Charlotte II: Petty Enterprises race report

Jeff Burton propelled himself into the thick of the 'Chase for the Sprint Cup' by scoring his second victory of the 2008 season in the Bank of America 500 at Lowe's Motor Speedway on Saturday night. Burton had to hold off Kasey Kahne, who was ...

Jeff Burton propelled himself into the thick of the 'Chase for the Sprint Cup' by scoring his second victory of the 2008 season in the Bank of America 500 at Lowe's Motor Speedway on Saturday night. Burton had to hold off Kasey Kahne, who was looking to sweep every race at Lowe's this season, at the end.

The 'Chase for the Sprint Cup' appears to be down to a three-man race. Less than 100 points separate the top-three of Jimmie Johnson, Burton and Greg Biffle.

Bobby Labonte brought his No. 43 Cheerios/Let's Pink Together Dodge home in the 17th position on Saturday night. Labonte began the race from the 20th position due to rain canceling qualifying on Thursday. Despite a car that was 'loose' in and 'tight' off, he was able to drive his way inside the top-15 by lap 50. Crew chief Jeff Meendering made several air pressure and chassis adjustments to keep the car suitable for Labonte, who used the 'high' line around the 1.5-mile track to pass the third-most cars of the 43 drivers in the field. On lap 155, Labonte was turning laps as fast as the leader of the race. He was knocking on the door of the top-10 when, on lap 205, he was hit in the left rear by another competitor and sent through the infield grass. While the damage was minor, the No. 43 Dodge was not the same after the spin. The car was 'loose' at both ends of the track. However, Labonte was still one of the fastest cars on the track at the end of the race.

"Sometimes you have those days where your car was better than where you finished," said Labonte. "That's what happened to us today. The chassis was off a little at the start, but Jeff made the right adjustments and we were fast there in the middle of the race. I don't know if there was fluid on the track when we got spun, but there were a lot of cars that were sliding around at that point. We don't know if something was broken or bent after that. It just wasn't the same car."

Chad McCumbee finished 34th in his first career Sprint Cup Series start at the Lowe's Motor Speedway. When the green flag fell, McCumbee radioed to crew chief Stewart Cooper that the car was 'loose' everywhere. The team fought that condition all weekend, but Cooper made several adjustments that improved the handling of the car during the early portions of the race. On lap 194, McCumbee was forced through the infield grass to avoid a multi-car wreck. In the process the front splitter was knocked off the car and the team had to go to the garage area to fix the damage. The team made the repairs to allow McCumbee to take the checkered flag.

"Our car was better when we were a little 'snug," said McCumbee. "Our lap times weren't very good when we were 'loose.' We came in and made a lot of big adjustments and the car responded pretty well to them. We were trying to work our way into position for the 'Lucky Dog' award when that wreck happened right in front of me. I had no where to go except through the grass and that did a lot of damage to the front end."

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will head to the Martinsville (Va.) Speedway for this weekend's Tums Quikpak 500. Friday's qualifying session will be telecast on ESPN2. It will be broadcast on the Motor Racing Network (MRN) and Sirius Channel 128.

-credit: pe

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About this article
Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeff Burton , Bobby Labonte , Greg Biffle , Kasey Kahne , Chad McCumbee