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NASCAR At Bristol: First Caution Flies At Lap Nine

Beloved Sprint Cup veteran Kenny Schrader's night is over after just nine laps in the Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway. Schrader, at the wheel of Frank Stoddard's No. 32 Ford, was bumped on the backstretch by Jason Leffler and sent spinning across the track before going up the hill and nosing into the turn three wall hard.

Polesitter Casey Mears had led every lap thus far, and in doing so had demonstrated the likely theme of the night. After the track grounded the top groove of the race track in an effort to make the racing tighter, the middle lane in the corners is clearly the better lane. Mears managed to hold off Brad Keselowski - likely to contend for the win tonight - and then Joey Logano who won last night's Food City 250 Nationwide Series race by running the higher lane and carrying his momentum off the corner better than his rivals.

Mears led the way after nine laps, ahead of Logano, Aric Almirola, Keselowski, and Sprint Cup point leader Greg Biffle.

Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.