Tony Stewart was challenged a few times at New Hampshire International Speedway but, in the end, the No. 20 Chevy staved off all challengers, and Stewart scored his third win of the season. Stewart was unmatched all afternoon, but late in the...
Tony Stewart was challenged a few times at New Hampshire International Speedway but, in the end, the No. 20 Chevy staved off all challengers, and Stewart scored his third win of the season.
Stewart was unmatched all afternoon, but late in the race his pce fell off a bit allowing the Busch brothers, Kurt and Kyle, to gang up on him for the lead. The elder Busch got past Stewart briefly, but Stewart would not be denied his 22nd career win.
Stewart took the time to celebrate his win, by using his new signature 'bit' developed in Daytona: After winning the race, he parked his Chevy, climbed to the top of the flagstand and commandeered the checkered flag. He then waved it proudly at the fans before returning to his ride for a triumphant burn-out.
"We are going back to basics with testing and with everything," said Stewart of his hot streak. "There is so much stress and so much pressure to perform in this series. So, we have just taken things back to basics. We all just sat down and said we started doing this because it was fun.that has been the biggest change."
"Our attitude has changed and that has made all the difference."
Kurt Busch settled for second. He was the victim of an early spin but worked hard all day to get the No. 97 Ford back to the front.
"Tony was tough," said Busch. "It was real hard to hang with him at the front.I'm real proud of the effort. It's a race leading up too the Chase. We have to go and we need consistent finished, so I am happy. We'll go with this one."
"It was a really good race for us. The Kellogg's Chevrolet was good all day. We were able to get out there and get into some clean air and stay out front. Track position was pretty easy to keep."
Bobby Labonte claimed just his second top-three of the season, with third.
"We qualified 10th but we had a little problem on the restarts we were a little bit loose," said Labonte. "It was hard to get caught back up.but it was a great run for us. We had a lot of stuff go on this year that was out of our control. We finished third and that should be good for the points.
"Hopefully, it will give us a little bit of momentum."
Kyle Busch and Greg Biffle completed the top five.
"This is it right here," said Biffle when asked if his run was indicative of a championship team. "I tell you what; I really need to give thanks to my teammate Kurt Busch. He gave me some pointers about this race track and it helped me out some."
Accidents and bad luck plagued championship contenders during the New England 300. Jamie McMurray dropped three places in standings to 11th after Matt Kenseth spun the No. 42 Dodge early in the event.
Elliott Sadler also slid down the point's ladder after two separate incidents muddied his chances of a good finish. Sadler first made contact with Kasey Kahne on pit road while running in the top ten, knocking in his left fender. A second stop for repairs forced the No. 38 Ford to restart 34th.
He worked his way back up to the top ten but was bumped by Mark Martin and turned at lap 233; smacking the wall. The car had to be retired from the event.
Sadler falls from fifth to ninth overall in the standings.
Jeff Gordon's bad luck streak continues, and his point deficit continues to mount. The four time Champ is dangerously close to missing the championship playoffs altogether if this team cannot get it together.
Gordon was running in the top ten when he lost his brakes with just a handful of laps left. He finished 25th, and now sits 15th, 538 points shy of the leader.
Jimmie Johnson heads the 2005 Nextel Chase for the Championship. Greg Biffle (-77), Tony Stewart (-85), Rusty Wallace (-230), Kurt Busch (-325), Ryan Newman (-325), Mark Martin (-352), Jeremy Mayfield (-387), Elliott Sadler (-396) and Dale Jarrett (-418) complete the top ten.
There were 10 cautions for 49 laps and 14 lead changes among nine drivers.