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Burton wins at Bristol

Jeff Burton, NASCAR Sprint Cup, BristolJeff Burton led only the last two laps of the Food City 500 to claim his first Sprint Cup series victory of the season at Bristol Motor Speedway, heading the first ever 1-2-3 for Richard Childress Racing.

Burton picked up the pieces as the Joe Gibbs Racing cars of Denny Hamlin and Tony Stewart, which were the ones leading the most laps in the afternoon, ran in trouble in the last ten laps.

Hamlin looked set for his first victory of the year but his Toyota was apparently too low on fuel on the final restart and he lost power when he accelerated to the green-white-checkered finish. Then, it was Burton's race.

"This team won this race today, I was just lucky to be driving," said Burton, who had the benefit of fresher tyres on the final sprint after following his teammate Kevin Harvick into the pits on the penultimate caution.

"We had a good car today, didn't have the best car out there but a had a really good car. We just kept ourselves into position, drove real smart.

"We had only a small scratch on the car. One time the 48 (Johnson) and I got together but other than that I don't think we had a scratch on the car all day. We drove it real cautious, real smart and tried to stay out of trouble. When you're there at the end you never know what can happen."

Kevin Harvick finished second taking four tyres on the penultimate caution when he was sitting behind race leader Tony Stewart. With less than ten laps to go it seemed and odd move from his crew chief Todd Berrier, but as others behind him pitted as well he was left fourth for the restart.

On fresh tyres Harvick then drove hard into the inside of Stewart and made contact with him, sending the No. 20 car against the wall and putting him out of contention for victory. The incident caused the final caution of the day, after which he picked up second place thanks to Hamlin's fuel problems.

"I just lost it," Harvick admitted about his contact with Stewart, before reminding of a similar incident last year at Indianapolis, where he was on the receiving end.

"Indianapolis was one of those deals where he just got into me and I just got into him there, so if he wants to have a bad attitude about it then (he should) come over here. We'll fight."

"It was a great day for RCR but it just pisses me off that Tony has it one way and don't want to take it the other."

Clint Bowyer, who led the most laps among the RCR drivers rounded up the full sweep of the top three for his team, followed by Greg Biffle and a steadily recovering Dale Earnhardt Jr, who struggled to get the right balance on his car in the early part of the race.

Hamlin could only salvage a sixth place finish in the end, which was a big shame for him after having recovered well from contact with a backmarker on lap 278 when he was leading the race.

His car was damaged in the incident and he dropped down the order but fought his way back to regain the lead, only to lose the race on the penultimate lap.

"I know I could have held those guys off there at the end, but we were either out of fuel or it was a fuel pickup problem like we had here last year," Hamlin said.

"By all of calculations were good on fuel to the end, including a green -white-checkered, but we just couldn't seem to pick all of it up.

"It's been that kind of season for us - we can't get a break."

Kasey Kahne was sixth ahead of Aric Almirola who filled in for Mark Martin in the No. 8 DEI car for the first time this year. In only his seventh Sprint Cup Series start, he stayed out of trouble in a track where it's tough to do so, claiming his best result ever in NASCAR's top series.

Kyle Busch was able to recover to finish 17th after spinning out of the lead at turn two on lap 290. He made contact with the wall damaging both ends of his car but a number of stops during caution allowed his team to carry out repairs.

He drove hard and wasn't far from getting back on the lead lap, his efforts being rewarded with staying at the top of the standings for another week.

Dario Franchitti had a tough baptism at Bristol suffering from brake issues. He was involved in two incidents, which dropped him down the order and a number of laps back. His 36th place finish means he is now outside the top-35 in the owner standings and will have to qualify on speed for next race at Martinsville.

Sam Hornish, who was out of the top-35 in the owner standings before this weekend, finished 29th and just makes the cut in the points to maintain his qualifying privileges into next race.


Pos Driver               Team            Laps
 1. Jeff Burton          Chevrolet        506 
 2. Kevin Harvick        Chevrolet        506
 3. Clint Bowyer         Chevrolet        506
 4. Greg Biffle          Ford             506
 5. Dale Earnhardt Jr    Chevrolet        506
 6. Denny Hamlin         Toyota           506
 7. Kasey Kahne          Dodge            506
 8. Aric Almirola        Chevrolet        506
 9. David Gilliland      Ford             506
10. Matt Kenseth         Ford             506
11. Jeff Gordon          Chevrolet        506
12. Kurt Busch           Dodge            506
13. Martin Truex Jr      Chevrolet        506
14. Tony Stewart         Toyota           506
15. Juan Montoya         Dodge            506
16. Carl Edwards         Ford             506
17. Kyle Busch           Toyota           504
18. Jimmie Johnson       Chevrolet        504
19. Elliott Sadler       Dodge            504
20. David Reutimann      Toyota           504
21. David Ragan          Ford             504
22. Scott Riggs          Chevrolet        504
23. Michael Waltrip      Toyota           503
24. Robby Gordon         Dodge            503
25. JJ Yeley             Toyota           503
26. Regan Smith          Chevrolet        503
27. Travis Kvapil        Ford             503
28. Kyle Petty           Dodge            501
29. Sam Hornish Jr.      Dodge            501
30. Jeremy Mayfield      Chevrolet        500
31. Reed Sorenson        Dodge            500
32. Paul Menard          Chevrolet        499
33. Ryan Newman          Dodge            499
34. Dave Blaney          Toyota           498
35. Joe Nemechek         Chevrolet        498
36. Dario Franchitti     Dodge            497
37. Dale Jarrett         Toyota           496
38. Bobby Labonte        Dodge Cheerios   489
39. Brian Vickers        Toyota           486
40. Mike Skinner         Toyota           441
41. Ken Schrader         Dodge            420
42. Casey Mears          Chevrolet        417
43. Jamie McMurray       Ford             373

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