Chase field thrown unexpected curves at Kansas Speedway

Monday, October 1, 2007

Biffle won the controversial and shortened race.

KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- Greg Biffle scored his first victory of the season Sunday -- even though his car ran short on fuel before crossing the finish line -- in a wild race that jumbled the Chase for the championship standings.

The Chase field imploded at Kansas Speedway, where rain and impending darkness cut the race short by 85 miles. Seven of the 12 Chase drivers finished 30th or worse, and defending Nextel Cup champion Jimmie Johnson reclaimed the points lead.

He was one of the few Chase drivers to make it unscathed to the finish line, and when he got there, he questioned the finishing order.

The race ended under caution because Juan Pablo Montoya blew a tire with four laps to go in an event that NASCAR had already shortened by 57 laps. Montoya's caution should have set up an overtime finish, but NASCAR declined to restart the race because of impending darkness.

The event was finished under caution, and Biffle's car began to sputter on the last lap. As his car coasted toward the line, local star Clint Bowyer and Johnson both passed him before he reached the checkered flag. Johnson immediately said Kansas native Bowyer should be celebrating in Victory Lane, not Biffle, and Bowyer agreed.

"It was definitely dark, and it was starting to be a concern, but it wasn't dark enough that I couldn't see [Biffle] having trouble," Bowyer said. "I just didn't know what to do. I knew it wasn't right, but I didn't think they expected us to pull down in the grass and follow him.

"I don't know what happened, [Biffle] didn't cross it the way I thought you were supposed to, but I know they're not going to pull him out of Victory Lane."

The ending was par for the course on this wild Sunday.

Rain caused two delays totaling almost three hours, Kyle Busch was wrecked minutes into the race by Dale Earnhardt Jr., and two-time series champion Tony Stewart gambled twice -- the first one put him in position to win, and the second one took him out of contention.

When the dust finally settled, the points standings had been blown open for a Chase field that entered the event with the top six drivers separated by just 28 points.

Now Johnson has a six-point lead over teammate Jeff Gordon, and Bowyer is in third, 14 points out.

Stewart, who started the day just two points out of the lead, finished 39th and dropped to fourth -- 117 points out.

Kevin Harvick finished sixth to jump four spots in the standings to fifth, 126 points out.

Busch, who came into the race 10 points out of the lead, finished 41st. He's sixth in the standings, 136 points out.

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