The Chase Is On; Biffle Strikes First

The 2008 edition of The Chase for the Championship began Sunday afternoon at Loudon, New Hampshire.  Greg Biffle opened up NASCAR's playoff season by winning the Sylvania 300.  The first race race in The Chase saw quite a shuffle in the standings, including the leader for much of the regualr season taking a fall in the points.

The Chase for the Championship got underway Sunday afternoon at the Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire.  It was one of the contenders looking for their first title who got the first win of the playoff season.  Greg Biffle got the victory, his first of the season.  He got the win thanks to a late pass of Jimmie Johnson.  Biffle led 58 of the 300 laps with second place finishing Johnson leading the most (96).

The race was slowed for cautions eight times for 37 laps.  Two of the cautions involved championship hopefuls.  The most notable was the second caution that flew on lap 84.  Kyle Busch lost control of his car and spun in turn two.  Jamie McMurray then lost control and spun into Busch, causing extensive damage to their cars.  Busch finished 34th with McMurray placing in 39th.  The other Chase driver to have troubles on the track was Matt Kenseth.  Kenseth brought out the fifth caution on lap 230.  Some of the drivers tried to go five wide on the track.  That led to trouble.  Chad McCumbee got loose and hit Kenseth.  Also collected in the incident were David Gilliland, Brian Vickers, and Casey Mears.  Kenseth finished 40th and is now in a big hole in the point standings. 

The top five finishers were all Chasers.  Behind Biffle and Johnson were Carl Edwards in third, Jeff Burton in fourth, and Dale Earnhardt Jr. in fifth.  Former champ Kurt Busch finished sixth with Martin Truex Jr. in seventh.  Rounding out the top ten were Chase drivers Tony Stewart, Denny Hamlin, and Kevin Harvick.  As for the other two Chase drvers, Clint Bowyer finished 12th and Jeff Gordon placed 14th.

After the first race in The Chase, Carl Edwards and Jimmie Johnson are tied at the top.  Biffle's win moved him up six spots to third. 30 points back.  Tied in fourth (50 points behind) are Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jeff Burton.  Denny Hamlin moved up three places to sixth and is 72 back.  Seventh place Tony Stewart is one point behind Hamlin.  Kyle Busch was the biggest loser in the standings, falling seven places back to eighth, 74 behind the leaders.  Clint Bowyer is ninth (83 back), Kevin Harvick is tenth (86 back) with Jeff Gordon 11th (99 back).  After his troubles Sunday, 12th place Matt Kenseth is 177 points behind.

For this coming weekend, both the Nationwide Series (Dover) and the Truck Series (Las Vegas) will be on the track.  The Sprint Cup will be at Dover's "Monster Mile" Sunday afternoon.

By:  CrimsonCowboy

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