- The Washington Times - Monday, March 17, 2008

BRISTOL, Tenn. — Jeff Burton raced past Denny Hamlin on a two-lap sprint to the finish yesterday in the Food City 500, giving Richard Childress Racing a 1-2-3 sweep at Bristol Motor Speedway and denying Joe Gibbs Racing a victory after its three drivers dominated the race.

Burton scored his first win at Bristol and the first win of the season for Chevrolet and led teammates Kevin Harvick and Clint Bowyer across the finish line in the first podium sweep in RCR history.

In doing so, the team stole a race that was dominated by JGR drivers Tony Stewart, Hamlin and Kyle Busch. The trio combined to lead 372 of the 506 laps, but Hamlin’s sixth-place finish was the best of the group.

Stewart led a race-high 267 laps — 10 more than he did in this event last year — but again fell short of the win. Mechanical problems ruined it for him last season, but it was questionable strategy and contact with Harvick that wrecked his chances this time around.

Stewart was chugging along toward the victory, trying to hold off the hard-charging Harvick and Hamlin, when Brian Vickers crashed to bring out a caution with 11 laps left. Stewart thought he should pit for tires but was overruled by crew chief Greg Zipadelli, who wasn’t sure there were enough laps left to warrant changing the tires.

So Stewart stayed out — along with Hamlin and Dale Earnhardt Jr. — while everyone else on the lead lap headed to the pits. Zipadelli instantly questioned the call.

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