Gordon Clinches a Spot in the Chase for his Drive for Five in Miami

McMurray and Montoya Record Solid Runs at Bristol

South Florida's Juan Pablo Montoya (No. 42) drove to a seventh place finish while teammate Jamie McMurray (No. 1) climbed into the Top 12 at Bristol (photo courtesy: John Harrelson, Getty Images Sport)

Kyle Busch scored an elusive hat trick at Bristol by winning Saturday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event. Busch swept the slate of NASCAR races winning the Camping World Truck Series race Wednesday night and the Nationwide Series race Friday night before driving to victory in Saturday night's Sprint Cup race - Race 24 of 36 en route to Ford Championship Weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway (Nov. 19-21). It was the first time any driver has swept NASCAR's top-three touring divisions in a single weekend. Lock in your tickets NOW to see Championship racing at Championship value: Tickets start at just $55 and are available by calling (866) 409-RACE or by logging on to THEChampionshipTrack.com.

"It means a lot," said Busch. "I'm out of breath. I've been screaming the whole time. Normally, you take your time to get your breath back, but I used it all up. Man, I can't say enough about this team, Joe Gibbs Racing and Kyle Busch Motorsports earlier this week."

Kyle Busch was leading by Lap 172 and was challenged during the midpoint of the race by Jimmie Johnson, David Reutimann and Jamie McMurray. Johnson crashed on Lap 263 after tangling with South Florida’s Juan Pablo Montoya (see sidebar). Montoya remains 19th in the standings that will culminate on his “home track” of Homestead-Miami Speedway (Nov. 19-21).

Jeff Gordon clinched a spot in the 2010 Chase with his 11th place run at Bristol.

“We've had a heck of a season. Very consistent runs and strong runs,” said Gordon. “We haven't won yet, I still think we have a heck of a shot at the championship. I am really happy to be in the Chase again. Right now we are focused on wins and bonus points and I am a little disappointed with an 11th place finish tonight but it wasn't from a lack of effort that is for sure.”

Clint Bowyer finished fourth and Kasey Kahne rounded out the Top 5. Ryan Newman, Montoya, Greg Biffle, Kurt Busch and Matt Kenseth rounded out the Top 10.

With 24 of 36 races in the books en route toFord Championship Weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway (Nov. 19-21), Busch jumped five spots to third place and is 351 markers behind series leader Kevin Harvick. Bowyer currently holds the final spot for the 12-driver Chase for the Championship, which will be decided at Richmond International Raceway. McMurray moved to 13th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series standings with a solid third-place finish at Bristol. With two races remaining until the start of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, McMurray is 100 points out of the coveted Top 12.

It was a statement race for Bowyer, who separated himself from Mark Martin in the battle for the final berth in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. Bowyer overcame a pit-road speeding penalty to finish in the Top 5 while fan favorite Martin struggled to a 23rd-placefinish in an ill-handling car.

With two races left before the Chase field is set Sept. 11 at Richmond, Bowyer leads McMurray, who supplanted Martin in 13th place, by 100 points. Martin is 14th, 101 points back.

Said McMurray: "Yeah, I let Bono [crew chief Kevin Manion] worry about the points. He's really worried about that and I haven't paid any attention to it. That's a lot of stress that you can put on yourself when you're worried about points. So I'll let Bono and those guys worry about it and we'll just worry about racing the car."

The Top 12 drivers in points after Race 26 (Sept. 11 at Richmond) qualify to contend for the 2010 Sprint Cup Championship, to be crowned in Miami on Nov. 21. Lock in your tickets NOW to see Championship racing at Championship value: Tickets start at just $55 and are available by calling (866) 409-RACE or by logging on to THEChampionshipTrack.com.

All of NASCAR’s elite will be looking to gain points Sunday, September 5 at Atlanta (7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN)—Race 25 of 36 en route to Ford Championship Weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway (Nov. 19-21). Lock in your tickets NOW to see Championship racing at Championship value: Tickets start at $55 and are available by calling (866) 409-RACE or by logging on to THEChampionshipTrack.com.

On the Move: South Florida’s Montoya

Montoya Grabs Seventh at Bristol

“It is a bit of a shame, we ran top five all day and finished seventh, that kind of sucks, but we brought our Target Chevy back in one piece so that is pretty good.”

--Juan Pablo Montoya, on scoring a Top 10 finish at Bristol

South Florida’s Juan Pablo Montoya started in the eighth-position and drove the No. 42 Target Chevrolet to the team’s third consecutive Top 10 finish at Bristol in Race 24 of 36 en route to Ford Championship Weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway (Nov. 19-21). The No. 42 was a predominate fixture in the front of the pack throughout the evening, only running two laps outside of the top-10 and averaging a sixth-place running position. Montoya crossed the finish line in seventh.

“We have strong cars every weekend and our results are starting to match our performance,” said Montoya. “The guys are doing a great job and are giving me great cars. It was fun out there tonight.”

The Target team looked to better their best finish of ninth at Bristol and looked to be on their way to do just that. The No. 42 Target Chevrolet posted top-10 speeds in both practice sessions and then qualified in the eighth position for the start of Saturday night’s race under the lights. Montoya broke into the top-five by lap 38 of the 500 lap event and ran a race high of second by lap 195. The No. 42 Target Chevrolet would go on to run all 500 laps in the top-13 and pit a total of six times throughout the evening. When the checkered flag waved, the No. 42 Target Chevrolet was credited with the seventh-place position. The top-10 finish marked the 11th top-10 of the season for the Target team in 24 starts (45.8%).

Did you know?

• Montoya has one win, two pole awards, five top-five, and 11 top-10 finishes (45.8%) in 24 starts this season.
• Montoya has a driver rating of 94.6 which ranks him seventh on the list. He is the only driver not in the top-12 in points in the top-10 in the driver rating category.
• Montoya has led laps in 13 out of 24 races this season. He currently has led the field a total of 385 laps which is three laps shy of the total laps he led last year.

Next up for Montoya and the Sprint Cup drivers is Atlanta on Sunday, September 5 (7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN)—Race 25 of 36 en route to Ford Championship Weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway (Nov. 19-21). Just two races remain before the Richmond (Sept. 11) cut-off for NASCAR’s best to gain points and qualify for Chase contention.

Montoya has started all 24 of this year’s Sprint Cup races but has fallen victim to an inordinate amount of engine woes and on-track tangling—finishing in the Top 10 of all but three 2010 races in which he has completed all scheduled laps. Included in that run for South Florida’s hometown’er are five Top 5s.

The Top 12 drivers in points after Race 26 (Sept. 11 at Richmond) qualify to contend for the 2010 Sprint Cup Championship, to be crowned in Miami on Nov. 21. Lock in your tickets NOW to see Championship racing at Championship value: Tickets start at just $55 and are available by calling (866) 409-RACE or by logging on to THEChampionshipTrack.com.

For tickets and more information to see Montoya race for a Ford 400 victory on his “home track” of Homestead-Miami Speedway, visit THEChampionshipTrack.com or call (866) 409-RACE. Lock in NOW to catch Championship racing at Championship value, as tickets start at $55.

Follow Montoya on Twitter:

@JPMontoya

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