A fuel only pit stop for Kyle Busch proved to be the winning strategy in the Lenox 300 at New Hampshire International Speedway. Busch first got the lead on lap 195 but a series of quick yellows slowed Busch's charge. The No. 5 Hendrick Chevrolet...
A fuel only pit stop for Kyle Busch proved to be the winning strategy in the Lenox 300 at New Hampshire International Speedway. Busch first got the lead on lap 195 but a series of quick yellows slowed Busch's charge.
The No. 5 Hendrick Chevrolet team chose to give up the lead and take just gas on lap 211, but that stop allowed Busch to have enough juice to stay out front and grab his third career win.
"I asked Alan (Gustafson, crew chief) when we came in on that last stop and was wondering if we had enough fuel to get to the end if there was overtime and he said I was fine, then he told me to save gas," said Busch. "So, I didn't know what to think.
"But, man I want to thank all these guys. They didn't have to sweat as much today as they did the last two days preparing this thing. They did an awesome job for me."
Carl Edwards was a winner in the gas game as well, as overtime slowed many of the lead cars at the end allowing him to charge through for second.
"It was fun to say the least," said Edwards who also won Saturday's Busch race at NHIS. "Who'd of thought we'd run second in a Cup race here at New Hampshire. We never run good here."
Greg Biffle was third, "I burned my right front tire off and hurt my brake pads trying to pass Denny Hamlin. We got three-wide on the restart, you know, lapped cars play a factor here. I got trapped, he trapped me down there and I had to go to the bottom. It's unfortunate, I had a really good race car and I kind of burned my right front tire up messing with him, then fell back some. We came back at the end. I just took care of the throttle and fuel mileage came around for us."
Mark Martin and Kevin Harvick complete the top five.
"We had a really good handling car," said Martin. "It wasn't the fastest out there but it was good enough that we could skip tires. Sometimes you can't have it all, but if you can just have the handling. We took just gas the last two stops so we were at a disadvantage with tires."
Ryan Newman brought the field to the green flag and led until lap 11 when Brian Vickers slid by for the lead. The first caution fell at lap 19 when Travis Kvapil smacked the wall; Newman grabbed the lead back after service stops and held onto it until lap 26 when Jeff Burton passed for the top spot.
Burton remained out front until lap 63 when Tony Stewart wheeled past. Stewart was still leading on lap 91 when Newman (who was a lap down) slid up and took out the No. 20 Chevy.
Vickers led on the restart but the yellow quickly emerged again, when Newman lost the No. 12 Dodge again collecting Ken Schrader, Kasey Kahne and Jeff Gordon. Vickers was still in the lead on the restart at lap 100 but the yellow waved a lap later when Bobby Labonte's Dodge made a single car spin, slowing the field for the fourth time.
The No. 25 Hendrick Chevy led the way on the restart at lap 106. Kyle Busch passed to take away the lead for a couple of laps, but Vickers easily motored back by on lap 109. The fifth caution fell on lap 115 for debris, on that same lap Stewart returned the No. 20 to the racetrack after lengthy repairs. After pit stops, Reed Sorenson took the lead. Sorenson remained out front until 153 when Biffle stuck the No. 16 Ford out front. Green flag pit stops began on lap 180 with about half the field having pitted when a caution fell on lap 188 after Kenny Wallace hit the wall.
When all was said and done, Kyle Busch led on the restart at lap 195. The seventh caution came out on lap 200 when Joe Nemechek spun the No. 01 Chevy. The green went back in the air on lap 205 with the No. 5 Chevy of Busch leading the charge.
The eighth caution came at lap 210 when Jeff Green hit the wall bringing the leaders to pit road. Kyle Busch took fuel only but several cars stayed on the racetrack with Clint Bowyer leading on the restart on lap 214.
Bowyer was still out front when Kurt Busch and David Stremme made contact on lap 234. Bowyer led on the restart but Elliott Sadler stuck his nose in and took away the position. Sadler led five laps before Kyle Busch got past taking the lead.
Schrader made contact with Tony Raines on lap 267 bringing out the 10th caution. Busch led on the restart on lap 272 with Sadler close on his bumper, but unsure if the No. 38 Ford could go the distance on fuel.
As Sadler began to free fall through the field allowing Denny Hamlin and Sorenson by - Busch began to pull out to a 2-second advantage over the grid. Busch was ready to take the checkered flag when Bowyer, Kvapil and Vickers wrecked causing the 11th caution and a green/white/checker finish.
During the pace laps, Michael Waltrip and Kvapil got together causing heavy nose damage on the No. 55 Dodge and delaying the restart. Who could get to the end on fuel was the big question as the race restarted in overtime on lap 307.
Sadler was the first victim limping to pit road, Hamlin the second, as Kyle Busch pulled away to take his first win of the 2006 season.
Notably, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. suffered an engine failure and finished 43rd; point leader Jimmie Johnson was ninth.
Johnson continues to lead NASCAR Nextel Cup point standings Matt Kenseth (- 68), Jeff Burton (-311), Kyle Busch (-334), Mark Martin (-338), Kasey Kahne (-344), Dale Earnhardt, Jr. (-361), Kevin Harvick (-381), Jeff Gordon (- 447) and Greg Biffle (-447) complete the top ten.
Only the top 36 in points still have the mathematical possibility of making the Chase for the Nextel Cup, all others have been eliminated.
There were 11 cautions for 49 laps and 21 lead changes among 11 drivers.