Lap 300 of 300
LOUDON, N.H. -- Tony Stewart, who fell out of the lead when he ran out of gas here a year ago, went to the front when race leader Clint Bowyer, last year's benefactor of Stewart's hard luck, ran out of gas with two laps to go. It enabled Stewart to win back-to-back races in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship with his triumph in the Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
Bowyer wound up finishing 26th, the first driver one lap down.
``I know exactly how he feels,'' Stewart said of Bowyer. ``It's a tough way to win it.''
Stewart vaulted into the Chase points lead after his victory in Monday's rain-delayed Geico 400 at Chicagoland Speedway to become the second driver in Chase history to win the first two events of the 10-race playoff.
The victory enabled Stewart's race team, Stewart-Haas Racing, to sweep the NASCAR events at NHMS after Ryan Newman won the Lenox Industrial Tools 301 in July.
Stewart finished ahead of runner-up Brad Keselowski and third-place finisher Greg Biffle, fourth-place Jeff Gordon and fifth-place Brian Vickers.
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Ten laps to go. Bowyer stays in the lead.
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Kahne pits for right-side tires and fuel. Drops from 5th to 23d, one lap down.
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Twenty-five to go. Bowyer still in the lead.
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Bowyer, it appears, is trying to stretch out his fuel to the finish. Stewart and Gordon have already pitted and are good to go to the finish. The race may come down to them if Bowyer runs out. Gordon has had to drop back to fifth after crew chief Alan Gustafson informed him of a pit road snafu with the gas can exchange that left him a little shy of fuel. So now he is trying to save gas as well.
The top 5: 1. Bowyer, 2. Stewart, 3. Kahne, 4. Biffle, 5. Gordon.
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Fifty laps to go. Clint Bowyer is the leader, but Tony Stewart and Jeff Gordon are hard on his bumper.
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Kasey Kahne goes to the lead after Busch pits for 4 tires and fuel on Lap 246. Busch drops back to 26th, one-lap down.
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Kurt Busch, whose car failed pre-race inspection, is now in the lead.
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Earnhardt has flat tire, drops from sixth to 29th when he pits for a right front tire and fuel.
Race leader Gordon also pits for tires and fuel on Lap 230. He drops back to 19th.
Brad Keselowski, who inherited the lead, also pitted under green on Lap 231. He falls back to 21st.
Brian Vickers has cycled to the front as the race leader on Lap 235.
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Gordon has now led 49 laps in this race. Strong showing by the 24 after they stumbled out of the blocks in the Chase opener at Chicagoland Speedway and finished 24th in the rain-delayed Geico 400 last Monday.
Lap 178 of 300, Restart
Gordon reassumes the lead. Kahne running second. Brad Keselowski, running seventh, is the next highest-running Chaser on the track.
Lap 173 of 300, Caution No. 3
Carl Edwards gets into the rear of Roush Fenway teammate Matt Kenseth in Turn 2 and causes Kenseth to spin. An apologetic Edwards to crew chief Bob Osborne: "Relay to him [Kenseth] that I was truly doing everything to stop.''
The top four drivers on the lead lap -- Gordon, Kahne, Ragan and Martin -- all stayed out on the track as the rest of the field pitted under caution.
Relay to him that I was truly doing everything to stop
Lap 163 of 300, Restart
Gordon is the new leader.
Lap 157 of 300, Caution No. 2
Landon Cassill brushes the wall in Turn 2, deflates right front tire.
Race leader Jeff Gordon pits on Lap 157. Kasey Kahne has now taken the lead over Gordon.
The top 5 with 160 laps complete: 1. Kahne, 2. Gordon, 3. David Ragan, 4. Mark Martin, 5. Kevin Harvick.
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Kasey Kahne passed Mark Martin in Turn 1 to take the lead.
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Martin refuses to pull over for Kahne and continues to lead the race.
Five Chase contenders are among the top 10: Gordon (3d), Newman (4th), Harvick (5th), Jimmie Johnson (remember him? 7th), and Kyle Busch (10th).
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Kasey Kahne is stalking Mark Martin. Interesting dynamic at work here, because Kahne will be leaving the Red Bull Racing No. 4 car next year to fill the seat in Martin's No. 5 car at Hendrick Motorsports.
The top 5: 1. Martin, 2. Kahne, 3. Ryan Newman, 4. Jeff Gordon, 5. Kevin Harvick.
Lap 92 of 300, Restart
Mark Martin takes the green in the lead and runs away with it. He has now built a 1.4-second lead over JPM with 95 laps complete. Ryan Newman is running third. Junior is now running 8th.
The top 5: 1. Martin, 2. Montoya, 3. Newman, 4. Gordon, 5. Kevin Harvick.
Lap 89 of 300
Mark Martin and Juan Pablo Montoya stayed out on the track when the field pitted under caution. Martin is being listed as the new leader. Montoya in 2d.
Lap 87 of 300, Caution No. 1
Debris brings out the first caution. David Ragan, driver of the No. 6 Roush Fenway Racing car owned by Red Sox owner John Henry, is the beneficiary of the Lucky Dog.
Field comes into pits.
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Kahne continues to set the pace at the front of the pack.
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Kasey Kahne remains the leader. Jeff Gordon, the highest-running driver among the Chase contenders, is running second. There are now seven cars running one lap down, and eight (start-and-park) cars out of the race: 43d, Travis Kvapil (10 laps completed), 42d, Casey Mears (19 laps), 41st, Scott Speed (23 laps), 40th, Robby Gordon (28 laps), 39th, Josh Wise (28 laps), 38th, David Stremme (32 laps), 37th, Michael McDowell (35 laps), and 36th, Joe Nemechek (38 laps).
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Leader Ryan Newman in pits for 4 tires and fuel. Gordon pits one lap later. Regan Smith cycles to the lead, but pits on Lap 66 and hands lead to Kasey Kahne.
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Newman, Kahne and Gordon have gained some separation at the front of the lead pack, building a 2.3-second lead over the fourth-place car of Vickers.
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The top 5: 1. Newman, 2. Kahne, 3. Gordon, 4. Vickers, 5. Biffle.
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Newman continues to lead the Sylvania 300. It's sunny and track temperatures are considerably hotter than Saturday's final practice session. The top 5: 1. Newman, 2. Kahne, 3. Gordon, 4. Vickers, 5. Biffle. Note: Dale Earnhardt Jr., who started 12th, is running among the top 10 in ninth.
Lap 5 of 300
Pole-sitter Ryan Newman has set the early pace. The top 5: 1. Newman, 2. Brian Vickers, 3. Kasey Kahne, 4. Jeff Gordon, 5. Greg Biffle.
Kurt Busch was livid when he went through driver introductions for the Sylvania 300, stood for the Canadian AND the U.S. national anthems and there was still no sign of his No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Dodge on the starting grid.
Evidently, it was late getting through pre-race technical inspection. It didn't roll out onto pit road until Natalie Turgeon sang the final strains of ``...and the home of the ... braaaave!.''
Naturally, Busch was not pleased. He shoved an ESPN camera and snarled, ``Get the [expletive] out of the way!''
NASCAR president Mike Helton was spotted before the race chatting with car owner Roger Penske on the roof of race control, where Penske was monitoring the race from the spotter's crow's nest.
Presumably, Helton sought out Penske to inform him the 22 was not in compliance with pre-race inspection variances and that's the reason it was late to the grid.