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Usually "HostnameLookups" is set to "Off" these days, but if it isn't, that will help (unless you need hostnames in your logs, of course).
I've run into similar problems like this before. Here's what I usually find:
* If you have a bit of load, all of the Apache processes/threads you have allotted for a given vhost (or the entire machine) are full. If you have the memory, you can bump that up by changing "MaxClients" and "ServerLimit" in your httpd.conf file. I'm not a RHEL guy, so it could be renamed to apache2.conf, or there could be a default module configuration for the mpm modules on that distro. Can a Red Hat or Fedora person help with locating the correct config locations and names for danieltoner?
* Your apache processes aren't getting recycled often enough by apache. This can be changed by changing the "MaxRequestsPerChild" directive in the same location as the previously mentioned directives
I hope this helps. Hopefully a Red Hat user will be able to chime in on the specific location(s) of the directives I mentioned.