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Sunday, September 14
New Hampshire Motor Speedway
Biffle Holds Off Johnson for Win at New Hampshire
LOUDON, N. H. (September 14, 2008) - Greg Biffle, a true, hard-charging stock car driver,
hasn't been talked about that much in the buzz leading up to NASCAR's
Sprint Cup Chase for the Championship. Some might say he was "The
Forgotten Man." Not anymore. Biffle won Sunday.
He made the top 12 with an up-and-down season and started getting up
to form in the races leading up to Sunday's Sylvania 300 at New
Hampshire Motor Speedway.
On Sunday, he grabbed his first victory since last year at Kansas
Speedway, the 13th of his Sprint Cup career. Biffle passed two-time
champion Jimmie Johnson with 11 laps remaining and held Johnson off
for the win.
Carl Edwards was third, Jeff Burton fourth and Dale Earnhardt Jr.
placed fifth. Rounding out the top 10 were Kurt Busch, Martin Truex
Jr., Tony Stewart, Denny Hamlin and Kevin Harvick.
Eight of Sunday's top 10 finishers are eligible for the championship.
Pre-race favorite Kyle Busch had a terrible day and wound up numerous
laps behind in 34th position. A series of mishaps ruined his day.
Former champion Matt Kenseth also had a miserable day, the victim of a
multi-car crash that stopped the race for 10 minutes or so after 220
of the 300 laps had been completed. Kenseth wound up 40th. The red
flag waved while officials cleaned up debris from the 220th lap
The crash started when former Indy winner Sam Hornish Jr. ran out of
room on the bottom of the track and bumped Kyle Petty, triggering a
melee that also involved Casey Mears, David Gilliland, Kyle Busch, and
Jeff Gordon, a four-time champion, wound up 14th and Clint Bowyer,
another Chase driver, was 12th.
Edwards showed what he had pretty early, zipping to the front on the
Points leader Busch suffered a sway bar problem and dropped back in
the field. His crew fixed his car when NASCAR called a competition
caution at lap 35 to allow the teams adjustments.
The track was very green at the start after a drenching overnight rain.
Edwards still led on the restart at lap 44. Stewart, Johnson, Kurt
Busch and Hamlin were in the top five.
The younger Busch, a favorite to win his first NASCAR Sprint Cup Chase
for the Championship after pacing the field through its first 26
races, had dropped to 43rd position by the time his crew fixed his
problem. Busch didn't help himself when he passed several cars when
coming into the pits, which cost him a lap. Busch had eight wins and
a 30-point lead as the first race of this year's Chase unfolded.
Johnson took the lead from Edwards on the 65th lap and Stewart moved
up to second.
On lap 84, Busch lost control out of turn two, spun and was hit by
Jamie McMurray, which pretty much ended Busch's chances for the day.
David Ragan also spun after being hit in the rear during the accident.
Johnson still led on the restart, with Earnhardt right behind him, but
Earnhardt took over shortly.
At 150 laps (halfway), it was Earnhardt, Biffle, Johnson, Kurt Busch,
Hamlin, Burton, Edwards, Montoya, Bowyer and Truex Jr.
Complete Race Results click here
Post-Race Driver Point Standings click here
Clint Bowyer (right) talks with car owner Richard Childress after setting fast time in final practice for Sunday's Sylvania 300...
Saturday Final Practice Speed Chart click here
The Race: Sylvania 300
The Place: New Hampshire Motor Speedway
The Track: 1.058-mile oval
The Distance: 317.4 miles/300 laps
TV: ABC, pre-race @ 2 p.m. (AT)
Radio: PRN, SIRIUS Satellite
2007 Winner: Clint Bowyer
2007 Polesitter: Clint Bowyer
Pre-Race Schedule: local track time/ET - Friday— Practice, noon-1:30 p.m. Qualifying, 3:10 p.m. Saturday— Practice—9-9:50 a.m. and 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Year-To-Date Race Results & Driver Point Standings click here
TV Broadcast Times - AT*
Practice: Friday, Sep 13 (ESPN2 at 1 p.m.)
Qualifying: Friday, Sep 13 (ESPN2 & TSN at 4 p.m.)
Practice: Saturday, Sep 13 (ESPN2 at 10 a.m.)
Final Practice: Saturday, Sep 13 (ESPN2 at 7 p.m.) tape-delayed
RaceDay: Sunday, Sep 14 (SPEED at Noon)
Pre-Race: Sunday, Sep 14 (ABC & TSN at 2 p.m.)
Race: Saturday, Sep 6 (ABC & TSN at 3 p.m.)
*AT is one hour ahead of ET, i.e. if it's 2 p.m./AT - it's 1 p.m./ET...
Rain has cancelled Sprint Cup qualifying for the second week in a row - putting Kyle Busch on the pole for the Sylvania 300 since the grid is set by owner points.
Complete starting lineup below.
Qualifying Notes & Starting Lineup
Starting Lineup click here
- Chasing History: Johnson Eyeing Third Consecutive Victory; Series Title...Two-time and reigning NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet) isn’t leading the pack as the 2008 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup begins Sunday at New Hampshire.
He’s third behind top seed Kyle Busch (5,080 points) and second seed Carl Edwards (No. 99 Office Depot Ford), who has 5,050 points.
But Johnson — with 5,040 points — may be the frontrunner in the momentum department.
He’s fresh off two consecutive victories, two weeks ago at Auto Club Speedway and last week at Richmond International Raceway — the cutoff event that set the 12-driver field for the Chase.
And he’s putting both out of his mind.
“I'm trying to show up at next week's race scared, worried about 11 other guys, and worry about doing my part,” Johnson said. “And the thing is I have confidence in what my abilities are and what my team is capable of and the packages we have put together in the last five or six months — short track, big track, all of it.”
In addition to consecutive series titles, Johnson also has won 11 Chase races since the format’s 2004 debut, more than any other driver. He also owns the best Chase Driver Rating — 106.3.
And while he’s seventh in pre-race Driver Rating for New Hampshire (98.3 compared to category leader Tony Stewart’s 118.6), Johnson has two wins, three top fives and eight top 10s in 13 career starts there.
“With the way the pack is running, especially the 99 (Edwards) and the 18 (Busch), you can't show up and run at 80 percent and just hope that a top 10 is going to get the job done,” Johnson said. “You have to show up and bring your A Game each week. I feel confident that we are there now and that we can run with these guys.”
- Excellence At The Top...There’s a reason Kyle Busch, Carl Edwards and Jimmie Johnson will begin the 2008 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup seeded first, second and third, respectively.
They’ve combined for a total of 18 victories thus far this season. The previous best win totals by three drivers heading into the Chase was 13, accomplished each of the previous four years of the Chase (2004-’07).
- Needing A Win...The opposite holds true for several drivers in this Chase, all former series champions. Johnson, Tony Stewart, Jeff Gordon (No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet) and Matt Kenseth (No. 17 CARHARTT Ford) are the four former champions in this year’s Chase.
But only Johnson has a victory in 2008.
His titles came in ’06 and ’07. Kenseth is the 2003 series champion. Gordon’s titles came in ’95, ’97, ’98 and 2001.
- Earnhardt Jr. In Championship Mix...In his first season with Hendrick Motorsports, Dale Earnhardt Jr. (No. 88 National Guard/AMP Energy Chevrolet) joins teammates Johnson and Gordon as a Chase contender.
He’s the fourth seed, right behind Johnson with 5,010 points. This is Earnhardt’s third Chase appearance. He missed it in 2007 while competing for Dale Earnhardt Incorporated.
- Delayed Debut For Logano...Joe Gibbs Racing’s 18-year-old Joey Logano, who will succeed Stewart in the No. 20 Toyota in 2009, is scheduled for his NASCAR Sprint Cup debut this weekend at New Hampshire.
He’ll attempt to qualify the No. 02 Home Depot Toyota with crew chief Wally Brown.
Logano hoped to debut last weekend at Richmond, but didn’t get the chance after rain washed out qualifying, forcing last Sunday’s field to be set per the NASCAR Sprint Cup rule book.
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