Title contenders are baffled by Biffle's victory
Darkness finally ended the disaster at Kansas Speedway, where the Chase for the championship field imploded and the finish of yesterday's event was in question long after winner Greg Biffle crossed the finish line.
Biffle scored his first win of the season by winning a race that was stopped twice for rain delays, was shortened 85 miles because of darkness, ended under caution, and saw six Chase drivers finish 29th or worse.
And when Biffle's sputtering car slowed before the finish line, title contenders Clint Bowyer and Jimmie Johnson passed him and both believed they finished ahead of him.
"I don't know what happened, [he] didn't cross it the way I thought you were supposed to," said Kansas native Bowyer, who had to settle for second place on his homestate track in Kansas City, Kan.
"I know they're not going to pull him out of Victory Lane."
Johnson, who finished third to reclaim the points lead, said Biffle wasn't the winner.
"The biggest question mark right now is what goes on with [Biffle]," he said. "He clearly ran out of gas and I feel terrible for those guys. But if you can't maintain pace car speed, then the guys that can finished ahead of you."
But Biffle, who ended a 28-race winless streak with the victory, angrily dismissed their criticism.
"Their opinion really doesn't count, as far as I'm concerned," he said. "They're probably thinking, 'Oh, it ran out of gas, I coasted across the line, everybody went by me, I went into the grass and then they pushed it to Victory Lane.'
"That's not the case. The car runs right now . . . you can go and start it. [NASCAR] told me not to start it. I was unbuckling, and trying to save my gas, because I knew the race is over. The field's frozen. The caution's out. And I didn't know they were going to go by me. So should I have bumped the clutch again, gave it a little more juice, so nobody would roll past me coming to the stripe?"
NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston said Biffle was the winner because the race ended under caution, the field was frozen, and passing is not allowed under caution.
It made for a confusing finish.
Rain caused two delays totaling almost three hours.
Kyle Busch was wrecked early by Dale Earnhardt Jr., the driver who got him fired from Hendrick Motorsports.
When the dust finally settled, the points standings had been blown open for a Chase field that entered the event with the top six drivers separated by just 28 points.
Johnson has a six-point lead over teammate Jeff Gordon, and Bowyer is in third, 14 points out.
Tony Stewart, who started the day just two points out of the lead, finished 39th and dropped to fourth - 117 points behind Johnson.
Kevin Harvick finished sixth to jump four spots in the standings to fifth, 126 points out.
Formula One - Lewis Hamilton won the Japanese Grand Prix in Oyama, giving him a 12-point lead in the drivers standings over Fernando Alonso, who crashed out of the race. Heikki Kovalainen was second, and Kimi Raikkonen finished third.
Hamilton could become the first rookie to win the world title if he finishes with at least an 11-point lead over Alonso next week in China.