"assess a tire rub" is very generous, as he literally yanked as hard as he could on the metal. I've never seen an official jump out of a pace car like that.it appeared the race was Sterling Marlin’s to lose. He led much of the last third of the event, surrendering the lead for a moment to Busch,. He paced the field unchallenged until Jimmie Johnson’s single-car accident on lap 175, after which Gordon quickly supplanted him at the point.
That’s when it got really interesting.
After several laps of intense three-wide racing for position, Robby Gordon slammed the Turn 2 wall with nine laps to go. The caution flew. The following restart resulted in yet another multi-car accident, one that included race-leader Gordon and second-place Marlin.
When the field stormed back to the start/finish line, Marlin barely edged a hard-charging Burton at the line. Some thought that would conclude the event, with Marlin in Victory Lane.
Instead, NASCAR threw the red flag to clean up the track, and as the cars screeched to a halt on the backstretch, Marlin hopped out of his ride to assess a tire rub he had developed in the accident.
That's a no-no by NASCAR’s standards. They sent Marlin to the rear of the pack. Now all Burton had to worry about was Gordon.
Or not. The defending series champion was penalized as well for pitting too early.