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Jeff Burton wins Bank of America 500 at Lowe's

by Pete McCole
Saturday, October 11, 2008

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Jeff Burton at Lowe's

Jeff Burton made it known Saturday night that he is a legitimate threat to win the 2008 NASCAR Sprint Cup, winning the Bank of America 500 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in the halfway event in the Chase for the Sprint Cup.

After flying under the radar for the first four races of the 10-race Chase, Burton and his team staked their claim to the title utilizing an unorthodox pit strategy to get Burton up front, gambling on three fuel-only pit stops including the final pit stop with 34 laps to go.

The strategy paid off, giving Burton his second victory of the season and moving him from fourth to second in the championship standings, 69 points behind series leader Jimmie Johnson.

“This is an awesome race track, turning in to victory lane here is just an incredible feeling,” said Burton. “Getting out in front, that was a great call. Scott Miller (crew chief) won this race for us. I’m sure a lot of people were saying ‘What in the world?’ and I will be honest, I was too. He made a great call.

“We’re racing for wins, but we have the championship in the back of our mind all the time. We were kind of laying it out there and seeing what we could make happen.”

The victory was 21st of Burton’s career, and his first Chase victory since 2006, when he led the points standings for the first four weeks before falling to finish out the year in seventh.

This year, Burton and his team are hoping for a better outcome.

“Obviously goal number one to take one week at a time,” said Burton. “We certainly want to put ourselves in a position to win a championship. It’s going to be a battle, there’s still five races to go, still a lot of racing left to go. It’s not done yet.”

Kasey Kahne finished second, followed by Kurt Busch, Kyle Busch and Jamie McMurray.

Burton led two times for 58 laps, leading the field off pit road after taking only fuel in the final round of stops on lap 300.

Johnson came out second and immediately challenged Burton for the top spot, running side by side for six laps before Burton charged back to the front and began to pull away. Johnson continued to fell back in the field, winding with a sixth-place finish. 

Kahne, looking to pull off the season sweep at Lowe’s after winning the NASCAR All-Star race and the Coca-Cola 600 here last May, restarted third after the last round of pit stops and slipped past Johnson to move into second but came up short of the trifecta, finishing nearly a second behind Burton.

“I tried catching (Burton), but came up a little bit short,” said Kahne. “We battled the car all night. We got up towards the front, the car was pretty good, I was just real loose into the corner. I’m glad to finish where we did.

“It was a fun race, We had a nice try to catch the 31 – he was fast. We tried; we just didn’t get to him.”

For Kyle Busch, Saturday’s fourth-place finish was his highest finish thus far in the Chase.

Having led the points standings for 20 of the 26 weeks leading into the Chase, Busch’s averaged just a 30th-place finish in the first four races, dropping him 11th place in the standings and virtually out of the championship picture.

“It’s good to know that we finally ran well again on a mile-and-a-half,” said Busch. “We’ve got a few more of these tracks coming up here. We’ve got to get through Martinsville and keep going from there.”

However, much like the previous week’s event at Talladega, Saturday night’s race proved disastrous for several of the Chase contenders.

Having coming into Saturday night’s event second points behind Johnson in the championship points standings, Carl Edward fell victim to engine woes early on, eventually getting back on track to finish 33rd, 17 laps down.

Already embroiled in controversy after triggering last weeks big crash which later resulted in a garage tussle with Kevin Harvick earlier this week, Edwards tumbled two spots to fourth in the series points standings.

“Today’s race didn’t help at all,” said Edwards of points battle. “There’s only one thing to do and that’s to learn from everything this week. I guarantee you that if I had the week to do over again, the last seven days would be a lot different.”

Chase contenders dale Earnhardt Jr. and Matt Kenseth, both taken out in a crash last week, both wound up in the garage after separate crashes on Saturday.

Among the drivers who failed to finish the event were Kenseth, A.J. Allmendinger, Travis Kvapil, and Juan Pablo Montoya.

Results

FIN

ST CAR DRIVER MAKE SPONSOR PTS/BNS LAPS STATUS
1 4 31 Jeff Burton Chevrolet AT&T Mobility 190/5 334 Running
2 15 9 Kasey Kahne Dodge Budweiser 170/0 334 Running
3 19 2 Kurt Busch Dodge Miller Lite 165/0 334 Running
4 11 18 Kyle Busch Toyota M&M's / Susan G Komen for the Cure 165/5 334 Running
5 21 26 Jamie McMurray Ford Crown Royal 155/0 334 Running
6 1 48 Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet Lowe's 160/10 334 Running
7 3 16 Greg Biffle Ford 3M 151/5 334 Running
8 8 24 Jeff Gordon Chevrolet DuPont 147/5 334 Running
9 14 8 Mark Martin Chevrolet U.S. Army 138/0 334 Running
10 13 6 David Ragan Ford AAA Insurance 139/5 334 Running
11 7 20 Tony Stewart Toyota The Home Depot 135/5 334 Running
12 5 07 Clint Bowyer Chevrolet Jack Daniel's 127/0 334 Running
13 6 29 Kevin Harvick Chevrolet Shell / Pennzoil "Driven to the Outdoors" 124/0 334 Running
14 18 1 Martin Truex Jr. Chevrolet Bass Pro Shops / Tracker 126/5 334 Running
15 30 41 Reed Sorenson Dodge Target 123/5 334 Running
16 12 11 Denny Hamlin Toyota FedEx Office 115/0 334 Running
17 20 43 Bobby Labonte Dodge Cheerios Racing / Let's Pink Together 112/0 332 Running
18 17 83 Brian Vickers Toyota Red Bull 114/5 332 Running
19 33 66 Scott Riggs Chevrolet State Water Heaters 106/0 332 Running
20 22 19 Elliott Sadler Dodge Stanley / Susan G Komen for the Cure 103/0 332 Running
21 16 12 Ryan Newman Dodge Alltel 105/5 332 Running
22 36 77 Sam Hornish Jr. * Dodge Mobil 1 97/0 331 Running
23 29 01 Regan Smith * Chevrolet DEI / Principal Financial Group 94/0 331 Running
24 31 55 Michael Waltrip Toyota NAPA AUTO PARTS 96/5 331 Running
25 28 38 David Gilliland Ford Ford. Drive one. 88/0 331 Running
26 27 15 Paul Menard Chevrolet Moen / Menards 85/0 330 Running
27 32 22 Dave Blaney Toyota Caterpillar 82/0 330 Running
28 37 21 Bill Elliott Ford U.S. Air Force 79/0 329 Running
29 23 5 Casey Mears Chevrolet Pop-Tarts / CARQUEST 76/0 329 Running
30 35 7 Robby Gordon Dodge Menards 78/5 327 Running
31 40 10 Mike Wallace Dodge Charter Comm. 70/0 325 Running
32 26 44 David Reutimann Toyota UPS 72/5 320 Running
33 2 99 Carl Edwards Ford Aflac 64/0 316 Running
34 24 42 Juan Montoya Dodge Juicy Fruit Slim Pack 61/0 296 In Pit
35 41 45 Chad McCumbee Dodge Marathon American Spirit Motor Oil 58/0 295 Running
36 10 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Chevrolet AMP Energy / National Guard 55/0 288 Running
37 42 78 Joe Nemechek Chevrolet Furniture Row/ DenverMattress.com 52/0 277 Running
38 39 96 Ken Schrader Toyota DLP HDTV 49/0 254 Running
39 34 84 Mike Skinner Toyota Red Bull 46/0 253 Running
40 43 70 Tony Raines Chevrolet Hunt Brothers Pizza 43/0 203 In Pit
41 9 17 Matt Kenseth Ford Carhartt 45/5 194 Running
42 25 28 Travis Kvapil Ford Hitachi Power Tools 37/0 194 Running
43 38 00 A.J. Allmendinger Toyota Champion Mortgage 39/5 52 In Pit

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