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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)
Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Quicken Loans Chevrolet SS, races to an eighth place finish with Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS who finished in second place Saturday night, April 9, 2016 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo by Alan Marler for Chevy Racing)
Chase Elliott, driver of the #24 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet SS, stops in his pit on his way to a fifth place finish Saturday night, April 9, 2016 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas. Elliott takes over the #24 car from retired driver Jeff Gordon.  (Photo by Ashley R Dickerson for Chevy Racing)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe’s Chevrolet SS, races to a fourth place finish Saturday night, April 9, 2016 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo by Alan Marler for Chevy Racing)
Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS, finishes in second place Saturday night, April 9, 2016 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo by Brian Cleary for Chevy Racing)
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Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Interstate Batteries Toyota, celebrates after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on April 9, 2016 in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Interstate Batteries Toyota, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on April 9, 2016 in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Sarah Crabill/Getty Images for Texas Motor Speedway)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Interstate Batteries Toyota, celebrates winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on April 9, 2016 in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Sarah Crabill/Getty Images for Texas Motor Speedway)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Interstate Batteries Toyota, takes the chequered flag to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on April 9, 2016 in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Robert Laberge/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Carl Edwards, driver of the #19 Stanley Toyota, leads the field to the green flag to start the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on April 9, 2016 in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Robert Laberge/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #78 Bass Pro Shops/TRACKER Boats Toyota, practices for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on April 7, 2016 in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Carl Edwards, driver of the #19 Stanley Toyota, poses with the Coors Light Pole Award after qualifying for the pole position for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on April 8, 2016 in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Carl Edwards, driver of the #19 Stanley Toyota, poses with the Coors Light Pole Award after qualifying for the pole position for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on April 8, 2016 in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images)

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