Stewart’s early exit cost him second in the points, which was inherited by Kenseth, who now sits 109 points behind Johnson. Martin moved up to third, with Stewart falling to fourth and Dale Earnhardt Jr. maintaining fifth.
The teams will head north to Dover, Delaware next weekend to take on the always-tough “Monster Mile” at Dover International Speedway.
NASCAR Nextel All-Star Challenge Top Five:
1) Kasey Kahne, No. 9 Evernham Motorsports Dodge Charger, 400 laps
2) Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS, 400 laps
3) Carl Edwards, No. 99 Roush Racing Ford Fusion, 400 laps
4) Mark Martin, No. 6 Roush Racing Ford Fusion, 400 laps
5) Matt Kenseth, No. 17 Roush Racing Ford Fusion, 400 laps
Driver’s Championship: 1) Jimmie Johnson, 1861; 3) Matt Kenseth, 1752; 4) Mark Martin, 1652; 3) Tony Stewart, 1630; 5) Dale Earnhardt Jr., 1590.
NASCAR Busch Series: Right Place, Right Time for Edwards at Charlotte
With nine laps to go in the NASCAR Busch Series race at Lowe’s Motor Speedway on Saturday night, Casey Mears looked to be in position to win his first series race. However, he had gambled on fuel, and the gamble didn’t pay off, giving Carl Edwards the opportunity to take the lead and the win.
Mears was trying to run the final 88 laps on a tank of fuel and a set of tires. When the green flag flew to end the night’s 12th caution, Mears had a fuel pick-up problem and his car bogged down, allowing Edwards to sweep past and sailed to his first series win. Kurt Busch and J.J. Yeley chased him to the flag, while Mears was able to hang on and finish fourth. Two-time and defending series champ Martin Truex Jr. rounded out the top five, while Jeff Burton, Jimmie Johnson, Kevin Harvick, Todd Kluever and Regan Smith completed the top 10.
Clint Bowyer, who entered the race second in points, crashed out early, helping Edwards leapfrog into second in the championship standing, a massive 348 points behind series leader Kevin Harvick.
Early leader Jamie McMurray, who started second, and Tony Stewart both had hard crashes early in the race that sent them to the hospital for observation. Both were quickly released, but Stewart complained of pain in his right side. Also, two spectators were hit by debris during a late caution, but suffered only minor injuries.
The series will accompany the Nextel Cup and Craftsman Truck series to Dover next weekend.
NASCAR Busch Series Top Five:
1) Carl Edwards, No. 60 Roush Racing Ford Fusion, 200 laps
2) Kurt Busch, No. 39 Penske Racing South Dodge Charger, 200 laps
3) J.J. Yeley, No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS, 200 laps
4) Casey Mears, No. 42 Chip Ganassi Racing Dodge Charger, 200 laps
5) Martin Truex Jr., No. 8 Dale Earnhardt Inc. Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS, 200 laps
Driver’s Championship: 1) Kevin Harvick, 2092; 2) Carl Edwards, 1744; 2) Clint Bowyer, 1653; 3) Denny Hamlin, 1642; 5) J.J. Yeley, 1602.
NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series: Hornaday Prevails at Mansfield
Driving a plain black, unsponsored Kevin Harvick Inc. Chevy, Ron Hornaday captured his 28th NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series victory, a series record, at Ohio’s Mansfield Motorsports Speedway on Saturday afternoon. He used a smart pit-stop strategy that left him out front when race-leading teammates Todd Bodine and Ted Musgrave made their final stop, and then held off Jack Sprague and David Starr to seal the deal.
Qualifying was rained out on Friday, and the grid was set by points, putting Bodine and Musgrave up front. Those two led the first 114 laps handily, but were mired mid-pack after stopping. Hornaday, meanwhile, pitted on Lap 44 and worked his way up through the field and was in position to take the point when Bodine and Musgrave pitted.
The race was slowed by a record 18 cautions on the tight half-mile, which helped prevent Bodine and Musgrave from working their way back to the front after stopping for fuel. Hornaday, a two-time series champ (1996 and 1998), led 131 of the 250 laps en route to the win. Behind Sprague and Starr, Johnny Benson and rookie Joey Miller completed the top five. Matt Crafton, Dennis Setzer, Mike Bliss, David Reutimann and Steve Park rounded out the top 10.
The series will rejoin the Nextel Cup and Busch Series on the “Monster Mile” in Dover, Delaware, next weekend.
NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Top Five:
1) Ron Hornaday, No. 33 Kevin Harvick Inc. Chevrolet Silverado, 250 laps
2) Jack Sprague, No. 60 Wyler Racing Toyota Tundra, 250 laps
3) David Starr, No. 11 Red Horse Racing Toyota Tundra, 250 laps
4) Johnny Benson, No. 23 Bill Davis Racing Toyota Tundra, 250 laps
5) Joey Miller, No. 12 Darrell Waltrip Motorsports Toyota Tundra, 250 laps
Driver’s Championship: 1) Todd Bodine, 1140; 2) Ted Musgrave, 1120; 3) David Reutimann, 1034; 5) David Starr, 948.
IRL: Hornish Wins Indy Thriller
Team Penske’s Sam Hornish Jr. fought back from a botched pit stop and drive-through penalty to claim Roger Penske’s 14th Indianapolis 500 victory, making a last-second pass on 19-year-old rookie Marco Andretti to win by a razor-thin 0.0635sec, the second-closest finish in Indy history (1992, 0.043sec, Al Unser Jr. over Scott Goodyear).
What had shaped up to be a race between Team Penske and Chip Ganassi Racing looked that way for a long time. Penske teammates Hornish and Helio Castroneves started 1-2, with Ganassi’s Dan Wheldon, the defending race and series champ, third. Hornish quickly dispatched Castroneves, who had handling problems and later crashed out, but Wheldon bulled his way to the front and eventually led 148 of the 250 laps. Hornish stalked him most of the race, but a pit stop on Lap 150 resulted in Hornish pulling away from his pit before the refueling rig was disconnected. The nozzle broke away from the hose and stayed attached to the car. Hornish stopped and had it removed, but was assessed a drive-through penalty. Roger Penske wisely brought him in for a top-up on fuel before the penalty was served, which allowed him to run non-stop for the remainder of the race.