Dover II: Petty Enterprises race report

OVERVIEW: Carl Edwards proved why he is fast becoming a master of the concrete surface tracks as he took the checkered flag in Sunday's Dodge Dealers 400 at the Dover (Del.) International Speedway. However, during the post-race technical ...

OVERVIEW:

Carl Edwards proved why he is fast becoming a master of the concrete surface tracks as he took the checkered flag in Sunday's Dodge Dealers 400 at the Dover (Del.) International Speedway. However, during the post-race technical inspection, Edwards' car was found to be too low. He will retain the win, but a loss of points could be in the near future. Jeff Gordon now has a two point lead over Tony Stewart in the "Chase for the Championship." The top six drivers are separated by a mere 18 points.

Sunday was one of the more bizarre races of recent memory. Only six cars finished on the lead lap of the caution filled event. Every 'Chase' driver encountered some sort of mishap, including Edwards' post race incident. When the 2007 season is in the books, this race in particular may be looked upon as a critical race in determining the Nextel Cup champion.

Bobby Labonte and the #43 Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge team finished 27th on Sunday. Labonte had one of his better qualifying efforts of the season and started the race from the 8th position. When the race started, however, it was clear that Labonte's Dodge Avenger was handling like most of the cars on the track. He radioed to crew chief Doug Randolph that the car would not turn in the middle of the corner. When adjustments were made to fix the problem, it became too loose getting into the corner. With a fast pace being set by the leaders, Labonte lost one lap. He was in position to get the 'Lucky Dog' award on several occasions, but that good fortune never fell his way. Labonte was also involved in a late race incident that was not of his own making, but he was able to cross the finish line. Labonte remains 17th in the driver points standings.

"It's tough to get these new cars to turn in the middle, but not be too free getting in," said Labonte. "Dover is not a place where you want to be loose getting in, or coming off of the corners. We should probably take a look at making some adjustments on these cars for place like Dover because it is a different animal than we see on a regular basis."

Kyle Petty and the #45 Wells Fargo Dodge team finished in the 25th position on Sunday. The car was better than the finish indicates, but Petty was twice a victim of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Petty had a car that he was comfortable with during the early stages of the race. Crew chief Billy Wilburn only made small adjustments to the #45 Dodge Avenger. On lap 75, Petty was on the outside of the '21' car getting into turn 1 when a tire blew that shot him up the track into Petty. Petty lost one lap in the spin, but still had a car turning very fast lap times. However, on lap 203, Petty was hit from behind by another competitor while coming off of turn 4. The crew went to work to try to get Petty back out to gain valuable points, but the damage was too severe. Petty remains 34th in the owner points standings.

"Well, they tried to knock us around today," said Petty. "I know Schrader had a tire go down. That's racing. That stuff happens. But that second incident, I don't know. He was a lead car, but I had given the other leaders in front of him plenty of room to get by. We're in a points battle too, you know. That top-35 race is important to us."

Round three in the "Chase for the Championship" takes place this weekend at the Kansas Speedway.

-credit: pe

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About this article
Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeff Gordon , Bobby Labonte , Tony Stewart , Kyle Petty , Carl Edwards