|Race 35 of 36 in the 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series|
Official logo of the race
|Date||November 15, 2009|
|Official name||Checker O'Reilly Auto Parts 500|
|Location||Phoenix International Raceway, Avondale, Arizona|
|Course||1.000 mi (1.609 km)|
|Distance||312 laps, 312 mi (502.115 km)|
|Weather||Temperatures reaching up to 68 °F (20 °C); wind speeds up to 9.9 miles per hour (15.9 km/h)|
|Average speed||110.486 miles per hour (177.810 km/h)|
|Driver||Dale Earnhardt Inc.|
|Most laps led|
|Driver||Jimmie Johnson||Hendrick Motorsports|
|No. 48||Jimmie Johnson||Hendrick Motorsports|
|Television in the United States|
|Announcers||Jerry Punch, Dale Jarrett, and Andy Petree|
The 2009 Checker O'Reilly Auto Parts 500 was the thirty-fifth and penultimate stock car race of the 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and the ninth in the ten-race season-ending Chase for the Sprint Cup. It was held on November 15, 2009 at Phoenix International Raceway, in Avondale, Arizona before a crowd of 90,000. The 312-lap race was won by Jimmie Johnson of the Hendrick Motorsports team after starting from third position. Jeff Burton finished second and Denny Hamlin came in third.
Martin Truex, Jr. won the pole position, although he was passed by Kurt Busch by the end of the first lap. Fifty-six laps later, Johnson became the leader of the race. Many Chase for the Sprint Cup participants, including Jeff Gordon and Mark Martin ran in the top ten for most of the race. Johnson maintained the first position to lead the most laps of 238, and to win his seventh race of the season. There were four cautions and nine lead changes among four different drivers during the course of the race.
The race was Johnson's seventh win of the 2009 season, and the forty-seventh of his career. The result kept Johnson in the lead of the Drivers' Championship, one-hundred and eight points ahead of Mark Martin and one-hundred and sixty nine in front of Jeff Gordon. Chevrolet maintained their lead in the Manufacturers' Championship, fifty-eight ahead of Toyota, ninety-five in front of Ford and one-hundred and eight ahead of Dodge. The race attracted 5.17 million television viewers.
The 2009 Checker O'Reilly Auto Parts 500 was the thirty-fifth of thirty-six scheduled stock car races of the 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and the ninth in the ten race season-ending Chase for the Sprint Cup. It took place on November 15, 2009, in Avondale, Arizona, at Phoenix International Raceway, a short track that holds NASCAR races. The standard track at Phoenix International Raceway is a four-turn short track oval that is 1 mile (1.6 km) long. The track's turns are banked at eleven degrees, while the front stretch, the location of the finish line, was banked at three degrees. The back stretch, which has a dogleg shape instead of a straight, has nine degrees of banking.
Before the race, Jimmie Johnson led the Drivers' Championship with 6,297 points, and Mark Martin stood in second with 6,224 points. Jeff Gordon followed in third with 6,185 points, fifty-nine ahead of Kurt Busch, and ninety-eight in front of Tony Stewart in fourth and fifth. Juan Pablo Montoya with 6,061 was eleven points ahead of Greg Biffle, as Denny Hamlin with 5,975 points, was two ahead of Ryan Newman, and seventy-seven in front of Kasey Kahne. Carl Edwards and Brian Vickers in eleventh and twelfth with 5,857 and 5,777 points rounded out the contenders for the Chase for the Sprint Cup. In the Manufacturers' Championship, Chevrolet were leading with 247 points, fifty-five ahead of their rival Toyota. Ford, with 158 points, were seven points ahead of Dodge in the battle for third. Johnson was the race's defending champion.
Practice and qualifying
Two practice sessions were held before the Sunday race—both on Saturday. A practice session scheduled for Friday morning was cancelled because of rain. The first session lasted 45 minutes, and the second and final session lasted 60 minutes.
Forty-six drivers were entered in the qualifier on Friday evening; according to NASCAR's qualifying procedure, forty-three were allowed to race. Each driver ran two laps, with the starting order determined by the competitor's fastest times. Martin Truex, Jr. clinched his third pole position of the season, with a time of 26.643. He was joined on the grid's front row by Kurt Busch. Johnson qualified third, Kahne took fourth, and Hamlin started fifth. Biffle, Kyle Busch, Stewart, Casey Mears and Martin completed the top ten positions. The three drivers that failed to qualify were Regan Smith, Kevin Conway and Brandon Ash. After the qualifier Truex said, "(Today) we were pretty good in practice. This is a weird track where you go out in practice, then expect to pick up a half-second somehow (in qualifying). We did. It's strange, but it felt good."
In the first practice session, Sam Hornish, Jr. was fastest, placing ahead of Kahne in second, and Kyle Busch in third. Biffle was fourth fastest, and Hamlin placed fifth. Montoya, Johnson, Martin, Stewart and Gordon rounded out the top ten fastest drivers in the session. Of the other drivers in the chase, Vickers was fifteenth fastest, while Newman placed seventeenth. Later that day, Johnson was fastest in the second and final practice session, ahead of Martin in second, and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. in third. Truex was fourth quickest, and Kurt Busch took fifth. Jeff Burton managed sixth. Gordon, Jamie McMurray, Joey Logano and Kahne followed in the top ten. Other chase drivers included Montoya in seventeenth and Edwards in twenty-third. Kahne scraped the turn two wall and sustained minor damage to his right-hand quarter.
|1||1||Martin Truex, Jr.||Earnhardt Ganassi Racing||Chevrolet||26.643||135.120|
|2||2||Kurt Busch||Penske Championship Racing||Dodge||26.750||134.579|
|3||48||Jimmie Johnson||Hendrick Motorsports||Chevrolet||26.775||134.454|
|4||9||Kasey Kahne||Richard Petty Motorsports||Dodge||26.807||134.293|
|5||11||Denny Hamlin||Joe Gibbs Racing||Toyota||26.820||134.228|
|6||16||Greg Biffle||Roush Fenway Racing||Ford||26.821||134.223|
|7||18||Kyle Busch||Joe Gibbs Racing||Toyota||26.831||134.173|
|8||14||Tony Stewart||Stewart-Haas Racing||Chevrolet||26.850||134.078|
|9||07||Casey Mears||Richard Childress Racing||Chevrolet||26.860||134.028|
|10||5||Mark Martin||Hendrick Motorsports||Chevrolet||26.861||134.023|
|11||55||Michael Waltrip||Michael Waltrip Racing||Toyota||26.876||133.949|
|12||77||Sam Hornish, Jr.||Team Penske||Dodge||26.881||133.924|
|13||33||Clint Bowyer||Richard Childress Racing||Chevrolet||26.890||133.879|
|14||24||Jeff Gordon||Hendrick Motorsports||Chevrolet||26.891||133.874|
|15||00||David Reutimann||Michael Waltrip Racing||Toyota||26.893||133.864|
|16||44||A. J. Allmendinger||Richard Petty Motorsports||Ford||26.914||133.759|
|17||42||Juan Pablo Montoya||Earnhardt Ganassi Racing||Chevrolet||26.922||133.720|
|18||88||Dale Earnhardt, Jr.||Hendrick Motorsports||Chevrolet||26.926||133.700|
|19||83||Brian Vickers||Red Bull Racing Team||Toyota||26.930||133.680|
|20||71||Bobby Labonte||TRG Motorsports||Chevrolet||26.952||133.571|
|21||47||Marcos Ambrose||JTG Daugherty Racing||Toyota||26.956||133.551|
|22||7||Robby Gordon||Robby Gordon Motorsports||Toyota||26.983||133.417|
|23||13||Max Papis||Germain Racing||Toyota||26.986||133.402|
|24||39||Ryan Newman||Stewart-Haas Racing||Chevrolet||27.019||133.240|
|25||99||Carl Edwards||Roush Fenway Racing||Ford||27.024||133.215|
|26||12||Brad Keselowski||Penske Championship Racing||Dodge||27.035||133.161|
|27||20||Joey Logano||Joe Gibbs Racing||Chevrolet||27.037||133.151|
|28||17||Matt Kenseth||Roush Fenway Racing||Ford||27.043||133.121|
|29||09||David Gilliland||Joe Gibbs Racing||Chevrolet||27.050||133.087|
|30||26||Jamie McMurray||Roush Fenway Racing||Ford||27.055||133.062|
|31||29||Kevin Harvick||Richard Childress Racing||Chevrolet||27.082||132.930|
|32||66||Dave Blaney||Prism Motorsports||Toyota||27.083||132.925|
|33||6||David Ragan||Roush Fenway Racing||Ford||27.106||132.812|
|34||87||Joe Nemechek||NEMCO Motorsports||Toyota||27.112||132.783|
|35||19||Elliott Sadler||Richard Petty Motorsports||Dodge||27.116||132.763|
|36||31||Jeff Burton||Richard Childress Racing||Chevrolet||27.139||132.650|
|37||82||Scott Speed||Red Bull Racing Team||Toyota||27.204||132.333|
|38||36||Michael McDowell||Tommy Baldwin Racing||Toyota||27.216||132.276|
|39||96||Erik Darnell||Hall of Fame Racing||Ford||27.236||132.178|
|40||43||Reed Sorenson||Richard Petty Motorsports||Dodge||27.308||131.829|
|41||98||Paul Menard||Robert Yates Racing||Ford||27.402||131.377|
|42||34||John Andretti||Front Row Motorsports||Chevrolet||27.532||130.757|
|43||37||Tony Raines||Front Row Motorsports||Chevrolet||27.254||132.091|
|44||78||Regan Smith||Furniture Row Racing||Chevrolet||27.260||132.062|
|45||70||Kevin Conway||TRG Motorsports||Chevrolet||27.295||131.892|
|46||02||Brandon Ash||Ash Motorsports||Dodge||27.552||130.662|
The race, the thirty-fifth of a total of thirty-six in the 2009 season, began at 3:15 p.m. EST and was televised in the United States on ESPN. Around the start of the race, weather conditions were sunny. Phoenix International Raceway chaplin Ken Bowers began pre-race ceremonies by giving the invocation. Former J Records recording artist Tyrese Gibson performed the national anthem, and Senator John McCain commanded the drivers to start their engines. No driver had to move to rear of the grid at the start of the race.
Truex retained his pole position lead into the first lap. On the same lap, Kurt Busch passed Truex to become the new race leader. One lap later, Martin, who started tenth, fell to eleventh. On the 4th lap, Hornish had moved up to seventh position after passing Kyle Busch and Gordon. Two laps later, Montoya moved into the sixteenth position, as Martin passed Stewart for tenth on lap 7. By the 9th lap, Kurt Busch had a one-second lead over Truex One lap later, Kurt Busch increased his lead to 1.5 seconds. On lap 13, Martin passed Kyle Busch to claim ninth. Two laps later, Martin moved into eighth.
Gordon who began the race in fourteenth, had moved up eight positions to sixth by lap 22. Three laps later, Truex had reduced Kurt Busch's lead to one second, as Martin moved into seventh on lap 28. One lap later, Kurt Busch extended his lead over Truex to 1.6 seconds, as Gordon moved into fifth position. On lap 33, Johnson passed Truex for second; Martin passed Gordon to claim fifth on lap 38. Four laps later, Johnson closed to half a second from Kurt Busch. Twelve laps later, Earnhardt dropped to twentieth position. On lap 57, Johnson passed Kurt Busch to claim the lead, with Martin moving to fourth one lap later.
By lap 60, Johnson built up a 1.5 second lead over Kurt Busch, while Hamlin moved into the third position. Green flag pit stops took place from lap 65 to 73; Kurt Busch reclaimed the lead at the end of the cycle. On lap 90, Johnson passed Kurt Busch to take over the lead position. One lap later, Hamlin took over fifth position. On the 102nd lap, Martin and Gordon moved into third and fourth respectively. Four laps later, Montoya moved into fourth. Having started on pole position, Truex clinched sixth position on lap 107. On lap 115, the pace car moved on track because debris was spotted on the track. During the caution, most of the leaders made pit stops.
Johnson maintained his lead on the restart, followed by Martin and Gordon. Also, the second caution was prompted when Michael Waltrip damaged his car on that restart, Brad Keselowski was hit from behind and David Ragan spun sideways. None of the leaders chose to make pit stops, as the clean-up crew came on track to clear debris and fluids. Johnson held the lead at the lap 127 restart. Gordon accelerated slower than the leaders and dropped to sixth position by the next lap. On lap 129, Kyle Busch and Gordon made contact, but both managed to continue, without damaging their cars. By the next lap, Hamlin passed Martin for second position. On lap 134, Johnson had a 1.5 second lead, as Clint Bowyer moved into the fifth position. By the 138th lap, Johnson's lead was increased to 2 seconds.
Kurt Busch and Montoya moved into fourth and ninth positions respectively on lap 141. By the 150th lap, Johnson had built up a 2.7 second lead over Hamlin. On lap 162, Johnson's lead of 3.4 seconds was reduced to nothing when debris was spotted on the track, causing a caution. During the caution, some of the leaders elected to make pit stops. Johnson remained the leader on the restart, ahead of Bowyer and Hamlin. Two laps later, a multi-car collision occurred on the front straightway as Earnhardt lost control of his car, and collected Logano, Scott Speed, Hornish, Bobby Labonte, Kenseth, Stewart, Vickers and Keselowski. The damaged cars headed to the pit road during the caution as crews cleaned up debris.
Johnson maintained his lead at the restart. On lap 179, Earnhardt headed for his garage because of an oil leak. Three laps later, Vickers and Labonte retired from the race, and Gordon dropped to tenth position. By the 186th lap, Johnson rebuilt his lead to 2.3 seconds, as Bowyer passed Gordon to claim third. Five laps later, Martin and Gordon moved into sixth and ninth positions respectively. Johnson's lead over Kurt Busch was three seconds by lap 196. Four laps later, Edwards moved up to eighteenth position, while Montoya moved to eighth, one lap later. By lap 203, Johnson mainained a 3.4 second lead, while Burton was passed by Martin for fifth position five laps later. Johnson's lead was increased to 4.3 seconds by the 215th lap.
On lap 219, Hamlin moved into the third position, and one lap later, Martin moved up another place to fourth. On lap 222, Johnson increased his lead over Kurt Busch to almost five seconds. Six laps later, Earnhardt rejoined the race. Green flag pit stops began on lap 240; Johnson made a pit stop on lap 242, giving the lead to Kenseth. After pit stops, Johnson regained the first position. By lap 277, the drivers reported their cars becoming loose as track temperatures began to drop. Twelve laps later, Burton passed Hamlin for the second position. On lap 296, Gordon passed Ambrose to claim ninth, while Truex moved into the fifth position. By lap 302, Johnson maintained a 1.8 second lead over Burton. Two laps later, David Reutimann moved back into the top ten after passing Ambrose, while Kurt Busch moved up to sixth on lap 310. Johnson maintained his lead to win his seventh race of the 2009 season. Burton finished second, ahead of Hamlin in third, Martin in fourth, and Truex in fifth. Kurt Busch, Bowyer, Montoya, Gordon and Reutimann rounded out the top ten finishers.
Johnson, speaking after the race.
Johnson appeared in victory lane to celebrate his seventh win of the season in front of 90,000 who attended the race. Johnson also earned $267,001 in race winnings. Afterward, he said, "I guess it could have been a statement we were sending. There was a lot of pressure. All week long, we wondered if we could step up like we did today. I'm very proud how we rose to the occasion.", he continued, "When I go home tonight, I'm going to be (mentally) driving laps, what I think I need to do in qualifying trim so I can put my best effort in on Friday. Same thing for race practice on Saturday, and go racing Sunday. Texas was such a good lesson. And I hope that the points we lost in Texas isn't what keeps us from winning this championship."
Burton, who finished second, was happy with his performance, " [New crew chief] Todd Berrier has come in and done a great job, the team’s done a great job. We had one hiccough early on pit road but the rest of them we picked out our spots every single time, and that’s what it takes; it takes a team effort." In the subsequent post-race press conference, Hamlin said, "Anytime that Jimmie is down is not usually because of performance, it's usually because of an incident like last week. There was no doubt in my mind they were going to come this week and make a statement. Obviously leading all the laps pretty much and winning the race sends a statement out there that he is the best, that they're not going to be denied this year."
The race result left Johnson maintaining the lead in the Drivers' Championship with 6,492 points. After the race, Martin who finished fourth, was less optimistic about his championship chances, "We've still got to go to Homestead and run like this again because we've still got that threat behind us, Jeff Gordon, especially." Gordon maintained third with 6,323 points, forty-two ahead of Kurt Busch and one-hundred and sixteen in front of Stewart. In the Manufacturers' Championship, Chevrolet maintained the lead with 256 points. Toyota remained second with 198 points. Ford followed with 161 points, six ahead of Dodge in fourth. 5.17 million people watched the race on television. The race took two hours, forty-nine minutes and twenty-six seconds to complete, and the margin of victory was 1.033 seconds.
|1||3||48||Jimmie Johnson||Hendrick Motorsports||Chevrolet||312||1952|
|2||36||31||Jeff Burton||Richard Childress Racing||Chevrolet||312||170|
|3||5||11||Denny Hamlin||Joe Gibbs Racing||Toyota||312||165|
|4||10||5||Mark Martin||Hendrick Motorsports||Chevrolet||312||160|
|5||1||1||Martin Truex, Jr.||Earnhardt Ganassi Racing||Chevrolet||312||155|
|6||2||2||Kurt Busch||Penske Championship Racing||Dodge||312||1551|
|7||13||33||Clint Bowyer||Richard Childress Racing||Chevrolet||312||146|
|8||17||42||Juan Pablo Montoya||Earnhardt Ganassi Racing||Chevrolet||312||142|
|9||14||24||Jeff Gordon||Hendrick Motorsports||Chevrolet||312||138|
|10||15||00||David Reuitmann||Michael Waltrip Racing||Toyota||312||134|
|11||21||47||Marcos Ambrose||JTG Daugherty Racing||Toyota||312||130|
|12||7||18||Kyle Busch||Joe Gibbs Racing||Toyota||312||127|
|13||16||44||A. J. Allmendinger||Richard Petty Motorsports||Ford||312||124|
|14||6||16||Greg Biffle||Roush Fenway Racing||Ford||312||121|
|15||4||9||Kasey Kahne||Richard Petty Motorsports||Dodge||312||118|
|16||25||99||Carl Edwards||Roush Fenway Racing||Ford||312||115|
|17||12||77||Sam Hornish, Jr.||Team Penske||Dodge||311||112|
|18||28||17||Matt Kenseth||Roush Fenway Racing||Ford||311||1141|
|19||30||26||Jamie McMurray||Roush Fenway Racing||Ford||311||106|
|20||24||39||Ryan Newman||Stewart-Haas Racing||Chevrolet||311||1081|
|21||27||20||Joey Logano||Joe Gibbs Racing||Chevrolet||310||100|
|22||22||7||Robby Gordon||Robby Gordon Motorsports||Toyota||310||97|
|23||33||6||David Ragan||Roush Fenway Racing||Ford||310||94|
|24||31||29||Kevin Harvick||Richard Childress Racing||Chevrolet||310||91|
|25||8||14||Tony Stewart||Stewart-Haas Racing||Chevrolet||310||88|
|26||40||43||Reed Sorenson||Richard Petty Motorsports||Dodge||310||85|
|27||9||07||Casey Mears||Richard Childress Racing||Chevrolet||308||82|
|28||35||19||Elliott Sadler||Richard Petty Motorsports||Dodge||308||79|
|29||41||98||Paul Menard||Robert Yates Racing||Ford||308||76|
|30||29||09||David Gilliland||Joe Gibbs Racing||Chevrolet||308||73|
|31||39||96||Erik Darnell||Hall of Fame Racing||Ford||306||70|
|32||23||113||Max Papis||Germain Racing||Toyota||304||67|
|33||37||82||Scott Speed||Red Bull Racing Team||Toyota||303||64|
|34||42||34||John Andretti||Front Row Motorsports||Chevrolet||268||61|
|35||18||88||Dale Earnhardt, Jr.||Hendrick Motorsports||Chevrolet||256||58|
|36||11||55||Michael Waltrip||Michael Waltrip Racing||Toyota||251||55|
|37||26||12||Brad Keselowski||Penske Championship Racing||Dodge||239||52|
|38||19||83||Brian Vickers||Red Bull Racing Team||Toyota||170||49|
|39||20||171||Bobby Labonte||TRG Motorsports||Chevrolet||169||46|
|40||34||187||Joe Nemechek||NEMCO Motorsports||Toyota||47||43|
|41||38||36||Michael McDowell||Tommy Baldwin Racing||Toyota||36||40|
|42||32||66||Dave Blaney||Prism Motorsports||Toyota||9||37|
|43||43||37||Tony Raines||Front Row Motorsports||Chevrolet||6||34|
1 Includes five bonus points for leading a lap
2 Includes ten bonus points for leading the most laps
Standings after the race
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- "Practice Two Speeds". NASCAR. Turner Sports Interactive, Inc. Archived from the original on November 16, 2009. Retrieved January 11, 2015.
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- Ryan, Nate (November 16, 2009). "Johnson flies to Phoenix win, nears fourth NASCAR crown". USA Today. Gannett Company. Archived from the original on December 13, 2015. Retrieved January 11, 2015.
- Fish, James (November 16, 2009). "Johnson Wins NASCAR Phoenix Race, Closes in on Championship". The Epoch Times. Retrieved January 11, 2015.
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2009 Dickies 500
|Sprint Cup Series
2009 Ford 400