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NASCAR Pepsi 500 in-race update through 300 miles

October 11, 2009 |  2:39 pm

Fabforum

As the third 100 miles started Jimmie Johnson started making progress in catching Juan Pablo Montoya, finally catching him on lap 115.

This two-car battle harkens back to this year's Brickyard race in Indianapolis where these two battled. It finished with Johnson winning the race after Montoya was penalized for speeding in the pits. It was the last good race Montoya has had on an oval.

The third caution came out on lap 118 for alleged debris in turn one. Denny Hamlin, who had an excellent 12.8 second pit stop, came out on the restart in first, briefly lost the lead to Jeff Gordon, but regained it before they came around again denying Gordon his first lead in any Chase race so far.

At the 125 lap mark, the average speed of the race was 148.275 mph.

Johnson regained the lead from Hamlin at the halfway point of the race. The rest of the top five were Gordon, Mark Martin and Montoya. But, by the end of the 132nd lap (just seven laps later), Johnson had extended his lead over Hamlin to more than 3 seconds.

By lap 140, Johnson extended his lead to more than 6 seconds. NASCAR needs to find some more debris before this race gets even less interesting than it has currently become (unless you are a Johnson fan that is.)

Storylines after 300 miles:

  • Johnson and Montoya have the two best cars.
  • Still no incidents.
  • Hendrick domination with four of the top seven cars.
  • The field is so strung out it's getting pretty boring

After 300 miles, the top six drivers were all in the Chase. In seventh, and continuing to climb is Dale Earnhardt, Jr. They are: 1. Johnson; 2. Montoya; 3. Jeff Gordon; 4. Hamlin; 5. Martin; 6. Kurt Busch; 7. Junior; 8. Edwards; 9. Harvick; 10. Casey Mears.

    --John Cherwa
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