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Bowyer wins Sylvania 300 to start Chase
Sep 16, 2007 - 9:59 PM
LOUDON, New Hampshire (Ticker) -- Clint Bowyer picked a great time to win his first NASCAR Nextel Cup race.Bowyer took the lead for good with 47 laps remaining in aChevrolet Impala and held on to win the Sylvania 300 at NewHampshire International Speedway on Sunday in the first race ofthe "Chase for the Championship."It was Bowyer's first win in his 64th career Nextel start andjumped him to fourth place in the standings, 15 points behindleaders Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon. Bowyer was the onlydriver in this year's Chase field without a win."It was an unbelievable job ... I knew we could do it," saidBowyer, who started from the pole. "I'm not going to lie toyou, I almost threw up those last few laps."Bowyer led six times for 222 laps. He lost the lead on lap 239to Truex when he pitted for the final time, but regained it forgood 14 laps later when all the drivers cycled through theirstops.Chevrolet swept the top six spots with Gordon finishing second,followed by Tony Stewart, Kyle Busch, Martin Truex Jr., andJohnson."I was happy to come home second," Gordon said. "It's a greatway to start this ten-race stretch."Matt Kenseth was seventh in a Ford Fusion. Casey Mears waseighth in a Chevrolet, the Dodge Avenger of Ryan Newman ninthand J.J. Yeley's Chevrolet rounded out the top-10.Stewart heads to next week's race at Dover 10 points behindco-leaders Johnson and Gordon.The sixth-place finish was a lot better than Johnson's 39th atthis race a year ago. He did rebound from that poor start ayear ago win the title. Despite being tied with teammate Gordonin points, he holds the number one position based on thetiebreaker of six wins this season to Gordon's four."Not a bad performance four us, it was a lot better than lastyear and we need to keep getting top-10s," Johnson said. "But Ithought we had better than a sixth-place car today."Kyle Busch moved up four spots to fifth place and sits 35 pointsout. His brother, Kurt, tumbled seven spots to 12th in thestandings and 102 points out of the lead after engine problemsrelegated him to 25th on Sunday."We survived - it could have been a lot worse," Kurt Busch said."It's a bummer what happened today, but 25th isn't bad. Wehad something break in the carburetor that wouldn't let us getto full throttle."Carl Edwards was 12th in a Ford and dropped four spots to eighthin the standings, 63 points behind the leaders.Denny Hamlin also took a hit in the Chase standings, falling 82points back after finishing 15th in a Chevrolet.Bowyer became the fourth first-time race winner this season,joining Mears, Truex and Juan Pablo Montoya. He also became the18th driver to post victories in all three of NASCAR's topseries.