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Brian Vickers claims New Hampshire win for Michael Waltrip Racing

"It feels good. Man, it feels good. I appreciate all the support from the fans here," he said. "This Aaron's Dream Machine was just awesome today. Toyota was great - the engine ran great all day. We got really hot, but it hung in there with us."

Vickers insisted that he hadn't realised that a race win was on the cards until very near the finish: "It wasn't until the end, when we started running down the #18 and the #14 that I felt we had a car capable of winning - and then I was hungry!" he laughed.

And then the final caution set up a GWC restart that could have dashed his hopes in the final second. "It was nervous. Old tyres, wheel spin - you never know what can happen here. It was tough and it was fun racing going for the win."

A strong second place on Sunday helped cement Kyle Busch's own Chase credentials, even if he was disappointed not to have the overall consistency to allow him to repeat the Nationwide Series win that he'd enjoyed at New Hampshire the day before.

"I think we were the fastest car here today, definitely on the short run," he said. "I guess I burned my front tyres off -- I don't know what the deal is. We were out front, we were leading, we were doing fine, we get to lapped traffic and I can't turn any more ... I don't know what to do on these long runs. That's all there was to it. That's our day. Just got to get better on figuring out what I got to do to do that in order to be able to pass lapped cars."

And Busch admitted that he'd simply not been able to edge Vickers for the win in the final GWC restart: "We didn't have a chance. Vickers taking the outside was going to be the car to beat and Tony obviously running out of gas there - almost wrecked with him. Just wish the race was two laps longer maybe and Vickers would have run out and maybe we would have been able to win the thing."

But like the majority of drivers, teams and fans at Loudon on Sunday, if it couldn't be him then Kyle was happy to see Vickers in victory lane: "Congratulations to those guys - it's great. It's cool to see the #55 car in the victory lane," he said. "Certainly, we really wanted to win here, but we know what we need to do to work on our race car definitely when we come back for the Chase race."

Jeff Burton, Brad Keselowski and Aric Almirola were all close behind Busch across the line, with Jimmie Johnson slightly further back as he finished in a strong sixth place that helps extend his lead in the championship standings to 56 points over Clint Bower who came home in 13th. That's the biggest margin anyone has enjoyed in the Cup standings since the new scoring system was introduced in 2011.

"We had a great race car [but] once you get to the top ten that's a different game trying to pass cars and work your way to the front there," he explained of his afternoon's work. "Really the lane that you were in on a restart had a huge impact on how many cars you could pass. A few times I was on the outside and made my way to third and then a few times on the inside and I slipped back.

"All in all a great day for the Lowe's team and just very proud of the effort these guys put in week in and week out," he added. "We are all going to enjoy this off week and then come back and get ready to go to Indy."




Related Pictures

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Casey Mears drives the wrecked #13 GEICO Ford after an incident in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Camping World RV Sales 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on July 14, 2013 in Loudon, New Hampshire.  (Photo Credit: Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
Marcos Ambrose, driver of the #9 Stanley Ford, spins out after an incident in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Camping World RV Sales 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on July 14, 2013 in Loudon, New Hampshire. (Photo Credit: Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
Crew members work on the car of Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell-Pennzoil/AAA Ford, in the pits after cutting a tire during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Camping World RV Sales 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on July 14, 2013 in Loudon, New Hampshire. (Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
Danica Patrick drives the #10 GoDaddy.com Chevrolet past Ricky Stenhouse Jr., driver of the #17 Best Buy Ford, and Travis Kvapil, driver of the #93 Burger King/Dr. Pepper Toyota, hitting the wall during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Camping World RV Sales 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on July 14, 2013 in Loudon, New Hampshire.  (Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
Brian Vickers, driver of the #55 Aaron`s Dream Machine Toyota, takes the chequered flag as he crosses the finish line to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Camping World RV Sales 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on July 14, 2013 in Loudon, New Hampshire. (Photo Credit: Jonathan Ferrey/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, and Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet, lead a pack of cars during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, practices for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 14, 2014 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, passes Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, to take the lead and win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford, pits during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, and team owner Tony Stewart celebrate winning in Victory Lane after the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, celebrates with his wife DeLana and son Keelan in victory lane after winning during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, celebrates with the trophy in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Marcos Ambrose, driver of the #9 Stanley Ford, poses with his team before his last race, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet SS, celebrates his victory and the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship Sunday, November 16, 2014 winning the final NASCAR Sprint Cup race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet SS finishes 2nd. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet SS, celebrates his victory and the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship Sunday, November 16, 2014 winning the final NASCAR Sprint Cup race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet SS finishes 2nd. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet SS, celebrates his victory and the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship Sunday, November 16, 2014 winning the final NASCAR Sprint Cup race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet SS finishes 2nd. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet SS, celebrates his victory and the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship Sunday, November 16, 2014 winning the final NASCAR Sprint Cup race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet SS finishes 2nd. (Photo by Christa L Thomas/HHP for Chevy Racing)

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