Charlotte II: Goodyear Racing race report

Winner: Kasey Kahne, driver of the ...

Winner: Kasey Kahne, driver of the #9 Dodge from Evernham Motorsports

Top-five finishers: Kahne, Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Burton, Dale Earnhardt Jr., and Kyle Busch.

Race recap: At the halfway point in Nextel Cup's 10-race Chase competition, Jeff Burton lengthened his points lead on Saturday night, even as Kasey Kahne took his sixth victory of the season.

Kahne led a race-high 134 laps and has swept both races at the track his year. He took the lead with 26 laps remaining and finished 1.624 seconds ahead of Jimmie Johnson after averaging 132.142 mph on the night. Lots of action up front saw 34 lead changes among 13 drivers, and the caution flag flew 10 times for 52 laps.

Burton managed to pad his points lead with his third place race finish even after losing precious seconds in the pit, 91 laps from the finish, when his car stalled and had to be pushed out by his crew.

With just five Chase races remaining as the series heads to Martinsville (Va.) Speedway next weekend, the points shake out this way: trailing behind leader Burton are Matt Kenseth -45; Kevin Harvick -89; Mark Martin -102; Dale Earnhardt Jr. -106; Denny Hamlin -137; Johnson -146; Kahne --160; Kyle Busch -195 and Jeff Gordon -216.

Goodyear quote from Stu Grant, general manager of global race tires: "We saw good green-flag runs during which some drivers pitted for fuel and opted for just two or no tires. Our Eagle tire performance was excellent in both races this weekend at Lowe's."

Companion race: Cold night-race temperatures on Friday the 13th did little to cool the hot action in the Busch Series' Dollar General 300 at Lowe's, as 12 cautions for 56 laps and three red-flag stoppages preceded Dave Blaney's first career Busch victory.

The race finished under caution with Michael Waltrip, Stacy Compton, Matt Kenseth and Danny O'Quinn Jr. following Blaney across the line in an overtime 203-lap event. Race speed averaged 106.999 mph, and eight drivers changed the lead 11 times. The major melee came at mid race as nine cars tangled on the frontstretch. The final red flag with 10 laps to go was needed to sort out driver position.

Kevin Harvick clinched the series championship for the second time when he finished in ninth place, after Carl Edwards and Casey Mears took each other out while running in front at lap 199, then when Kenseth spun on the final turn at lap 203, Blaney zapped by to victory.

-credit: goodyear racing

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Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Dale Earnhardt Jr. , Jeff Burton , Jeff Gordon , Matt Kenseth , Michael Waltrip , Kevin Harvick , Casey Mears , Jimmie Johnson , Kasey Kahne , Carl Edwards , Denny Hamlin , Dave Blaney , Danny O'Quinn , Kyle Busch , Mark Martin