BRISTOL, Tenn. (March 16, 2008) â€“ In Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) race, Camry drivers Tony Stewart and Denny Hamlin each had their shot at victory, but ultimately shared disappointment at Bristol Motor Speedway, with a pair of late-race incidents gift-wrapping the win for Jeff Burton.
Stewart led a race-high 267 of 506 laps in the No. 20 Home Depot Camry, including to the green flag after a late-race caution with five to go. Hamlin shot past Stewart to take the lead on lap 497, and Kevin Harvick -- running third at the time -- tried to slip by the No. 20 Camry as well, but made contact with Stewart, sending the car spinning and the caution flag waving, setting up a 'green-white-checkered' finish on the half-mile Tennessee oval.
Hamlin was leading the two-lap shootout when his No. 11 FedEx Camry appeared to run out of fuel on the backstretch, dashing his hopes at victory. Hamlin coasted to a sixth-place finish -- the highest among the 10 Camrys in the field -- while Stewart settled for 14th in the final running order.
"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," said Hamlin, who led 98 laps. "By all of our calculations, we 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. It's really too bad because we had a great FedEx Express Camry today. We led a bunch of laps, and then had to battle all the way back to have a shot at the end. Once we got it, we just couldn't finish it off."
Kyle Busch (17th) and David Reutimann (20th) also scored top-20 finishes for Toyota. Camry drivers Michael Waltrip (23rd), J.J. Yeley (25th), Dave Blaney (34th), Dale Jarrett (37th), Brian Vickers (39th) and Mike Skinner (40th) were also in the field.
With the finish, Busch maintains the lead in the unofficial NSCS point standings, 30 points ahead of Greg Biffle (782-752). Stewart (seventh), Vickers (15th) and Hamlin (17th) are also in the top-20 in points after five of 36 races.
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series enjoys a weekend off before heading to Martinsville Speedway (March 30).
In Saturday's rain-shortened NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) race at Bristol, three Toyota Camrys were running in the top-10 when the skies opened and the race was called after 171 of the schedule 300 laps were complete.
Defending NNS series runner-up Reutimann wound up third in the No. 99 Aaron's Dream Machine Camry for Michael Waltrip Racing, the best result among the five Toyota drivers in the field and his best NNS finish of the season, running behind race-winner Clint Bowyer and Kasey Kahne.
Reutimann started fifth after rain for much of the weekend canceled qualifying, setting the starting grid per the NASCAR rulebook, and maintained his position early in the race, but the car improved as the laps clicked off.
The Zephyrhills, Fla.-native had one of the fastest cars on the track when the rain started to fall just past the race's midpoint, running lap times consistent with the leaders and making up ground as the top two cars navigated lapped traffic. The rain persisted and the track became too slick to continue, and Reutimann had to settle for a third-place result.
"You never know what's going to happen with the weather," said Reutimann, following the race. "I would've liked to see it go green a little while longer, to see what we could've done with those guys, but with the rain coming and washing us out, a third place finish isn't that bad, either."
Jason Leffler finished sixth in the No. 38 Great Clips Camry for Braun Racing, his best NNS result of the season. Like Reutimann, Leffler's car was working its best during the long green-flag run before the rain, picking off positions before the weather came.
Mike Wallace put a third Camry in the top-10, finishing 10th in the No. 7 GEICO Camry for Germain Racing.
Toyota drivers Hamlin (26th) and Busch (42nd) were also in the field. Busch was collected in a lap 12 incident that caused heavy left-side damage to his No. 32 Hass Avocados from Mexico Camry, while Hamlin -- who led the race's first 37 laps -- was forced to make a pair of green-flag pit stops after debris on the race track punctured a tire on the No. 20 Z-Line Designs Camry, trapping the car four laps down.
With the finish, Reutimann jumped to fifth in the unofficial NNS point standings, now trailing points leader Kevin Harvick by 80 points (751-671). Wallace (seventh, 603 points), Leffler (ninth, 579 points) and Busch (10th, 568 points) are also in the top-10 in points after five of 35 races.
The NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) returns to action March 22 at Nashville Superspeedway.
Toyota NSCS Finishing Positions @ Bristol Motor Speedway
6th, DENNY HAMLIN
14th, TONY STEWART
17th, KYLE BUSCH
20th, DAVID REUTIMANN
23rd, MICHAEL WALTRIP
25th, J.J. YELEY
34th, DAVE BLANEY
37th, DALE JARRETT
39th, BRIAN VICKERS
40th, MIKE SKINNER
Toyota Drivers in NSCS Point Standings â€“ following Bristol Motor Speedway**
1st, KYLE BUSCH 782 points
7th, TONY STEWART 656 points
15th, DENNY HAMLIN 568 points
17th, BRIAN VICKERS 537 points
27th, DAVID REUTIMANN 461 points
30th, MICHAEL WALTRIP 402 points
31st, J.J. YELEY 386 points
34th, DALE JARRETT 367 points
37th, DAVE BLANEY 334 points
42nd, MIKE SKINNER 198 points
**unofficial point standings
Toyota NNS Finishing Positions @ Bristol Motor Speedway
3rd, DAVID REUTIMANN
6th, JASON LEFFLER
10th, MIKE WALLACE
26th, DENNY HAMLIN
42nd, KYLE BUSCH
Toyota Drivers in NNS Point Standings â€“ following Bristol Motor Speedway**
5th, DAVID REUTIMANN 668 points
7th, MIKE WALLACE 603 points
9th, JASON LEFFLER 579 points
10th, KYLE BUSCH 568 points
18th, TONY STEWART 472 points
**unofficial point standings