 Jeff GordonChevroletHendrick Motorsports
10.#7 Robby GordonFordRobby Gordon Motorsports


Failed to qualify: Dave Blaney (#22), Paul Menard (#15), Kenny Wallace (#78), David Reutimann (#00), Mike Bliss (#49), Kevin Lepage (#37).

Pocono 500

Main article: 2007 Pocono 500
The Pocono 500, the fourteenth race of the season, was held at Pocono Raceway on June 10, 2007. It was the first of six 2007 races broadcast by TNT. Ryan Newman earned his third consecutive Budweiser Pole Award. In a delayed and postponed at lap 106 race, Jeff Gordon won his third Pocono 500.

Top ten results: (Race ended after 106 laps due to darkness and rain)
Pos. No. Driver Car Team
1.#24 Jeff GordonChevroletHendrick Motorsports
2.#12 Ryan NewmanDodgePenske Racing
3.#1 Martin Truex Jr.ChevroletDale Earnhardt Inc.
4.#25 Casey MearsChevroletHendrick Motorsports
5.#20 Tony StewartChevroletJoe Gibbs Racing
6.#11 Denny HamlinChevroletJoe Gibbs Racing
7.#01 Mark MartinChevroletGinn Racing
8.#5 Kyle BuschChevroletHendrick Motorsports
9.#17 Matt KensethFordRoush Fenway Racing
10.#07 Clint BowyerChevroletRichard Childress Racing


Failed to Qualify: Michael Waltrip (#55), Kenny Wallace (#78), Jeremy Mayfield (#36), Kevin Lepage (#37), Dale Jarrett (#44), Mike Bliss (#49)

Citizens Bank 400

The Citizens Bank 400, the fifteenth race of the season, was held at Michigan International Speedway on June 17, 2007. J. J. Yeley won his first career pole, and Carl Edwards won his first race in 52 races. The race also saw Michael Waltrip, who has had a bad year since the Daytona qualifying fiasco, finish tenth in his NAPA #55 Toyota.

Top ten results:
Pos. No. Driver Car Team
1.#99 Carl EdwardsFordRoush Fenway Racing
2.#1 Martin Truex Jr.ChevroletDale Earnhardt, Inc.
3.#20 Tony StewartChevroletJoe Gibbs Racing
4.#25 Casey MearsChevroletHendrick Motorsports
5.#8 Dale Earnhardt Jr.ChevroletDale Earnhardt, Inc.
6.#5 Kyle BuschChevroletHendrick Motorsports
7.#29 Kevin HarvickChevroletRichard Childress Racing
8.#26 Jamie McMurrayFordRoush Fenway Racing
9.#24 Jeff GordonChevroletHendrick Motorsports
10.#55 Michael WaltripToyotaMichael Waltrip Racing


Failed to Qualify: Dale Jarrett (#44), Ward Burton (#4), Jeremy Mayfield (#36), Mike Bliss (#49), Kevin Lepage (#37), Kenny Wallace (#78)

Toyota/Save Mart 350

Main article: 2007 Toyota/Save Mart 350
The Toyota/Save Mart 350, NASCAR's sixteenth race of the season was held at Infineon Raceway on June 24, 2007. Failing inspections on Friday, Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson were not allowed on the track that day, including for qualifying. As a result, they were placed 41st and 42nd respectively in the starting lineup, and two days following the race, both drivers were penalized 100 owner and driver points, fined $100,000 and had their crew chiefs (Chad Knaus for Johnson and Steve Letarte for Jeff Gordon) suspended for six races (until August 15) and placed on probation until the end of the 2007 calendar year. This was the seventh race to feature the Car of Tomorrow, and the first road course race of 2007. For the first time in two years, Jamie McMurray won the pole position. In addition to Regan Smith driving the #01 for Mark Martin, a number road course specialists were added, or substituted for regular drivers: Much of the race was dominated by road course ace Robby Gordon, whose self-owned #7 Monster Energy Ford dominated the field, leading 48 laps. Robby hoped to win his first race since 2003 (also on a road course). However, through all the twists and turns, fuel mileage came into play after Joe Nemechek spun. Gordon's hopes were dashed when he was forced to pit for fuel. After his stop, the lead was given to McMurray, who had not won since 2002. However, McMurray would be chased by ex-F1 driver Juan Pablo Montoya. Montoya passed McMurray (who was later forced to pit for a splash of fuel) with a few laps remaining and held off Daytona 500 winner Kevin Harvick to become the first Colombian born driver (and the third not to have been born in the USA) to win in a NASCAR Cup Series event. The win was even bigger for Montoya's car owner, Chip Ganassi who had struggled in previous years but would finally taste victory for the first time since 2002.

Top ten results:
Pos. No. Driver Car Team
1.#42 Juan Pablo Montoya (R)DodgeChip Ganassi Racing
2.#29 Kevin HarvickChevroletRichard Childress Racing
3.#31 Jeff BurtonChevroletRichard Childress Racing
4.#07 Clint BowyerChevroletRichard Childress Racing
5.#16 Greg BiffleFordRoush Fenway Racing
6.#20 Tony StewartChevroletJoe Gibbs Racing
7.#24 Jeff GordonChevroletHendrick Motorsports
8.#5 Kyle BuschChevroletHendrick Motorsports
9.#60 Boris SaidFordNo Fear Racing
10.#11 Denny HamlinChevroletJoe Gibbs Racing


Failed to qualify: Ward Burton (#4), Brian Vickers (#83), A.J. Allmendinger (#84), Kenny Wallace (#78), Scott Riggs (#10), Klaus Graf (#49), Brandon Ash (#02), Brian Simo (#37), Paul Menard (#15)

Lenox Industrial Tools 300

The Lenox Industrial Tools 300, the seventeenth race of the season and the eighth to feature the Car of Tomorrow, was held at New Hampshire International Speedway on July 1, 2007. Dave Blaney won the pole, his second career pole and the first for Toyota in NEXTEL Cup.

Top ten results:
Pos. No. Driver Car Team
1.#11 Denny HamlinChevroletJoe Gibbs Racing
2.#24 Jeff GordonChevroletHendrick Motorsports
3.#1 Martin Truex Jr.ChevroletDale Earnhardt Incorporated
4.#8 Dale Earnhardt, Jr.ChevroletDale Earnhardt Incorporated
5.#48 Jimmie JohnsonChevroletHendrick Motorsports
6.#66 Jeff GreenChevroletHaas CNC Racing
7.#31 Jeff BurtonChevroletRichard Childress Racing
8.#29 Kevin HarvickChevroletRichard Childress Racing
9.#17 Matt KensethFordRoush Fenway Racing
10.#12 Ryan NewmanDodgePenske Racing


Failed to qualify: Michael Waltrip (#55), Chad Chaffin (#49)*, A.J. Allmendinger (#84), Kenny Wallace (#78), Scott Riggs (#10), Dale Jarrett (#44).

* — Shortly after qualifying, the #83 Red Bull Toyota driven by Brian Vickers was disqualified in post-qualifying inspection for being too low in the front valence and its' qualifying time was disallowed. Chaffin took Vickers' place in the starting lineup. Following the race, the cars of Kyle Busch and Johnny Sauter were found to also be too low in post-race inspection. NASCAR confiscated the cars and penalized both teams 25 driver & owner points, fined each crew chief $25,000 and placed their respective crew chiefs on probation until Sept. 19th, after the next New Hampshire race.

Pepsi 400

Main article: 2007 Pepsi 400
The Pepsi 400, NASCAR's eighteenth NEXTEL Cup race of the season, was held at Daytona International Speedway on July 7, 2007. The race officially marked the halfway point of the season, as well as the final time the old car template, with restrictor plate rules, were run on a superspeedway. Coverage on TNT featured limited interruptions in a "wide open" production. In addition, this race was the last time the race was called the Pepsi 400, ending a 21-year sponsorship. Coca-Cola will gradually take over pouring rights at all ISC-owned tracks starting with the Daytona Speedweeks events in February 2008, and as a result, the race will be renamed the Coca-Cola 400.

The biggest news to come out of this race was qualifying. Boris Said in the #60 Ford was the fastest, but a rainstorm stopped the process, and under NASCAR rules, all cars must make a qualifying attempt before it is made official. Six other cars not in the top 35 in owners' points were following Said, but Jeff Gordon would be on the pole as time trials were rained out, and the field was set by the NASCAR rulebook based on owner points.

The race itself featured many twists and turns. Tony Stewart, Denny Hamlin, and Dale Earnhardt Jr., some of the race favorites, were taken out early in a wreck. Eventually, Jamie McMurray, suffering a 166 race winless slump (since October 2002 at Lowe's Motor Speedway), overcame a black flag penalty in the race and broke through to record his second career victory by only .005 seconds over Kyle Busch, becoming tied for the second closest finish in NASCAR history, the closest coming in 2003 when Ricky Craven edged Kurt Busch at Darlington Raceway by .002 seconds.

Top ten results:
Pos. No. Driver Car Team
1.#26 Jamie McMurrayFordRoush Fenway Racing
2.#5 Kyle BuschChevroletHendrick Motorsports
3.#2 Kurt BuschDodgePenske Racing
4.#99 Carl EdwardsFordRoush Fenway Racing
5.#24 Jeff GordonChevroletHendrick Motorsports
6.#16 Greg BiffleFordRoush Fenway Racing
7.#07 Clint BowyerChevroletRichard Childress Racing
8.#17 Matt KensethFordRoush Fenway Racing
9.#9 Kasey KahneDodgeEvernham Motorsports
10.#48 Jimmie JohnsonChevroletHendrick Motorsports


Failed to make race as qualifying was cancelled due to rain while in progress: Jeremy Mayfield (#36), A.J. Allmendinger (#84), Larry Foyt (#49), Michael Waltrip (#55), Kevin Lepage (#37), Ward Burton (#4), Boris Said (#60), Mike Wallace (#09), Eric McClure (#04), Kirk Shelmerdine (#27)

USG Sheetrock 400

The USG Sheetrock 400, NASCAR's nineteenth race of the season was held at Chicagoland Speedway on July 15, 2007 and was the last 2007 race to be broadcast by TNT. Casey Mears won the pole. Of note, John Andretti, subbing for Kyle Petty who is currently in the TNT booth, qualified a surprise 9th, and Michael Waltrip made his fourth race of the season. Tony Stewart, who was in the midst of a 20-race winless streak and an altercation with teammate Denny Hamlin at Daytona, fended off challenges from Matt Kenseth and Jimmie Johnson to grab his first victory of the season. Additionally, on September 25, Chicagoland Speedway officials announed that starting in 2008, the event would become a Saturday night race.

Top ten results:
Pos. No. Driver Car Team
1.#20 Tony StewartChevroletJoe Gibbs Racing
2.#17 Matt KensethFordRoush Fenway Racing
3.#99 Carl EdwardsFordRoush Fenway Racing
4.#29 Kevin HarvickChevroletRichard Childress Racing
5.#25 Casey MearsChevroletHendrick Motorsports
6.#2 Kurt BuschDodgePenske Racing
7.#31 Jeff BurtonChevroletRichard Childress Racing
8.#12 Ryan NewmanDodgePenske Racing
9.#24 Jeff GordonChevroletHendrick Motorsports
10.#07 Clint BowyerChevroletRichard Childress Racing


Failed to Qualify: Scott Riggs (#10), Kevin Lepage (#37), Dale Jarrett (#44), Kenny Wallace (#78), Brian Vickers, (#83) A.J. Allmendinger (#84)

Allstate 400 at The Brickyard

The Allstate 400 at The Brickyard, the twentieth NEXTEL Cup race of the season was held at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 29, 2007. It was the first NEXTEL Cup race to be broadcast by ESPN since the 2000 NASCAR season when they carried the NAPA 500 from Atlanta. Additionally, this was the first time the Indianapolis event is scheduled for cable; the previous thirteen runnings of the race were broadcast on network television, either on ABC or NBC. Petty Enterprises driver and owner Kyle Petty made his 800th career NNCS start at the Brickyard. For the second consecutive year, rain washed out the Friday practice sessions, so there was one practice session and qualifying on Saturday, with Reed Sorenson claiming his first career pole. In addition, Toyota scored another top ten, with driver Dave Blaney finishing ninth, the best Toyota result since Brian Vickers finished fifth during the Coca Cola 600.

Top ten results:
Pos. No. Driver Car Team
1.#20 Tony StewartChevroletJoe Gibbs Racing
2.#42 Juan Pablo Montoya (R)DodgeChip Ganassi Racing
3.#24 Jeff GordonChevroletHendrick Motorsports
4.#5 Kyle BuschChevroletHendrick Motorsports
5.#41 Reed SorensonDodgeChip Ganassi Racing
6.#01 Mark MartinChevroletDale Earnhardt, Inc.
7.#29 Kevin HarvickChevroletRichard Childress Racing
8.#31 Jeff BurtonChevroletRichard Childress Racing
9.#22 Dave BlaneyToyotaBill Davis Racing
10.#17 Matt KensethFordRoush Fenway Racing


Failed to Qualify: Joe Nemechek (#08), A.J. Allmendinger (#84), Kevin Lepage (#37), Dale Jarrett (#44), Jeremy Mayfield (#36), Kenny Wallace (#78)

NOTE: Following the race, in a post-race interview that aired on the Speedway Public Address System and on ESPN, Stewart said that "this one is for everyone in the stands who pull for me and have to take all the bull
from everyone else." On July 31, Stewart was fined $25,000 and both the driver and team owner Joe Gibbs were docked 25 points.

Pennsylvania 500

Main article: 2007 Pennsylvania 500
The Pennsylvania 500, the twenty-first NNCS race of the season, was held at Pocono Raceway on August 5, 2007. Dale Earnhardt Jr. won his first pole since 2002. Robby Gordon was taken out of the race by NASCAR officials after an incident in the Busch Series race in Montréal that led to his disqualifacation, and was replaced in the #7 car by P.J. Jones. In addition, Petty Enterprises and car sponsor General Mills placed a special memorial decal on the hood and rear bumper of the #43 Dodge driven by Bobby Labonte in memoriam of the victims of the I-35W Bridge Collapse in General Mills' home base of Minneapolis, Minnesota. The race was won by Kurt Busch, dominating by leading all but 25 of the 200 laps.

Top ten results:
Pos. No. Driver Car Team
1.#2 Kurt BuschDodgePenske Racing South
2.#8 Dale Earnhardt, Jr.ChevroletDale Earnhardt, Inc.
3.#11 Denny HamlinChevroletJoe Gibbs Racing
4.#24 Jeff GordonChevroletHendrick Motorsports
5.#48 Jimmie JohnsonChevroletHendrick Motorsports
6.#20 Tony StewartChevroletJoe Gibbs Racing
7.#12 Ryan NewmanDodgePenske Racing South
8.#07 Clint BowyerChevroletRichard Childress Racing
9.#01 Mark MartinChevroletDale Earnhardt, Inc.
10.#25 Casey MearsChevroletHendrick Motorsports


Failed to qualify: Mike Bliss (#49), Kevin Lepage (#37), Kenny Wallace (#78), A.J. Allmendinger (#84).
Jeff Gordon became the first driver to clinch a spot in the 2007 Chase for the NEXTEL Cup.

Centurion Boats at the Glen



The twenty-second race of the season, the Centurion Boats at the Glen, was held at Watkins Glen International on August 12, 2007. This was the ninth race to feature the Car of Tomorrow, and was the second and final road course race of the season.

As this was a road course race, the following driver changes were made:

•#00 (P. J. Jones instead of David Reutiman).
•#10 (Patrick Carpentier instead of Scott Riggs).
•#37 (Brian Simo instead of Kevin Lepage; failed to make field).
•#49 (Klaus Graf instead of Mike Bliss; failed to make field).
•#55 (Terry Labonte instead of owner Michael Waltrip).
•#96 (Ron Fellows instead of Tony Raines).


In the race, Jeff Gordon, who had been given the pole position due the cancellation of qualifying due to rain, led the most laps, but Tony Stewart, who was in the lead when he spun out heading into Turn One on Lap 45 of the 90-lap event, capitalized on the same error by Jeff Gordon with two laps remaining and wins his third race out of the last four. The race though was marred by an incident started by Martin Truex, Jr. when he tapped Juan Pablo Montoya which chain reacted into Kevin Harvick and sent both Montoya and Harvick into a spin and a subsequent multi-car pileup which required a red flag. Both Montoya and Harvick then got out of their cars and had a shoving match.

Top ten results:
Pos. No. Driver Car Team
1.#20 Tony StewartChevroletJoe Gibbs Racing
2.#11 Denny HamlinChevroletJoe Gibbs Racing
3.#48 Jimmie JohnsonChevroletHendrick Motorsports
4.#96 Ron FellowsChevroletHall of Fame Racing
5.#7 Robby GordonFordRobby Gordon Motorsports
6.#1 Martin Truex Jr.ChevroletDale Earnhardt, Inc.
7.#5 Kyle BuschChevroletHendrick Motorsports
8.#99 Carl EdwardsFordRoush Fenway Racing
9.#24 Jeff GordonChevroletHendrick Motorsports
10.#16 Greg BiffleFordRoush Fenway Racing


Failed to make race due to cancellation of qualifying due to rain: Marcos Ambrose (#77), A.J. Allmendinger (#84), Ward Burton (#4), Klaus Graf (#49), Boris Said (#60)*, Brian Simo (#37).

* - It was announced on Saturday (August 11), that Said would replace Bill Elliott in the #21 Wood Brothers/JTG Ford.

3M Performance 400

The 3M Performance 400, the twenty-third race of the season was scheduled to be held at Michigan International Speedway on August 19, 2007. The race sponsor moved from the June race to the August race in 2007. Jeff Gordon earned his sixth pole of the season, edging out Greg Biffle in the last qualifying attempt of the day. However, two days of rain forced the race to be postponed until the following Tuesday, August 21, 2007, marking the first Tuesday race in the modern (post-1971) NASCAR era since the 1978 Firecracker 400, which was always run on July 4 prior to moving the race to the first Saturday in July in 1988.

Top ten results: (Race extended to 406 miles due to green-white-checkers finish.)
Pos. No. Driver Car Team
1.#2 Kurt BuschDodgePenske Racing
2.#1 Martin Truex Jr.ChevroletDale Earnhardt, Inc.
3.#48 Jimmie JohnsonChevroletHendrick Motorsports
4.#17 Matt KensethFordRoush Fenway Racing
5.#11 Denny HamlinChevroletJoe Gibbs Racing
6.#22 Dave BlaneyToyotaBill Davis Racing
7.#99 Carl EdwardsFordRoush Fenway Racing
8.#83 Brian VickersToyotaTeam Red Bull
9.#43 Bobby LabonteDodgePetty Enterprises
10.#20 Tony StewartChevroletJoe Gibbs Racing


Failed to qualify: Jeremy Mayfield (#36) , Dale Jarrett (#44), Scott Wimmer (#78), A.J. Allmendinger (#84), Kevin Lepage (#37)

As a result of his fifth-place finish, Denny Hamlin became the second driver to clinch a position in the Chase For The NEXTEL Cup.

Sharpie 500

Main article: 2007 Sharpie 500
The twenty-fourth race of the season, the Sharpie 500, was held at the repaved Bristol Motor Speedway on August 25, 2007. This was the tenth race to feature the Car of Tomorrow. In addition, this race was run on a reconfigured track where the infamous 36-degree high banks have been replaced by "progressively banked" turns between 24 and 30 degrees. Kasey Kahne won the pole. Carl Edwards won the race and held off Kahne, who led 305 laps, while Edwards led 182 laps, giving Ford their first CoT victory.

In addition, by starting this race, Matt Kenseth clinched a spot in the Chase for the NEXTEL Cup. Edwards and Tony Stewart also wrapped up spots in the Chase with Edwards win and Stewart's 4th place finish.

Top ten results:
Pos. No. Driver Car Team
1.#99 Carl EdwardsFordRoush Fenway Racing
2.#9 Kasey KahneDodgeGillett Evernham Motorsports
3.#07 Clint BowyerChevroletRichard Childress Racing
4.#20 Tony StewartChevroletJoe Gibbs Racing
5.#8 Dale Earnhardt Jr.ChevroletDale Earnhardt Incorporated
6.#2 Kurt BuschDodgePenske Racing
7.#12 Ryan NewmanDodgePenske Racing
8.#43 Bobby LabonteDodgePetty Enterprises
9.#5 Kyle BuschChevroletHendrick Motorsports
10.#16 Greg BiffleFordRoush Fenway Racing


Failed to qualify: David Reutimann (#00), Sterling Marlin (#78), Brian Vickers (#83), Kevin Lepage (#37), Stanton Barrett (#34).

Sharp AQUOS 500

Main article: 2007 Sharp AQUOS 500
The twenty-fifth race of the season, the Sharp AQUOS 500, was held at California Speedway on September 2, 2007. This was ESPN's final race telecast. Kurt Busch won the pole. His brother, Kyle Busch, dominated the race for 97 of 250 laps. However, it was his teammate, El Cajon native Jimmie Johnson, who won the race and assured himself the top spot in the Chase for the NEXTEL Cup. This race also saw the Chase hopes of Ryan Newman and Greg Biffle vanish.

Top ten results:
Pos. No. Driver Car Team
1.#48 Jimmie JohnsonChevroletHendrick Motorsports
2.#99 Carl EdwardsFordRoush Fenway Racing
3.#5 Kyle BuschChevroletHendrick Motorsports
4.#31 Jeff BurtonChevroletRichard Childress Racing
5.#8 Dale Earnhardt Jr.ChevroletDale Earnhardt Incorporated
6.#1 Martin Truex Jr.ChevroletDale Earnhardt Incorporated
7.#17 Matt KensethFordRoush Fenway Racing
8.#83 Brian VickersToyotaTeam Red Bull
9.#2 Kurt BuschDodgePenske Racing
10.#9 Kasey KahneDodgeGillett Evernham Motorsports


Failed to qualify: Scott Riggs (#10), Ward Burton (#4), Dale Jarrett (#44).

Chevy Rock & Roll 400

The twenty-sixth and final race of the "regular" season, the Chevy Rock & Roll 400, was held at Richmond International Raceway on September 8, 2007. This was the eleventh race to feature the Car of Tomorrow, the first race to be broadcast on ABC and more importantly, the last race to deterime the twelve drivers who will be in the 2007 Chase For The NEXTEL Cup. Jimmie Johnson won the pole and the race. It was his sixth victory of the year, which meant that he starts the Chase at the top of the points. In addition, Bobby Labonte made his 500th career start. Chevrolet also clinched their 31st Manufacturer's Championship with this race.

Top Ten Results:
Pos. No. Driver Car Team
1#48 Jimmie JohnsonChevroletHendrick Motorsports
2#20 Tony StewartChevroletJoe Gibbs Racing
3#6 David Ragan (R)FordRoush Fenway Racing
4#24 Jeff GordonChevroletHendrick Motorsports
5#70 Johnny SauterChevroletHaas CNC Racing
6#11 Denny HamlinChevroletJoe Gibbs Racing
7#29 Kevin HarvickChevroletRichard Childress Racing
8#9 Kasey KahneDodgeGillett Evernham Motorsports
9#2 Kurt BuschDodgePenske Racing
10#18 J.J. YeleyChevroletJoe Gibbs Racing


Failed to qualify: Kevin Lepage (#37), Ward Burton (#4), Jeremy Mayfield (#36), Michael Waltrip (#55).

Chase for the Nextel Cup

All ten of the races in the 2007 Chase for the NEXTEL Cup will air on ABC. The ten races will be evenly split between the regular stock car and the Car of Tomorrow, with the COT running at New Hampshire, Dover, Talladega, Martinsville and Phoenix.

Sylvania 300

Main article: 2007 Sylvania 300
The first race of the 2007 Chase for the NEXTEL Cup, the Sylvania 300, was held at New Hampshire International Speedway on September 16, 2007. This was the twelfth race to feature the Car of Tomorrow. Clint Bowyer won the pole, and entered the Chase as the only driver without a win. However, he would dominate the field, leading for 222 of 300 laps en route to his first career victory in 64 starts.

All 43 cars that started the race finished, the first time since 1996 every car starting the race finished.

Top Ten Results: (NOTE: Chase drivers are in bold italics.)
Pos. No. Driver Car Team
1.#07 Clint BowyerChevroletRichard Childress Racing
2.#24 Jeff GordonChevroletHendrick Motorsports
3.#20 Tony StewartChevroletJoe Gibbs Racing
4.#5 Kyle BuschChevroletHendrick Motorsports
5.#1 Martin Truex Jr.ChevroletDale Earnhardt Incorporated
6.#48 Jimmie JohnsonChevroletHendrick Motorsports
7.#17 Matt KensethFordRoush Fenway Racing
8.#25 Casey MearsChevroletHendrick Motorsports
9.#12 Ryan NewmanDodgePenske Racing
10.#18 J.J. YeleyChevroletJoe Gibbs Racing
Failed to qualify: Dale Jarrett (#44), Sam Hornish, Jr. (#06), Jeremy Mayfield (#36), Michael Waltrip (#55), Kevin Lepage (#37), Boris Said (#98).°

° - NOTE: John Andretti (#49) had qualified, but failed post-qualifying inspection, and his starting spot was given to Said.

Dodge Dealers 400

The second race of the 2007 Chase was the Dodge Dealers 400, which was held at Dover International Speedway on September 23, 2007. This was the thirteenth race to feature the Car of Tomorrow. Jimmie Johnson won his second pole of the season. Carl Edwards won but the right rear fender was found too low. He was penalized 25 points which dropped him from 3rd place to 6th place.

Top Ten Results: (NOTE: Chase drivers are in bold italics.)
Pos. No. Driver Car Team
1.#99 Carl EdwardsFordRoush Fenway Racing
2.#16 Greg BiffleFordRoush Fenway Racing
3.#8 Dale Earnhardt Jr.ChevroletDale Earnhardt Incorporated
4.#01 Mark MartinChevroletDale Earnhardt Incorporated
5.#5 Kyle BuschChevroletHendrick Motorsports
6.#25 Casey MearsChevroletHendrick Motorsports
7.#31 Jeff BurtonChevroletRichard Childress Racing
8.#26 Jamie McMurrayFordRoush Fenway Racing
9.#20 Tony StewartChevroletJoe Gibbs Racing
10.#42 Juan Montoya (R)DodgeChip Ganassi Racing


Failed to qualify: Ward Burton (#4), Scott Wimmer (#33), Sam Hornish Jr. (#06), Kevin Lepage (#37), Dave Blaney (#22), Jeremy Mayfield (#36).

LifeLock 400

Main article: 2007 LifeLock 400
The third race of the 2007 Chase was the LifeLock 400, and was held at Kansas Speedway on September 30, 2007. Jimmie Johnson won the pole. For the second consecutive race, due to a crash in happy hour Jimmie had to start in the 43rd position, half of the Chase drivers struggled. Jeff Burton was sent to the "back of the longest line" for a rule violation during the first red flag for rain when he pulled on the right front fender, NASCAR's rule states race teams are not allowed to work on their cars under red flag conditions. Greg Biffle won the race after two rain delays shortened the event to 210 laps.

Top Ten Results: (NOTE: Chase drivers are in bold italics. Race shortened to 210 laps due to rain and darkness.)
Pos. No. Driver Car Team
1.#16 Greg BiffleFordRoush Fenway Racing
2.#07 Clint BowyerChevroletRichard Childress Racing
3.#48 Jimmie JohnsonChevroletHendrick Motorsports
4.#25 Casey MearsChevroletHendrick Motorsports
5.#24 Jeff GordonChevroletHendrick Motorsports
6.#29 Kevin HarvickChevroletRichard Childress Racing
7.#41 Reed SorensonDodgeChip Ganassi Racing
8.#19 Elliott SadlerDodgeGillett Evernham Motorsports
9.#9 Kasey KahneDodgeGillett Evernham Motorsports
10.#8 Dale Earnhardt Jr.ChevroletDale Earnhardt Incorporated


Failed to qualify: A. J. Allmendinger (#84); Brian Vickers (#83); Jon Wood (#47); Ward Burton (#4).

UAW-Ford 500

Main article: 2007 UAW-Ford 500
The fourth race of the 2007 Chase, the UAW-Ford 500, was held at Talladega Superspeedway on October 7, 2007. This was the fourteenth race to feature the Car of Tomorrow, but it was the first to use them with restrictor plates. Also, gear restrictions, which have not been used at restrictor plate races, but have been in use at other races since 2005, was also used for the first time at the track. Michael Waltrip won the pole, the second one for Toyota this season. Seven of the top ten cars were Toyotas. Jacques Villeneuve made his debut, while Sam Hornish Jr. went home again. In fact, the top eight speeds were from "go or go home" teams, as the next three highest speeds were locked out of the race by other teams that were not locked into the top 35 teams in the owners' points.

Jeff Gordon earned his 80th career victory and the points lead with a last lap charge on teammate Jimmie Johnson, sweeping both Talladega races of the season and bringing his total victories at the track to six. Third-placed Dave Blaney gave Toyota their best finish of the season to date.

Top Ten Results: (NOTE: Chase drivers are in bold italics.)
Pos. No. Driver Car Team
1.#24 Jeff GordonChevroletHendrick Motorsports
2.#48 Jimmie JohnsonChevroletHendrick Motorsports
3.#22 Dave BlaneyToyotaBill Davis Racing
4.#11 Denny HamlinChevroletJoe Gibbs Racing
5.#12 Ryan NewmanDodgePenske Racing
6.#25 Casey MearsChevroletHendrick Motorsports
7.#2 Kurt BuschDodgePenske Racing
8.#20 Tony StewartChevroletJoe Gibbs Racing
9.#96 Tony RainesChevroletHall of Fame Racing
10.#41 Reed SorensonDodgeChip Ganassi Racing


Failed to qualify: Ward Burton (#4), A.J. Allmendinger (#84), Sam Hornish Jr. (#06), Kevin Lepage (#37), Boris Said (#60), Jeremy Mayfield (#36), Sterling Marlin (#09), Scott Riggs (#10).

Bank of America 500

The fifth race of the 2007 Chase, the Bank of America 500, was held at Lowe's Motor Speedway on October 13, 2007, and was the only Saturday night race in the Chase schedule. Ryan Newman won his fifth pole of the year, and swept both poles at Lowe's Motor Speedway. The biggest surprise was that Brian Vickers, who drove to a top five finish in the spring race, failed to make the field. After five consecutive DNF's at Lowe's, Jeff Gordon overcame a fuel issue, holding off Clint Bowyer and soon to be ex-teammate Kyle Busch for his first Charlotte victory since 1999.

Failed to qualify: Sam Hornish Jr. (#06), Carl Long (#08), Kirk Shelmerdine (#27), Dale Jarrett (#44), Joe Nemechek (#78), Brian Vickers (#83).

Top Ten Results: (NOTE: Chase drivers are in bold italics.)
Pos. No. Driver Car Team
1.#24 Jeff GordonChevroletHendrick Motorsports
2.#07 Clint BowyerChevroletRichard Childress Racing
3.#5 Kyle BuschChevroletHendrick Motorsports
4.#31 Jeff BurtonChevroletRichard Childress Racing
5.#99 Carl EdwardsFordRoush Fenway Racing
6.#22 Dave BlaneyToyotaBill Davis Racing
7.#20 Tony StewartChevroletJoe Gibbs Racing
8.#9 Kasey KahneDodgeGillett Evernham Motorsports
9.#40 David StremmeDodgeChip Ganassi Racing
10.#55 Michael WaltripToyotaMichael Waltrip Racing

Subway 500

Main article: 2007 Subway 500
The sixth race of the 2007 Chase, the Subway 500, will be held at Martinsville Speedway on October 21, 2007. This will be the fifteenth race to feature the Car of Tomorrow. Jeff Gordon won the pole.

Failed to Qualify: #06-Sam Hornish Jr., #36-Jeremy Mayfield, #37-Kevin Lepage, #78-Joe Nemechek, #83-Brian Vickers

Pep Boys Auto 500

The seventh race of the 2007 Chase , the Pep Boys Auto 500, will be held at Atlanta Motor Speedway on October 28, 2007.

Dickies 500

Main article: 2007 Dickies 500
The eighth race of the 2007 Chase, the Dickies 500, will be held at Texas Motor Speedway on November 4, 2007.

Checker Auto Parts 500 presented by Pennzoil

The ninth and penultimate race of the 2007 chase, the Checker Auto Parts 500, will be held at Phoenix International Raceway on November 11, 2007. This will be the sixteenth and final 2007 race to feature the Car of Tomorrow.

Ford 400

Main article: 2007 Ford 400
The 2007 NEXTEL Cup season will come to a close with the final race of the 2007 season at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 18. The race will also observe two lasts: The last use of the current car design, since the Car of Tomorrow will be used full time in 2008, and the last race under the Nextel Cup banner. Sprint will assume the title sponsorship starting with the 2008 Daytona 500.

Television Coverage

The 2007 season marks the start of a new television package. The contracts are for eight seasons, running until 2014. NBC and FX both egressed after the 2006 season, and ESPN and ABC have returned after a six-year absence, with ESPN last broadcasting the series' NAPA 500 from Atlanta in November of 2000, and ABC telecasting the Brickyard 400 in August of that same year.

FOX

FOX carried the first part of the season beginning with Speedweeks at Daytona, and continued coverage up through the June race held at the Dover International Speedway, with Fox-owned Speed Channel carrying the Gatorade Duel At Daytona qualifying races and the NEXTEL All-Star Challenge/NEXTEL Open doubleheader. Mike Joy, Larry McReynolds, and Darrell Waltrip returned to the broadcast booth for FOX. FOX also carried two Craftsman Truck Series races March 31 and May 26, with Speed carrying the remainder of the series.

TNT

TNT covered six mid-season races in June and July dubbed the "NASCAR Summer Series" including the Pepsi 400. The commentators include current announcers Bill Weber and Wally Dallenbach. Kyle Petty replaced Benny Parsons, and also drove and did commentary from his car during the June 24 race at Sonoma, which turned out at the outset of the race to be rather embarrassing as he uttered "the f-bomb" in a replay of how he was involved in an accident. Petty is driving a part-time schedule in 2007, as Chad McCumbee took over Petty's #45 car in the June Pocono race, and John Andretti, who drove the #43 car for Petty Enterprises, and won a race with them at Martinsville in 1999, is driving in the remaining races except for Sonoma. TNT used Hinder's cover of the Steppenwolf classic rock anthem "Born to Be Wild" as part of their race broadcast.

ESPN/ABC

ESPN and ABC are carrying all races beginning with the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard in late July on ESPN running up through the Labor Day weekend race at California and ABC picking up their part of the package with the final pre-chase race at Richmond and the entire Chase for the NEXTEL Cup. The commentators are Jerry Punch and Rusty Wallace. Punch last worked for the network as a pit reporter on IRL events such as the Indianapolis 500, and has also filled in on the play-by-play of NASCAR races prior to 2001, mostly during coverage of NASCAR Busch Series races, which ESPN2 and ABC will carry full time starting in 2007. Wallace is the 1989 NASCAR Cup Series champion. They have been joined by newcomer Andy Petree, a former team owner and Dale Earnhardt's crew chief in 1993 and 1994. Brent Musburger and Suzy Kolber serve as the hosts on both ESPN and ABC. Rock group Aerosmith kicks off each broadcast with a live version of their big 1970s FM hit "Back in the Saddle" that was filmed in concert in Las Vegas.

Et cetera

Test schedule

In 2006, NASCAR instituted a new track testing policy that set a schedule for when and where NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series tests were conducted. These scheduled tests are the only opportunities that the NNCS teams will have to test their cars at NNCS tracks.

The testing issue has become a controversy because teams, especially Chevrolet teams, have been testing their cars at various non-NNCS tracks listed below in the "Notes" section. All test reports are being telecast on SPEED.

Date Venue Rain Date Track TV Times Type of car
January 8 - 10Daytona International Speedway*January 112.5 mi.; Tri-Oval7PMStandard / CoT
January 15 - 17Daytona International Speedway**January 182.5 mi.; Tri-Oval6:30 PMStandard / CoT
January 29 & 30Las Vegas Motor SpeedwayJanuary 311.5 mi.; Quad-Oval7 PMStandard / CoT
February 28?Bristol Motor SpeedwayNone0.533 mi.; Oval7 PMCoT
April 3 & 4Richmond International RacewayApril 50.75 mi.; D-shaped OvalNoneCoT
May 7 & 8Lowe's Motor SpeedwayMay 91.5 mi.; Quad-OvalNoneStandard
September 10 & 11Talladega SuperspeedwaySeptember 122.66 mi.; Tri-OvalNoneCoT
October 30 & 31Atlanta Motor SpeedwayNovember 11.54 mi.; quad-ovalCoT
(*) - Even numbered finishers in the 2006 NEXTEL Cup standings.
(**) - Odd numbered finishers in the 2006 NEXTEL Cup standings.
(≈) - Only one day was used as this was extended by NASCAR to three sessions due to an oncoming rainstorm on March 1st.
CoT — Car of Tomorrow.


Notes: The scheduled tests for Dover on May 14-15 were cancelled due to the rainout of the Dodge Avenger 500 from May 12 to May 13. The tests of Atlanta Motor Speedway were added on August 22nd as the replacement for Dover.

In addition to these tests, Goodyear (in conjunction with NASCAR) stages closed practices to test tire combinations for NNCS tracks.

NASCAR does not limit testing at non-Nextel Cup Series circuits (using Hoosier, Michelin, or non-current Goodyear tires) such as Kentucky, Rockingham, Greenville-Pickens Speedway, Milwaukee, Nashville, or USA International Speedway. Many teams also use Virginia International Raceway for road course testing.

See also

External links and sources

Notes and references

1. ^ Earnhardt to join Hendrick Motorsports for '08 season NASCAR.com. Accessed 11 July 2007.
2. ^ [2] NASCAR.com article on Cup team mergers
3. ^ Smith to replace Marlin in No. 14 car at Indianapolis


Preceded by
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2007
Succeeded by
2008 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
2007 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series

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2007 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series

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..... Click the link for more information.
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..... Click the link for more information.
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  • Subway Fresh Fit 500
  • Aaron's 499

..... Click the link for more information.
2007 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series

  • Daytona 500
  • Auto Club 500
  • UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400
  • Kobalt Tools 500
  • Food City 500
  • Goody's Cool Orange 500
  • Samsung 500
  • Subway Fresh Fit 500
  • Aaron's 499

..... Click the link for more information.
2007 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series

  • Daytona 500
  • Auto Club 500
  • UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400
  • Kobalt Tools 500
  • Food City 500
  • Goody's Cool Orange 500
  • Samsung 500
  • Subway Fresh Fit 500
  • Aaron's 499

..... Click the link for more information.
2007 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series

  • Daytona 500
  • Auto Club 500
  • UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400
  • Kobalt Tools 500
  • Food City 500
  • Goody's Cool Orange 500
  • Samsung 500
  • Subway Fresh Fit 500
  • Aaron's 499

..... Click the link for more information.
2007 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series

  • Daytona 500
  • Auto Club 500
  • UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400
  • Kobalt Tools 500
  • Food City 500
  • Goody's Cool Orange 500
  • Samsung 500
  • Subway Fresh Fit 500
  • Aaron's 499

..... Click the link for more information.
2007 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series

  • Daytona 500
  • Auto Club 500
  • UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400
  • Kobalt Tools 500
  • Food City 500
  • Goody's Cool Orange 500
  • Samsung 500
  • Subway Fresh Fit 500
  • Aaron's 499

..... Click the link for more information.
2007 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series

  • Daytona 500
  • Auto Club 500
  • UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400
  • Kobalt Tools 500
  • Food City 500
  • Goody's Cool Orange 500
  • Samsung 500
  • Subway Fresh Fit 500
  • Aaron's 499

..... Click the link for more information.
2007 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series

  • Daytona 500
  • Auto Club 500
  • UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400
  • Kobalt Tools 500
  • Food City 500
  • Goody's Cool Orange 500
  • Samsung 500
  • Subway Fresh Fit 500
  • Aaron's 499

..... Click the link for more information.
2007 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series

  • Daytona 500
  • Auto Club 500
  • UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400
  • Kobalt Tools 500
  • Food City 500
  • Goody's Cool Orange 500
  • Samsung 500
  • Subway Fresh Fit 500
  • Aaron's 499

..... Click the link for more information.
2007 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series

  • Daytona 500
  • Auto Club 500
  • UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400
  • Kobalt Tools 500
  • Food City 500
  • Goody's Cool Orange 500
  • Samsung 500
  • Subway Fresh Fit 500
  • Aaron's 499

..... Click the link for more information.
Sport governing body

Category Stock cars
Area of jurisdiction Canada,United States,Mexico
Formation date 1948
Headquarters Daytona Beach, Florida
Charlotte, North Carolina
New York City, New York


..... Click the link for more information.


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