By Phil and Nancy Schilke - Motorsport.com
Brooklyn, MI - Live updates from MIS:
200-lap mark: What a finish! After Gordon leads most of the race with Rudd chasing him, both have pit stop problems and had to work their way back to the front.
Drivers scramble for positions with 3 to 4 wide on the front- and back-straights and going into turns 1 and 4. By lap 186, Gordon was back in second and Rudd in fourth. Marlin doing a good job of holding off Marlin. After Rudd gets into third, caution comes out when John Andretti goes into a spin with a tap from Robert Pressley and ends up in the wall; comes back down and ends up touching Pressley which puts Pressley into a spin across the track and down low. The second chain reaction happens. Everyone else manages some really good saves.
Final pit stops under caution. Going back to green, leaders were: Marlin, Gordon, Rudd, Blaney and J. Burton.
One lap around green before Shawna Robinson loses it and spins but keeps it off the wall. Prior to the spin, Gordon easily passes Marlin for first and Rudd takes second.
The last five laps saw a very good Gordon and Rudd battle.
Race winner: Jeff Gordon
TOP FIVE AT CHECKERED FLAG: Gordon, Rudd, Marlin, Jeremy Mayfield and Ryan Newman.
Lap 175 mark:
Earnhardt Jr. loses engine on lap 172 bringing out a caution.
After caution - Rudd takes the lead with a two-tire start while Gordon takes on four. Both stop in the pits twice. Gordon for left side lug nuts loose. Rudd for the other two tires. This caution makes a major change in the race.
TOP FIVE PRIOR TO GREEN FLAG - Merlin, J. Burton, Ward Burton, Blaney and Bill Elliott -- Avg. speed: 141.07
Green flag pit stops have changed the complexion of the race and this report. Pit stops are underway.
TOP FIVE: Gordon, Rudd, Marlin, Benson and J. Burton. Average speed 138.18
100-lap mark (halfway):
Only one other caution on lap 80 - Elliott Sadler had a left front tire go down, spun, made wall contact with major damage to his front end. Driver okay. All pit stops have been under caution.
TOP FIVE: Gordon, Sterling Marlin, Earnhardt Jr., Rudd and J. Burton.
Looks like the major threat of rain has passed over.
Four cautions so far. Last two were lap 24 - Rusty Wallace contact with the outside wall with heavy damage. Team in working on car in garage. Lap 41 saw a tire go down on Todd Bodine and put the second of the two Kmart cars into the wall. No injuries to any of the drivers.
TOP FIVE: Gordon, Earnhardt Jr., Jeff Burton, Ken Schrader and Mark Martin. Gordon with a half-front straight lead.
Start of race:
The massive crowd saw a good clean start as Jeff Gordon took the lead into turn one and entering turn four, Ricky Rudd took over the lead to hold it to the start/finish line for lap one. By lap three, Gordon retook the lead and held off Rudd when the caution came out on lap 11. Jimmy Spencer might have had contact with Jeff Burton prior to spinning.
Lap 16 - accident on back straightaway involving several cars - #97 Kurt Busch, #18 Bobby Labonte and #88 Dale Jarrett. Busch made contact with outside wall with heavy damage. Labonte spun and had damage and has made several pit stops. Jarrett minor damage.
TOP FIVE (lap 20 under caution) - Gordon, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Rudd, Dave Blaney, Johnny Benson.
Light rain in the morning; sunshine with scattered clouds but track is dry and ready to start race on time.
Driver Introductions quotes:
Dave Blaney (#93 Dodge starting 4th) - You have a good qualifying spot, how do you feel about the race today and your chances? "Car is great. Feel real good about our chance today to bring the Amoco Dodge home for our first win."
Shawna Robinson (#84 Ford starting 32nd) - How do you feel about starting your first Winston Cup race at MIS? "I feel great. Hope to have a good race."
Dale Earnhardt Jr. (#8 Chevrolet starting 7th) - Are you hoping for a double Earnhardt win at MIS? "That would be great! I hope to bring the Bud Chevy home in first. Dad would be happy for both Kerry and myself."
Rusty Wallace (#2 Ford starting 18th) - How do you feel about your chances here? "I like this track and if everything goes well with the Miller Lite Ford, expect to see us at the top."
Two fly-overs: one for the race start and one on the first pace lap in memory of Dale Earnhardt Sr.