Contact between teammates Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt Jr. as they battled for fifth place cut down the left-rear tire on Gordon's Chevrolet, sending the five-time Bristol winner backing hard into the wall in turn three. Gordon could not get his car back to the garage and will require a tow and heavy repairs if he is to return before the conclusion of this afternoon's race.
Matt Kenseth held the lead at the caution flag, but not without controversy. His car barely nipped Brad Keselowski at the restart. The second-place driver is not supposed to beat the leader to the start finish line, but Keselowski edged back past in turn one. The pair banged doors in the fourth turn, allowing Kenseth to pull ahead to the lead.
Keselowski, who won in August, has had one of the two cars to lead substantial laps today. Brian Vickers has led a career-high 125 laps in his return to the Cup Series after not racing since the end of last season.
With 130 laps remaining, the top-10 drivers are Kenseth, Keselowski, Clint Bowyer, Jeff Burton, Earnhardt, Vickers, Jimmie Johnson, polesitter Greg Biffle, Juan Pablo Montoya, and Paul Menard.