Iracingone Rewind: Auto Club 500/I

Auto Club 500

Time of Race 3 hours, 34 minutes, 45 seconds Average Speed 139.697 mph Margin of Victory 0.231 Seconds

Caution Flags 7 for 40 laps: Laps 26-30 (#91 accident turn 1); 60-66 (Debris backstretch); 108-114 (Debris turn 2); 144-150 (#07 accident turn 4); 161-164 (#9 accident turn 2); 204-209 (Oil on track); 218-221 (Oil on track).
Lead Changes 26 among 14 drivers: K. Busch 1; B. Vickers 2; K. Busch 3; G. Biffle 4-26; K. Petty 27-28; R. LaJoie 29-30; M. Kenseth 31-45; C. Edwards 46-60; K. Busch 61; J. Mayfield 62; J. Green 63; M. Kenseth 64-66; C. Edwards 67-68; M. Kenseth 69-107; M. Martin 108; J. Nemechek 109-143; M. Martin 144; J. Nemechek 145-160; M. Martin 161; J. Johnson 162-165; J. Nemechek 166-177; C. Edwards 178-193; K. Harvick 194-203; M. Martin 204; K. Harvick 205-217; K. Busch 218-227; G. Biffle 228-250.

Greg Biffle stayed out when most of the leaders pitted on the event's final caution period and drove past teammate Kurt Busch on lap 228 to win his second race of the last three NEXTEL Cup Series events dating back to last season's win at Homestead-Miami Speedway in November.

A fast car all day long, Biffle and crew chief Doug Richert made the call to stay on track during the race's final caution rather than pit as the rest of the leaders chose to do. He stayed in the second spot and was able to pass teammate Kurt Busch on lap 228 and drive from there to victory lane.

Joe Nemechek had a strong car until his Hendrick engine expired while in the lead. Dale Earnhardt, Jr. suffered multiple tire failures and mechanical bugs to finish 32nd. Jeff Gordon's Top 5 finish was wiped out when his engine lost a cylinder with less than ten laps to go. He finished 30th.

Kyle Busch set a NASCAR record by becoming the youngest driver in series history to win a pole position at age 19. His time in front of the field was short lived and the Hendrick Motorsports No. 5 sunk back in the pack early on. Busch finished 23rd.

Ken Schrader is one of the most popular drivers on the circuit, but more often than not winds up down on the final standings list. On Sunday the veteran driver drove his Schwan's Home Service Dodge home to an impressive 14th place finish after starting the race back in the 38th spot. INSIDE NEXTEL CUP on SPEED Channel this week should be interesting.

Kyle Busch finished one spot ahead of his rookie rival Travis Kvapil, with a 23rd to 24th place advantage. Not too impressive, but Busch did win the pole.

  • Jimmie Johnson (second) posted his third top-10 finish in five races at California Speedway. He is one of just two drivers to begin the 2005 season with two top-five finishes, joining Kurt Busch. Johnson has scored top-10 finishes in his last eight races, since Charlotte last October.

    • Kurt Busch (third) scored his third top-10 finish in six races at California Speedway. Busch also begins the 2005 season with two top-five finishes. Busch has scored top-10 finishes in 11 of the last 12 races, since New Hampshire last September. Busch took the lead in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series point standings by five points over second-place Jimmie Johnson.

    • Jamie McMurray (fourth) scored his third top-five finish in four races at California Speedway.

    • Carl Edwards (fifth) scored his second straight top-10 finish in two races at California Speedway. Edwards begins the 2005 season with two top-15 finishes.

    • Mark Martin (seventh) has been running at the finish in 24 consecutive races, the longest current streak. Martin scored his fifth top-10 finish in 10 races at California Speedway. Martin has scored two top-10 finishes in 2005.

    • Rusty Wallace (10th) scored his sixth top-10 finish in 10 races at California Speedway. Wallace begins the 2005 season with two 10th-place finishes. He has scored top-10 finishes in four of his last five races, since Phoenix last November.

  • Where's Rockingham? For the first time in more than 20 years, North Carolina Speedway did not host the post-Daytona 500 event. Despite cool temperatures and wet weather most of the week, California Speedway did draw a crowd in excess of 70,000 for the Auto Club 500, below capacity but considerably more than venerable old Rockingham could hold.

  • Magic Johnson, Governor Arnold, Nick Lachey and American Idol's Randy Jackson were just a few of the "celebrities" on hand. I'd say talk show host Kathy Griffin probably could have enough material for a new edition of her show "The D List."

  • "This was the toughest one of my life to earn, right here today out of any of my victories. We overcame more today than I ever have in a race car. - Greg Biffle

  • “I agree with Kevin. Of course I would, you know, I was in the back. You know, we had a good car. I mean I got a fast ass pit crew and those guys get me a couple of spots on pit road about every time." - Dale Earnhardt, Jr., agreeing with Kevin Harvick that SUnday's racing wasn't "exciting."
  • Related Topics:

    Monster Energy NASCAR Cup, 2005

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