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JGR Race Report - UAW-Ford 500

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Date: Oct. 8, 2006
Event: UAW-Ford 500 (Round 30 of 36)
Series: NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series
Location: Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway (2.66-mile oval)
Winner: Brian Vickers of Hendrick Motorsports
JGR Finish: Denny Hamlin (21st - Running, completed 188 of 188 laps); Tony Stewart (22nd - Running, completed 188 of 188 laps); J.J. Yeley (32nd - Accident, completed 177 of 188 laps) Denny Hamlin led the three-car Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) contingent at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway by finishing 21st in Sunday's UAW-Ford 500 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race. For Hamlin, driver of the No. 11 FedEx Express Chevrolet, it was his first finish outside the top-20 since April when he finished 22nd in the series' first visit to Talladega, a span of 21 races. Tony Stewart, driver of the No. 20 Home Depot Chevrolet, finished 22nd, while J.J. Yeley, driver of the No. 18 Interstate Batteries Chevrolet, finished 32nd. All three Gibbs drivers were involved in a five-car accident on lap 173 when David Stremme tagged the rear bumper of Yeley's No. 18 machine to send him into the wall in turn two. The chain-reaction wreck sent Stewart into the back of Stremme's Dodge and Hamlin into the back of Stewart's Chevy. Stewart then slid sideways into the path of Paul Menard. Yeley's car suffered the worst with heavy left side damage, while Stewart's ride was only slightly better with rear end damage and a crinkled right front fender. Hamlin endured some slight damage to his front bumper. Stewart and Hamlin were able to continue after repairs by their crews, but Yeley was forced to retire from the 188-lap race on lap 177. Hamlin continues to lead the trio of JGR drivers in the championship point standings, as he is the lone JGR representative in the Chase for the Championship. He dropped three spots to fifth in points, 51 markers behind series leader Jeff Burton. Stewart maintained his 11th-place point standing and has a healthy 236-point lead over 12th-place Carl Edwards. Yeley fell from 28th to 29th in points and is 203 points outside the top-25. Brian Vickers scored his first career Nextel Cup victory by winning the UAW-Ford 500. The win was a controversial one, as Dale Earnhardt Jr. was leading Jimmie Johnson entering turn three on the final lap around the 2.66-mile oval when Vickers - who was running in third - tapped Johnson's car in the right rear corner as he and Johnson attempted to pass Earnhardt. The contact sent Johnson's car into Earnhardt's and both slid into the infield in turn three. Vickers drove to victory, while Earnhardt finished 23rd and Johnson finished 24th. Kasey Kahne finished second, with Kurt Busch, Matt Kenseth and Martin Truex Jr., securing the rest of the top-five. Kevin Harvick, Jeff Green, Mark Martin, Edwards and Bobby Labonte comprised the rest of the top-10. The next event on the Nextel Cup schedule - the fifth race of the final 10-race Chase for the Championship - is the Oct. 14 Bank of America 500 at Charlotte (N.C.). The race begins at 7:10 p.m. EDT with live, high-definition coverage provided by NBC.

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