2009 Price Chopper 400
|Race 29 of 36 in the 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series|
|Date||October 4, 2009|
|Location||Kansas Speedway, Kansas City, Kansas|
Permanent racing facility|
1.5 mi (2.414 km)
|Distance||267 laps, 400.5 mi (644.542 km)|
|Weather||Temperatures reaching a high of 64.9 °F (18.3 °C); wind speeds approaching 8 miles per hour (13 km/h)|
|Average speed||137.144 miles per hour (220.712 km/h)|
|Most laps led|
|Driver||Greg Biffle||Roush Fenway Racing|
|No. 14||Tony Stewart||Stewart Haas Racing|
|Television in the United States|
|Announcers||Jerry Punch, Dale Jarrett, Andy Petree|
The 2009 Price Chopper 400 presented by Kraft Foods was the 29th of 36 scheduled stock car races of the 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and the third in the ten-race season-ending Chase for the Sprint Cup. It was held on October 4, 2009, in Kansas City, Kansas, at Kansas Speedway, before a crowd of 100,000 spectators. Stewart-Haas Racing driver and co-owner Tony Stewart won the 267-lap race, starting from the fifth position. Jeff Gordon of Hendrick Motorsports finished in second, with Roush Fenway Racing's Greg Biffle in third.
Mark Martin won the 47th pole position of his career by posting the fastest lap in qualifying. He lost the lead to his teammate Dale Earnhardt Jr. who passed him on lap 12. Earnhardt kept it until his other teammate Jimmie Johnson emerged in the first position after the first round of green flag pit stops took place. Biffle took the lead for the first time on the 72nd lap, and he led six times for a total of 113 laps, more than any other driver. Stewart became the leader through strategy on lap 238 during a phase of pit stops under a caution period by taking only two tires, while Biffle chose to have four tires installed on his car. He held off the closing Gordon in the final laps to secure the victory. There were six cautions and a track-record 26 lead changes amongst 14 different drivers during the course of the event.
It was Stewart's second win at Kansas Speedway, his fourth of the season, and the 37th of his career. The result advanced him from fifth to fourth in the Drivers' Championship, and past his nearest rival, Penske Championship Racing driver Kurt Busch. He was 67 points behind Martin whose lead over his teammate Johnson was reduced to 18 because Martin finished seventh. Because of Stewart's victory, Chevrolet won its 33rd Manufacturers' Championship in NASCAR Cup Competition, as Toyota could not catch its points total with seven races left in the season. The race attracted 5.25 million television viewers.
The 2009 Price Chopper 400 was the 29th of 36 scheduled stock car races of the 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, and the third in the ten-race season-ending Chase for the Sprint Cup. It was held on October 4, 2009, in Kansas City, Kansas, at Kansas Speedway, one of ten intermediate to hold NASCAR races, with the others being Atlanta Motor Speedway, Charlotte Motor Speedway, Chicagoland Speedway, Darlington Raceway, Homestead-Miami Speedway, New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Kentucky Speedway, Las Vegas Motor Speedway, and Texas Motor Speedway. The standard track at is a four-turn 1.5 mi (2.4 km) long D-shaped oval track. The track's turns are banked at 15 degrees, while the front stretch, the location of the finish line, is 10.4 degrees. The back stretch, opposite to the front, is five degrees.
Before the race, Mark Martin led the Drivers' Championship with 5,400 points, and Jimmie Johnson stood in second with 5,390. Juan Pablo Montoya was third in the Drivers' Championship with 5,335, ten ahead of Kurt Busch and 21 ahead of Tony Stewart in fourth and fifth. Denny Hamlin was two points ahead of Ryan Newman, as Jeff Gordon with 5,278 points, was 16 ahead of Greg Biffle, and 29 in front of Brian Vickers. Carl Edwards and Kasey Kahne were eleventh and twelfth with 5,247 and 5,211 points. In the Manufacturers' Championship, Chevrolet were leading with 208 points, 45 ahead of their rivals Toyota. Ford, with 123 points, were one point ahead of Dodge in the battle for third place. Johnson was the race's defending champion. The Manufacturers' Championship could have been sealed in Kansas in the event the highest-placed Chevrolet driver finished ahead of the highest-placed Toyota competitor.
Practice and qualifying
Three practice sessions were held before the Sunday race—one on Friday, and two on Saturday. The first session lasted 90 minutes, while the second session lasted 45 minutes. The third and final session lasted 60 minutes. During the first practice session, Newman was fastest, with a time of 31.080 seconds, placing ahead of Johnson in second and Montoya in third. Clint Bowyer was fourth fastest, and David Ragan placed fifth. Tony Stewart, Martin Truex Jr., A. J. Allmendinger, David Stremme and Brad Keselowski rounded out the session's top ten fastest drivers.
Although 46 drivers attempted to qualify; according to NASCAR's qualifying procedure, only 43 could race. Each driver ran two laps, with the starting order determined by the competitor's fastest lap times. Hendrick Motorsports and Chevrolet took the first three places as Martin clinched his seventh pole position of the season, his first at Kansas Speedway, and the 48th of his career, with a time of 30.724 seconds. He was joined on the grid's front row by his teammate Dale Earnhardt Jr. whose best lap was 0.084 seconds slower. Keselowski qualified third, Jamie McMurray took fourth, and Stewart started fifth. Kahne, Joe Nemechek, Bowyer, Gordon and Scott Speed completed the top ten positions. The three drivers who failed to qualify were David Gilliland, Michael McDowell and Kevin Hamlin. Once qualifying concluded, Martin said, "Have any of you ever stepped on a cat's tail? I have accidentally stepped on cat's tail before. They make a noise and go really fast. When I stepped on the gas of that No. 5 car today, it was like stepping on a cat's tail it had so much horsepower."
On Saturday morning, Johnson was fastest in the second practice session by setting a lap of 31.144 seconds, ahead of Hamlin in second, and Kenseth in third. Reutimann was fourth quickest, and Stewart took fifth. Joey Logano managed sixth. Bowyer, Gordon, Kurt Busch and Kahne followed in the top ten. Of the drivers in the Chase, Newman set the 12th fastest time, and Biffle was 15th quickest. Later that day, Johnson paced the final practice session with a lap of 31.217 seconds, with Martin in second, and Kenseth in third. Montoya was fourth quickest, and Bowyer took fifth. Gordon managed sixth, Vickers was seventh fastest, Logano eighth, McMurray ninth, and Edwards tenth. Other Chase drivers included Kahne in 12th and Hamlin in 15th.
Live television coverage of the race began in the United States at 2:00 p.m. EDT (UTC−05:00) on ABC. Around the start of the race, weather conditions were sunny, with the air temperature 56 °F (13 °C). Pastor Jimmy Ybarra began pre-race ceremonies by giving the invocation. Country music singer Blaine Larsen performed the national anthem, and the Grand Marshal of the race Kent Blair commanded the drivers to start their engines.
Martin retained his pole position lead into the first corner, with Earnhardt behind him. Keselowski fell to the sixth position on the same lap. On lap two, Logano lost control of his car, and spun sideways off the track at turn two, causing the first caution. All of the leaders stayed out on track, allowing Martin to remain the leader on the restart. On lap 6, McMurray passed Earnhardt to claim the second position. One lap later, the second caution was prompted after Paul Menard spun sideways at turn two, collecting Ragan, Michael Waltrip, Max Papis, and Bobby Labonte. During the caution, most of the leaders elected to make pit stops. Martin maintained his lead on the restart, with Earnhardt in second, and Keselowski third. On the 12th lap, Earnhardt moved into the first position after passing his teammate Martin at turn four. Keselowski overtook Martin shortly after. One lap later, Ragan drove to pit road after smoke billowed from his car.
On lap 15, Johnson passed Reutimann for eighth. After starting the race in 22nd, Hamlin had moved up eleven positions to eleventh by lap 18. One lap later, Johnson passed Gordon for seventh, as Montoya moved into the tenth position by lap 20. On the 21st lap, Johnson claimed the sixth position from Kahne, while Montoya passed Gordon for eighth. By lap 23, Earnhardt had a 1.9 second lead over Keselowski. Two laps later, McMurray passed Martin for the third position. By lap 31, Johnson had moved into the fourth position after passing Stewart and Martin. Four laps later, Stewart moved into fifth after passing Martin. On the 37th lap, Johnson passed McMurray for third. Stewart and Martin got ahead of McMurray to take over the fourth and fifth positions three laps later. Reuitmann got into sixth by the 45th lap. Two laps later, Gordon fell to 12th because of handling difficulties.
On lap 48, Montoya was overtaken by Biffle for the eighth position, and Reuitmann got ahead of Martin on the outside lane to take fifth on the backstretch. Green flag pit stops commenced on lap 52 as Keselowski became the first driver to stop for an air pressure adjustment and tires. They lasted until the 62nd lap, and Johnson took the lead after their conclusion with Keselowski second, and Stewart in third. Seven laps later, the third caution was necessitated for Reed Sorenson who hit the turn two wall. During the caution, several drivers (including Johnson), elected to make pit stops for tires. Biffle won the race off pit road, and lead at the restart on lap 74. Kenseth was passed by Montoya for second on lap 76, and Keselowski and Kurt Busch battled for fourth place. On lap 88, Johnson caught the leader Biffle and they battled alongside each other for the next few laps.
Johnson drew ahead of Biffle as the pair crossed the start/finish line to lead the 91st lap, as Stewart got past Truex for the third position. Johnson and Biffle continued to trade the lead for the next three laps, as they extended their advantage over the rest of the pack to five seconds. By lap 97, Gordon had advanced to eighth. On the next lap, Montoya passed Truex to take over fifth. Biffle was delayed the slower car of Papis, and Johnson took the opportunity to get ahead of him, and retake the lead on the 102nd lap. Kenseth got ahead of Truex to demote him to eighth two laps later. By the 119th lap, Montoya was in fourth, and Keselowski was passed by Kenseth for the fifth position. The second round of green flag pit stops for tires and car adjustments got underway on lap 122. Four laps later, Vickers spun leaving turn four, and the fourth caution was shown. Pit stops continued to be made during the caution.
Biffle got ahead of Johnson as his pit stop was faster than his and led the field at the lap 130 restart. On the next lap, Johnson re-passed Biffle around the outside in the third turn to reclaim the lead. After starting 22nd, Hamlin moved into sixth unnoticed by lap 132. Nine laps later, Montoya overtook Biffle to take the second position, as Johnson increased his lead over Biffle to 4.4 seconds. Elliott Sadler pirouetted through 360 degrees in turn two, but avoided contact with the wall and passing vehicles on lap 147, activating the fifth caution. Under caution, all of the leaders (including Johnson) went to pit road for tires and car adjustments. Biffle regained the lead, and held the position at the lap 150 restart. Hamlin overtook Martin for second place soon after. Three laps later, Gordon passed Martin for fourth, and Marcos Ambrose lost the tenth position to Kahne. Biffle then held off Stewart to keep the lead on the 159th lap, and that allowed Hamlin to close up.
On the 163rd lap, Johnson got ahead of Kyle Busch to take the tenth position, and Casey Mears was passed by Montoya who took sixth from him two laps later. Johnson advanced to ninth by passing Reutimann on lap 166. Mears fell to eighth when Kahne overtook him on the following lap. Montoya got past Martin for fifth on lap 169. After ending their battle for first place, Biffle and Stewart increased their advantage over the rest of the pack to three seconds. On the 171st lap, Johnson got into seventh when he overtook Mears and Kahne moved into sixth six laps later. Kurt Busch got ahead of Mears to claim the tenth position on lap 180. The third phase of green flag pit stops for fuel, tires, and car adjustments occurred between laps 183 and 209, with Biffle maintaining the lead and Stewart keeping second. On lap 212, Montoya's crew chief Brian Pattie requested he conserve fuel so he could try to finish the race.
Hamlin overtook Gordon to advance into fourth on lap 213. By lap 217, Biffle had a lead of 7.8 seconds but he had to make another pit stop before the race would conclude. Hamlin got ahead of Kahne to claim third place three laps later. Between laps 221 and 223, Johnson, Gordon and Montoya battled for third but neither driver could advance their positions. On the 230th lap, Martin passed Montoya for seventh. The sixth (and final) caution came out as Earnhardt's engine failed, and oil from his car laid on the track. He brought his into the garage to retire from the race. During the caution, the leaders (including Biffle), elected to make pit stops for fuel and tires. Biffle requested four tires be installed on his car after he overruled his crew chief Greg Erwin's decision to have two tires fitted. Stewart, meanwhile, had two tires installed, and exited pit road as the new race leader on lap 238.
Stewart maintained the lead at the lap 241 restart, followed by Kahne, Johnson, Biffle and Hamlin. Biffle then passed Kahne and Johnson to move into second, as Stewart opened up a healthy advantage. In the meantime, Johnson fell to sixth as he struggled with his two new tires. Five laps later, Hamlin went to the track's apron to pass Kahne and Montoya for the fourth position. Johnson was passed by his teammate Martin for eighth on the 248th lap. Gordon caught Biffle and got ahead of him for second six laps later. Although Gordon reduced Stewart's lead, it was not enough for him to challenge the latter, as Stewart responded to Gordon's pace, and took his second win at Kansas Speedway, his fourth of the season, and the 37th of his career. Gordon finished second, Biffle came third, Montoya took fourth and Hamlin fifth. Kahne, Martin, Reuitmann, Johnson and Edwards completed the top ten finishers. The race had a track-record 26 lead changes amongst 14 different drivers. Biffle led six times for a total of 113 laps, more than any other driver. Stewart led five times for a total of 37 laps.
Stewart appeared in Victory Lane to celebrate his fourth victory of the season in front of a crowd of 100,000 people; the win earned him $332,498. He credited his crew chief Darian Grubb for a strategy that allowed him to take the lead, "The guys that took four could just never gain the track position back. We had a really good car on two tyres. Darian and these guys on the pit crew, they are the ones that got us the win. They got us track position and I was able to pick which line I wanted on the restart and that won us the race." Gordon explained that his car became harder to handle the closer he got to Stewart, "As long as he didn't make any big mistakes, I wasn't going to catch him.", and also admitted to have selected the wrong tire strategy, "I know what I did was wrong. I know I made a mistake. But we're sure excited to be running good again, especially going to some tracks we like, like California." Third-placed Johnson said of his situation in the championship and the loss of a victory, "I hate losing points, I felt like we had a shot to win the race, it's just way too early, for myself, even to start worrying about [the Chase standings.] It's only three races in."
Grubb commented on Stewart's victory, "Tony was able to get out there in clean air and was able to take off. The other guys who took two [tyres] ended up 7th and 9th. So Tony was able to get that clean air and just take off. He did an awesome job today; the entire pit crew and everybody did an awesome job all day long." Although he finished seventh, Martin said he was pleased with the result as he was able to keep the points lead, "This is the first time we missed it that much in a while. There have been times when I was off this much and finish 25th. But our team fought for everything we got today." However, he was not celebratory as he was unsure whether he could keep his advantage in the next few races, "What is there, seven more to go? I don't think we should be getting all hyped up about the tally right now, you know? We've got a lot of racing to go."
After the race, Johnson's and Martin's cars were transported to NASCAR's Research and Development Center in Concord, North Carolina for a further precautionary inspection because those two vehicles had been close to exceeding to the organizing body's measurement tolerance limits at the previous week's race at Dover International Speedway. After personnel from Hendrick Motorsports were allowed to observe the potential issues to the two cars, both passed their inspections. The race results left Martin with the Drivers' Championship lead with 5,551 points. Martin's teammate Johnson was 18 points behind in second, and Montoya kept third with 5,500 points. Stewart's win allowed him to move past Kurt Busch and advance into the fourth position. Hamlin, Gordon, Biffle, Newman, Edwards, Kahne, and Vickers completed the top twelve drivers in the points standings. Because of Stewart's victory, Chevrolet won its seventh Manufacturers' Championship in a row, and its 33rd in NASCAR Cup Series competition. Toyota maintained second with 167 points. Ford moved four points clear of Dodge in the battle for third with seven races left in the season. The race attracted 5.25 million television viewers; it took two hours, 55 minutes, and 13 seconds to complete, and the margin of victory was 0.894 seconds.
|1||5||Mark Martin||Hendrick Motorsports||Chevrolet||30.724||175.758|
|2||88||Dale Earnhardt Jr.||Hendrick Motorsports||Chevrolet||30.808||175.279|
|3||25||Brad Keselowski||Hendrick Motorsports||Chevrolet||30.821||175.205|
|4||26||Jamie McMurray||Roush Fenway Racing||Ford||30.822||175.199|
|5||14||Tony Stewart||Stewart-Haas Racing||Chevrolet||30.850||175.040|
|6||9||Kasey Kahne||Richard Petty Motorsports||Dodge||30.860||174.984|
|7||87||Joe Nemechek||NEMCO Motorsports||Toyota||30.895||174.786|
|8||33||Clint Bowyer||Richard Childress Racing||Chevolet||30.902||174.746|
|9||24||Jeff Gordon||Hendrick Motorsports||Chevrolet||30.908||174.712|
|10||82||Scott Speed||Red Bull Racing Team||Toyota||30.918||174.656|
|11||48||Jimmie Johnson||Hendrick Motorsports||Chevrolet||30.923||174.627|
|12||83||Brian Vickers||Red Bull Racing Team||Toyota||30.926||174.610|
|13||00||David Reutimann||Michael Waltrip Racing||Toyota||30.932||174.577|
|14||42||Juan Pablo Montoya||Earnhardt Ganassi Racing||Chevrolet||30.934||174.565|
|15||44||A. J. Allmendinger||Richard Petty Motorsports||Dodge||30.943||174.514|
|16||21||Bill Elliott||Wood Brothers Racing||Ford||30.996||174.216|
|17||99||Carl Edwards||Roush Fenway Racing||Ford||31.015||174.109|
|18||20||Joey Logano||Joe Gibbs Racing||Toyota||31.015||174.109|
|19||09||Mike Bliss||Phoenix Racing||Dodge||31.060||173.857|
|20||98||Paul Menard||Yates Racing||Ford||31.071||173.796|
|21||1||Martin Truex Jr.||Earnhardt Ganassi Racing||Chevrolet||31.076||173.768|
|22||11||Denny Hamlin||Joe Gibbs Racing||Toyota||31.084||173.723|
|23||17||Matt Kenseth||Roush Fenway Racing||Ford||31.120||173.522|
|24||66||Dave Blaney||Prism Motorsports||Toyota||31.129||173.472|
|25||6||David Ragan||Roush Fenway Racing||Ford||31.146||173.377|
|26||71||Bobby Labonte||TRG Motorsports||Chevrolet||31.151||173.349|
|27||47||Marcos Ambrose||JTG Daugherty Racing||Toyota||31.163||173.282|
|28||43||Reed Sorenson||Richard Petty Motorsports||Dodge||31.164||173.277|
|29||55||Michael Waltrip||Michael Waltrip Racing||Toyota||31.192||173.121|
|30||39||Ryan Newman||Stewart-Haas Racing||Chevrolet||31.196||173.099|
|31||16||Greg Biffle||Roush Fenway Racing||Ford||31.203||173.060|
|32||12||David Stremme||Penske Championship Racing||Dodge||31.214||172.999|
|33||77||Sam Hornish Jr.||Penske Championship Racing||Dodge||31.269||172.695|
|34||18||Kyle Busch||Joe Gibbs Racing||Toyota||31.310||172.469|
|35||31||Jeff Burton||Richard Childress Racing||Chevrolet||31.318||172.425|
|36||07||Casey Mears||Richard Childress Racing||Chevrolet||31.368||172.150|
|37||7||Robby Gordon||Robby Gordon Motorsports||Toyota||31.388||172.040|
|38||29||Kevin Harvick||Richard Childress Racing||Chevrolet||31.408||171.931|
|39||2||Kurt Busch||Penske Championship Racing||Dodge||31.554||171.135|
|40||34||John Andretti||Front Row Motorsports||Chevrolet||31.640||170.690|
|41||96||Erik Darnell||Hall of Fame Racing||Ford||31.704||170.326|
|42||19||Elliott Sadler||Richard Petty Motorsports||Dodge||31.731||170.181|
|43||13||Max Papis||Germain Racing||Toyota||31.281||172.629|
|44||04||David Gilliland||Robby Gordon Motorsports||Toyota||31.324||172.392|
|45||36||Michael McDowell||Tommy Baldwin Racing||Toyota||31.557||171.119|
|46||37||Kevin Hamlin||Front Row Motorsports||Dodge||31.732||170.176|
|1||5||14||Tony Stewart||Stewart-Haas Racing||Chevrolet||267||1901|
|2||9||24||Jeff Gordon||Hendrick Motorsports||Chevrolet||267||170|
|3||31||16||Greg Biffle||Roush Fenway Racing||Ford||267||1752|
|4||14||42||Juan Pablo Montoya||Earnhardt Ganassi Racing||Dodge||267||1651|
|5||22||11||Denny Hamlin||Joe Gibbs Racing||Toyota||267||1601|
|6||6||9||Kasey Kahne||Richard Petty Motorsports||Dodge||267||150|
|7||1||5||Mark Martin||Hendrick Motorsports||Chevrolet||267||1511|
|8||13||00||David Reutimann||Michael Waltrip Racing||Toyota||267||142|
|9||11||48||Jimmie Johnson||Hendrick Motorsports||Chevrolet||267||1431|
|10||17||99||Carl Edwards||Roush Fenway Racing||Ford||267||1391|
|11||39||2||Kurt Busch||Penske Championship Racing||Dodge||267||1351|
|12||34||18||Kyle Busch||Joe Gibbs Racing||Toyota||267||127|
|13||3||25||Brad Keselowski||Hendrick Motorsports||Chevrolet||267||1291|
|14||27||47||Marcos Ambrose||JTG Daugherty Racing||Toyota||267||121|
|15||36||07||Casey Mears||Richard Petty Motorsports||Dodge||267||118|
|16||21||1||Martin Truex Jr.||Earnhardt Ganassi Racing||Chevrolet||267||1201|
|17||15||44||A. J. Allmendinger||Richard Petty Motorsports||Dodge||267||112|
|18||33||77||Sam Hornish Jr.||Penske Championship Racing||Dodge||267||109|
|19||16||21||Bill Elliott||Wood Brothers Racing||Ford||266||106|
|20||42||19||Elliott Sadler||Richard Petty Motorsports||Dodge||266||1081|
|21||42||33||Clint Bowyer||Richard Childress Racing||Chevrolet||266||100|
|22||30||39||Ryan Newman||Stewart-Haas Racing||Chevrolet||266||97|
|23||35||31||Jeff Burton||Richard Childress Racing||Chevrolet||266||94|
|24||38||29||Kevin Harvick||Richard Childress Racing||Chevrolet||266||91|
|25||32||12||David Stremme||Penske Championship Racing||Dodge||266||88|
|26||28||43||Reed Sorenson||Richard Petty Motorsports||Dodge||266||85|
|27||10||82||Scott Speed||Red Bull Racing Team||Toyota||266||82|
|28||18||20||Joey Logano||Joe Gibbs Racing||Toyota||266||79|
|29||41||96||Erik Darnell||Hall of Fame Racing||Ford||265||76|
|30||20||98||Paul Menard||Yates Racing||Ford||265||73|
|31||4||26||Jamie McMurray||Roush Fenway Racing||Ford||264||70|
|32||43||13||Max Papis||Germain Racing||Toyota||263||67|
|33||40||34||John Andretti||Front Row Motorsports||Chevrolet||263||691|
|34||37||7||Robby Gordon||Robby Gordon Motorsports||Toyota||263||61|
|35||25||6||David Ragan||Roush Fenway Racing||Ford||256||58|
|36||2||88||Dale Earnhardt Jr.||Hendrick Motorsports||Chevrolet||232||601|
|37||12||83||Brian Vickers||Red Bull Racing Team||Toyota||208||52|
|38||29||55||Michael Waltrip||Michael Waltrip Racing||Toyota||141||49|
|39||23||17||Matt Kenseth||Roush Fenway Racing||Ford||134||511|
|40||24||66||Dave Blaney||Prism Motorsports||Toyota||28||43|
|41||19||09||Mike Bliss||Phoenix Racing||Dodge||26||40|
|42||7||87||Joe Nemechek||NEMCO Motorsports||Toyota||25||37|
|43||26||71||Bobby Labonte||TRG 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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2009 AAA 400
|Sprint Cup Series
2009 Pepsi 500