Busch wins Loudon, Earnhardt has "Chase" lead

Kurt Busch wheeled the No. 97 Roush Ford to victory lane at New Hampshire. Busch checked out to a ten-car advantage on the field in the races closing laps to earn his eleventh career victory. "This car was awesome," said Busch. "It's an awesome...

Kurt Busch wheeled the No. 97 Roush Ford to victory lane at New Hampshire. Busch checked out to a ten-car advantage on the field in the races closing laps to earn his eleventh career victory.

"This car was awesome," said Busch. "It's an awesome show when you get to come up and back up the track that you ran so well at in July. For us to be able to do this, a lot has fallen into place.

"Week one is in the books. We've got a lot of work ahead of us; we know it's going to be strenuous."

Busch's victory ties him with Dale Earnhardt, Jr. for the lead in series standings, although he will be reflected in second place because series standards mandate that in the result of a tie in points the driver with the most wins takes the lead.

"It was a big heartbreak day for a lot of teams," said car owner Jack Roush. "So, we feel like we are very lucky."

It is Busch's third win of the season; he also won the July event at Loudon and the spring Bristol race.

Busch took the lead on lap 135 and was clearly the class of the field. He lost the lead twice as different strategies played out, but retook the lead for the last time on lap 265 and quickly checked out to a 1.1-second advantage over the second place car of Matt Kenseth.

"Real happy to run second and get a good start to the Chase," commented Kenseth. "I knew we probably weren't going to catch him (Busch). Kurt had a great car today and he was really going through the center of the corner really fast. I just couldn't get in like he did, so I tried to keep up with him as long as I could."

Dale Earnhardt, Jr. scored his 13th top five finish of the year with his third place result and matched Busch to get the co-lead in series points.

"The people I was around today raced me with more respect than what I normally get," said Earnhardt of the first race of the Chase. "Some of those guys out there know who is in the Chase and who isn't and give you respect for that, and some guys don't. It's different from car to car."

Kasey Kahne and Jamie McMurray complete the top five.

"It was real close," said Kahne. "It was the best it had been at the end. We've been racing Jamie McMurray and Mark Martin the last five races. Mark got in the top ten, so he'll be racing for the championship and me and Jamie will be racing for 11th."

Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and Kurt Busch tie series standings with 5210 points. Jeff Gordon (-9), Matt Kenseth (-10), Jimmie Johnson (-30), Elliott Sadler (-38), Mark Martin (-71), Tony Stewart (-124), Ryan Newman (-136) and Jeremy Mayfield (- 142) complete the top ten in the NEXTEL championship hunt.

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About this article
Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Jeff Gordon , Matt Kenseth , Jeremy Mayfield , Tony Stewart , Kurt Busch , Ryan Newman , Jimmie Johnson , Jamie McMurray , Kasey Kahne , Elliott Sadler , Mark Martin