2008 Dodge Challenger 500

2008 Dodge Challenger 500

The 2008 Dodge Challenger 500, the eleventh race on the NASCAR Sprint Cup season, was held on Saturday, May 10th at the fabled Darlington Speedway in Darlington, South Carolina. The race was televised in the USA on Fox starting at 7 PM US EDT with radio being handled on MRN on terrestrial radio and Sirius Satellite Radio. It was the first race on the newly repaved 1.366 mile track as "The Lady in Black" has gone under an extreme makeover akin to plastic surgery, with sppeds at Goodyear tire testing in March having cars clocked at or over 200 MPH.

The race also served as the last chance to qualify for Sprint All-Star Race XXIV to be held the following week at Lowe's Motor Speedway in Concord, North Carolina. Otherwise, those who have not won a race, a series championship or a previous All-Star race would have to qualify via the Sprint Showdown race as one of the top two finishers or through fan voting by being on the lead lap in the Showdown.

Pre-race news

*As Darlington is NASCAR's answer to Fenway Park or Wrigley Field, the two oldest baseball stadiums still in existence, three teams rolled out retro paint schemes for this race. Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s #88 Hendrick Motorsports team came to Darlington with a 1980s Mountain Dew paint scheme similar to one that Darrell Waltrip drove for Junior Johnson Racing while under their sponsorship, the Wood Brothers brought out their 1971 Mercury paint job for Bill Elliott on their #21 ride, made famous by David Pearson, and Yates Racing's #28 of Travis Kvapil sported a old school sponsorship for Fayetteville, North Carolina Ford dealer Lafayette Ford. In addition, the Joe Gibbs Racing #18 Toyota with current points leader Kyle Busch on board carried a special "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" M&Ms paint scheme.
*Back in the saddle for the #40 Chip Ganassi Racing Dodge was Sterling Marlin after Ken Schrader failed to make the Richmond race the previous week. Another change found Jeff Green replacing John Andretti in the #34 car, however they failed to qualify.
*In broadcast radio news, a settlement between Motor Racing Network and rival Performance Racing Network over broadcast rights concerning the Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series events at New Hampshire Motor Speedway were peacefully settled as Speedway Motorsports, Inc. bought the former New Hampshire International Speedway last year. MRN, owned by International Speedway Corporation, held broadcast rights to the NSCS and NNS races there, and PRN wished to broadcast those races as SMI bought the property. As a result, MRN will have the rights to June 29th's Lenox Industrial Tools 301 events, while PRN will take over radio broadcasting rights in time for the first race of the Chase for the Sprint Cup, the Sylvania 300 on September 14th. MRN retains the rights to the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at NHMS, as they hold the exclusive rights to that series.

Qualifying

Greg Biffle edged out Dale Earnhardt Jr. for the pole position.

Race

After getting a rousing chorus of booing from Earnhardt fans for what he did the previous week at Richmond, Kyle Busch quieted them down with his third win of the 2008 campaign.

Failed to Qualify: Johnny Sauter (#70), Jeff Green (#34).


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