Kurt Busch dominated at the beginning, surged back to the lead late and raced to his second win of the season yesterday in the NASCAR Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pa.
The defending NASCAR Nextel Cup champion led 110 of the first 150 laps on the 2.5-mile triangle and kept his fifth-place spot in the points standings with six races left to decide the 10 drivers who will race for the title.
The "Chase for the Cup" begins at New Hampshire International Speedway on Sept. 18.
Busch, who also won this year in Phoenix, passed second-place finisher Rusty Wallace coming out of turn three with 17 laps left and held on to the lead even as four cautions came out before the end, which forced three extra laps and the green-white checkered flag.
"It's just a matter of having everything fall our way," said Busch, who got his 13th career victory. "It's a super car. It was a big win for us."
It also was a big day for Roush Racing, which had three of the top-four finishers -- Busch, Mark Martin (third) and Carl Edwards (fourth).
The result was particularly impressive for Edwards, who was forced to start at the back of the field because he skipped qualifying to compete in Saturday's Busch Series race.
Wallace, driving a Dodge, will retire at the end of the season. He fell just short of matching Bill Elliott's record of five career wins at Pocono.
While Wallace is firm in his commitment to retire, Martin may have his farewell tour extended another year because Jack Roush is without a driver for the Ford next year.
"I still have my decision," Martin said. "I don't even like talking about it because I want to go truck racing next year. We are working on trucks."
Jimmie Johnson maintained his overall points lead with a 12th place finish.
Tony Stewart moved to second in the standings with a seventh-place finish. Greg Biffle (17th) is third followed by Wallace.
Jeff Gordon finished 13th and Dale Earnhardt Jr. was two laps off the leader in 32nd place as two of NASCAR's most successful drivers are running out of time to crack the top 10.
Busch had the strongest car from the beginning, taking the lead from polestitter Jamie McMurray on the first turn of the first lap.
Busch, who also won this year at started second in his No. 97 Ford and needed just 113 laps to clinch the five bonus points awarded for leading the most laps.
* IRL: Sam Hornish Jr. had to pass Dario Franchitti twice in the waning laps before pulling away to win the A.J. Foyt 225 at the Milwaukee Mile in West Allis, Wis.
Hornish edged Franchitti by 0.384 of a second, about three car lengths. Tomas Scheckter was third.
Hornish, a two-time series champion, led 123 of the 225 laps in collecting his second win of the season and the 14th of his career.
Hornish moved into a tie with Franchitti for second place in the standings, trailing Dan Wheldon by 68 points with seven races left.
There were several crashes, including one by rookie Danica Patrick, who came away uninjured. She wound up 19th, her worst finish in 10 races this season.
* FORMULA ONE: Fernando Alonso moved closer to his first series season title by winning the German Grand Prix in Hockenheim.
Alonso's nearest challenger, Kimi Raikkonen, started from the pole and led comfortably until the 36th lap of the 67-lap race, when his McLaren-Mercedes stopped because of hydraulic problems.
Alonso's Renault was followed by McLaren-Mercedes' Juan Pablo Montoya. Jenson Button finished third in a BAR-Honda.
-- From News Services