An absolutely fantastic first trip to Charlotte Motor Speedway has ended for me, and I couldn’t be any happier about making the trip down here to the home of NASCAR Racing. I have to hand it to SMI and all those involved with coordinating the race weekends here in Charlotte, as the folks here really know how to put on a show. I have had the trip of a lifetime this weekend and Bruton Smith has made me a life-long fan of Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Moving along to the Bank of America 500 now, I will tell you that it was a race that seemed like it would never end. It was by far the longest race I had ever covered, and for about 400 of the 500 miles, it ranked highly on my list of uneventful (accident wise) I had ever seen.
10 different drivers led tonight’s Bank of America 500, and race-winner Matt Kenseth had to make a pass for the lead on three different occasions en route to his third victory of this 2011 season.
Kenseth didn’t always have the car to beat tonight at Charlotte Motor Speedway as the No. 18 M&M’s Toyota was extremely fast all night, except the last 20 laps or so.
Kyle Busch really showed what he could do tonight (with some extremely nice work on Pit Road by the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 18 crew) by racing all the way to the point after starting dead last on the grid. Busch made his presence known to the front of the field on lap number 125. He then went on to gain the lead on lap number 200and continued his dominance all the way to lap 309 when Kenseth’s work of reeling in Busch over a stretch of twenty laps paid dividends.
Kenseth didn’t lead the most laps of the evening, but he led the most important ones. His drive to the point started from the outside-pole position, and he was involved in the first lead change of the night on lap 43when he took over the point from pole-sitter Tony Stewart. The Roush Fenway driver lead one other time, just before the midway point in tonight’s race and settled into the 2nd spot for the majority of the second stanza.
Kyle Busch was the winner of tonight’s lap leader contest with 111 laps led in total, followed by Tony Stewart (94 laps), Greg Biffle (68laps), Kenseth (46 laps), Ryan Newman (6 laps), JJ Yeley (4 laps), Juan Montoya(2 laps) and Jimmie Johnson, David Ragan , Carl Edwards all leading a lap.
Kenseth’s win tonight was his 3rd this season,his 2nd at Charlotte Motor Speedway, and really made the points standings a bit of a 3-man dance now. Kyle Busch finished second after leading a third of the race and points leader Carl Edwards finished in third.
Second in points is Kevin Harvick after his 6thplace finish. Pole-sitter Tony Stewart finished 8th, Denny Hamlin in9th, and Ryan Newman finished 10th. Chase drivers finishing outside the Top-10 were Kurt Busch (13th), Brad Keselowski(16th), Dale Jr (19th), Jeff Gordon (21st),and Jimmie Johnson (34th).