This is spoiler-free until after the jump.

NASCAR's coming out party for the series new racing car, the unfortunately-named "Car of Tomorrow" (what is this, a car show in 1957?) is officially over. That means that NASCAR history has been made by one of the new machines, which are identifiable by their new rear wings and front splitters. Those visual cues are part of a whole host of changes that are said to make the COT the safest stock car ever.

So, who won? Follow the jump to find out.

[Source: NASCAR]
  • Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 DuPont Chevrolet, leads Kasey Kahne, driver of the #9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge, Elliott Sadler, driver of the #19 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodger, and Tony Stewart, driver of the #20 The Home Depot Chevrolet, to the green flag for the start the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway on March 25, 2007 in Bristol, Tennessee.
  • Image Credit: (Photo by Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)
  • Kasey Kahne, driver of the #9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge, pits his car during the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway on March 25, 2007 in Bristol, Tennessee.
  • Image Credit: (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)
  • Dale Jarrett, driver of the #44 UPS Toyota, crashes during the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway on March 25, 2007 in Bristol, Tennessee.
  • Image Credit: (Photo by John Harrelson/Getty Images for NASCAR)
  • Tony Stewart, driver of the #20 The Home Depot Chevrolet, pushes Bobby Labonte, driver of the #43 Betty Crocker Dodge, during the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway on March 25, 2007 in Bristol, Tennessee.
  • Image Credit: (Photo by Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)
  • Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 DuPont Chevrolet, leads Kasey Kahne, driver of the #9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge, and others, during the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway on March 25, 2007 in Bristol, Tennessee.
  • Image Credit: (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images for NASCAR)
  • Tony Stewart, driver of the #20 The Home Depot Chevrolet, leads Kasey Kahne, driver of the #9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge, and others during the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway on March 25, 2007 in Bristol, Tennessee.
  • Image Credit: (Photo by Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)
  • Kyle Busch, driver of the #5 Carquest Chevrolet, leads Regan Smith, driver of the #01 U.S. Army Chevrolet, during the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway on March 25, 2007 in Bristol, Tennessee.
  • Image Credit: (Photo by Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)
  • Kyle Busch, driver of the #5 Carquest/Kellogg's Chevrolet, crosses the finish line ahead of Jeff Burton, driver of the #31 Cingular Chevrolet, to win the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway on March 25, 2007 in Bristol, Tennessee. Busch became the first to win a race in the new Car of Tomorrow which was developed to be safer than previous models of vehicles used in stock car racing.
  • Image Credit: (Photo by Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)
  • Kyle Busch, driver of the #5 Carquest/Kellogg's Chevrolet, does a burnout after winning the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway on March 25, 2007 in Bristol, Tennessee. Busch became the first to win a race in the new Car of Tomorrow which was developed to be safer than previous models of vehicles used in stock car racing.
  • Image Credit: (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images for NASCAR)
  • Kyle Busch, driver of the #5 Carquest/Kellogg's Chevrolet, celebrates after winning the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway on March 25, 2007 in Bristol, Tennessee. Busch became the first to win a race in the new Car of Tomorrow which was developed to be safer than previous models of vehicles used in stock car racing.
  • Image Credit: (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
  • Kyle Busch, driver of the #5 Carquest/Kellogg's Chevrolet, celebrates in victory lane with his team after winning the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway on March 25, 2007 in Bristol, Tennessee. Busch became the first to win a race in the new Car of Tomorrow which was developed to be safer than previous models of vehicles used in stock car racing.
  • Image Credit: (Photo by Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)


Since NASCAR is like the NBA in that you can get away with watching the last few minutes and still catch the most important part of the event, I was able to check in late and still see some good stuff happen. (I had it on in the background all afternoon, but wasn't actively watching.) As the race was winding down, leader Denny Hamlin (#11) was trying to hold off Kyle Busch in the #5 Impala SS, but fate intervened.

Jimmie Johnson had blown a tire and was trying to stay low so that he could limp into pit lane. His car refused to cooperate, however, and he kept drifting up, creating a bit of a traffic jam as the rest of the pack worked to get safely around him. Busch capitalized, passing Hamlin on the outside just before the caution flag game out. This was with around 16 laps to go. While under caution, Jeff Gordon and Jeff Burton both pitted and took on fresh tires. When the green flag came back out with 9 or 10 laps to go, they were both on fire, charging up the field, ultimately taking 2nd (Gordon) and 3rd position (Burton). There was real juice to the racing, as Burton and Gordon were battling each other very hard as they tried to catch Busch.

Then the #6 car hit the wall with 3 laps to go, bringing out the yellow once again. The race would go to overtime, with a Green - White -Checkered flag finish after the restart.

Once the #6 was cleared and the race kicked off again, Burton immediately overtook Gordon for the #2 spot and was on Kyle Bush's case. This set up a wild finish with Bristol being a short track and laps vanishing almost instantly. Coming out of the final turn, Burton and Busch were side-by-side running flat-out for the checkered flag. Busch took it by around half a car length, and I found myself thinking, "You know, maybe this NASCAR thing isn't so bad after all."

If you just watch the last 20 minutes, that is.


Click image for photo gallery


I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.


    • 1 Second Ago
  • Share This Photo X