At one quarter distance of the Aaron’s 499, Richard Childress Racing teammates Jeff Burton and Clint Bowyer held the top spot. The two car tandem, however, has created an ever-changing picture at the front of the field.
The drivers have been averaging a lead change every other lap. Clint Bowyer and Jeff Gordon have both led a handful of laps, but no other driver has led more than five laps today. To the contrary, there have already been 16 different leaders and 25 lead changes. The all-time record for lead changes, 88, was set in this race a year ago.
The race’s first accident occured on lap 28 when Kurt Busch turned Landon Cassill sideways. Cassill hit Brian Vickers, turning Vickers into the outside wall. Vickers’ car was damaged significantly and sent to the garage, while Cassill required repairs to his Chevrolet and fell off the lead lap.
Early exits from the race were start and park teams Joe Nemechek, Steve Park, and Kevin Conway.