When Tony Stewart won the Chase opener at Chicagoland last week, experts wondered whether he might actually prove to be a real dark horse contender in the 2011 Chase. Now, after claiming his second straight win with the Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, there's no longer any 'might' about it. Not much 'dark horse' either, come to that.

Stewart won by 7.225s over Brad Kesewloski after other contenders including Greg Biffle and Dale Earnhardt Jr. hit final lap problems (gas and flat tyre respectively.)

The victory puts Tony Stewart at the top of the Chase championship standings ahead of Kevin Harvick, who suffered from file mileage problems and dropped out of the top five where he'd run all day to finish in 12th place.

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Reigning champion Jimmie Johnson also suffered at Loudon, a collision with Kyle Busch contributing to a disappointing 18th-place finish by the chequered flag. He's now in tenth place in the standings, the lowest he's ever been in a Chase battle.

Race results

1. #14 Tony Stewart Chevrolet 300 laps 2:46:10.000s (47/1 pts)
2. #2 Brad Keselowski Dodge 300 laps + 7.225s (43/1 pts)
3. #16 Greg Biffle Ford 300 laps + 12.045s (41/0 pts)
4. #24 Jeff Gordon Chevrolet 300 laps + 12.298s (42/2 pts)
5. #83 Brian Vickers Toyota 300 laps + 12.909s (40/1 pts)
6. #17 Matt Kenseth Ford 300 laps + 14.073s (38/0 pts)
7. #6 David Ragan Ford 300 laps + 15.340s (38/1 pts)
8. #99 Carl Edwards Ford 300 laps + 19.076s (36/0 pts)
9. #42 Juan Montoya Chevrolet 300 laps + 23.902s (36/1 pts)
10. #78 Regan Smith Chevrolet 300 laps + 23.963s (35/1 pts)
11. #18 Kyle Busch Toyota 300 laps + 24.786s (33/0 pts)
12. #29 Kevin Harvick Chevrolet 300 laps + 26.986s (33/1 pts)
13. #31 Jeff Burton Chevrolet 300 laps + 27.342s (31/0 pts)
14. #20 Joey Logano Toyota 300 laps + 27.573s (30/0 pts)
15. #4 Kasey Kahne Toyota 300 laps + 27.773s (30/1 pts)
16. #56 Martin Truex Jr. Toyota 300 laps + 28.178s (29/1 pts)
17. #88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Chevrolet 300 laps + 28.749s (27/0 pts)
18. #48 Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet 300 laps + 28.793s (27/1 pts)
19. #47 Bobby Labonte Toyota 300 laps + 1 lap (25/0 pts)
20. #27 Paul Menard Chevrolet 300 laps + 1 lap (24/0 pts)
21. #43 A.J. Allmendinger Ford 300 laps + 1 lap (23/0 pts)
22. #22 Kurt Busch Dodge 300 laps + 1 lap (23/1 pts)
23. #1 Jamie McMurray Chevrolet 300 laps + 1 lap (21/0 pts)
24. #5 Mark Martin Chevrolet 300 laps + 1 lap (21/1 pts)
25. #39 Ryan Newman Chevrolet 300 laps + 1 lap (20/1 pts)
26. #33 Clint Bowyer Chevrolet 298 laps Out of fuel (19/1 pts)
27. #38 J.J. Yeley Ford 298 laps + 2 laps (17/0 pts)
28. #00 David Reutimann Toyota 298 laps + 2 laps (16/0 pts)
29. #11 Denny Hamlin Toyota 298 laps + 2 laps (15/0 pts)
30. #9 Marcos Ambrose Ford 297 laps + 3 laps (14/0 pts)
31. #32 Mike Bliss Ford 296 laps + 4 laps (0pts)
32. #34 David Gilliland Ford 296 laps + 4 laps (12/0 pts)
33. #51 Landon Cassill Chevrolet 294 laps + 6 laps (0pts)
34. #71 Andy Lally * Ford 284 laps + 16 laps (10/0 pts)
35. #36 Dave Blaney Chevrolet 80 laps In Pit (9/0 pts)
36. #87 Joe Nemechek Toyota 38 laps In Pit (0pts)
37. #66 Michael McDowell Toyota 35 laps In Pit (7/0 pts)
38. #30 David Stremme Chevrolet 32 laps In Pit (6/0 pts)
39. #37 Josh Wise Ford 29 laps In Pit (0pts)
40. #7 Robby Gordon Dodge 28 laps In Pit (4/0 pts)
41. #46 Scott Speed Ford 23 laps In Pit (0pts)
42. #13 Casey Mears Toyota 19 laps Out of Race (2/0 pts)
43. #55 Travis Kvapil Ford 10 laps In Pit (0pts)

Saturday practice 3

1. #30 David Stremme Chevrolet 29.154s (Leader) 130.644 mph
2. #24 Jeff Gordon Chevrolet 29.205s (-0.051) 130.416 mph
3. #48 Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet 29.223s (-0.069) 130.336 mph
4. #31 Jeff Burton Chevrolet 29.229s (-0.075) 130.309 mph
5. #18 Kyle Busch Toyota 29.238s (-0.084) 130.269 mph
6. #39 Ryan Newman Chevrolet 29.270s (-0.116) 130.126 mph
7. #4 Kasey Kahne Toyota 29.285s (-0.131) 130.060 mph
8. #16 Greg Biffle Ford 29.289s (-0.135) 130.042 mph
9. #29 Kevin Harvick Chevrolet 29.302s (-0.148) 129.984 mph
10. #27 Paul Menard Chevrolet 29.304s (-0.150) 129.975 mph
11. #88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Chevrolet 29.314s (-0.160) 129.931 mph
12. #5 Mark Martin Chevrolet 29.314s (-0.160) 129.931 mph
13. #33 Clint Bowyer Chevrolet 29.319s (-0.165) 129.909 mph
14. #20 Joey Logano Toyota 29.326s (-0.172) 129.878 mph
15. #11 Denny Hamlin Toyota 29.350s (-0.196) 129.772 mph
16. #78 Regan Smith Chevrolet 29.351s (-0.197) 129.767 mph
17. #56 Martin Truex Jr. Toyota 29.357s (-0.203) 129.741 mph
18. #43 A.J. Allmendinger Ford 29.357s (-0.203) 129.741 mph
19. #99 Carl Edwards Ford 29.364s (-0.210) 129.710 mph
20. #2 Brad Keselowski Dodge 29.369s (-0.215) 129.688 mph
21. #1 Jamie McMurray Chevrolet 29.379s (-0.225) 129.644 mph
22. #22 Kurt Busch Dodge 29.379s (-0.225) 129.644 mph
23. #47 Bobby Labonte Toyota 29.382s (-0.228) 129.630 mph
24. #6 David Ragan Ford 29.390s (-0.236) 129.595 mph
25. #00 David Reutimann Toyota 29.396s (-0.242) 129.569 mph
26. #42 Juan Montoya Chevrolet 29.402s (-0.248) 129.542 mph
27. #83 Brian Vickers Toyota 29.422s (-0.268) 129.454 mph
28. #14 Tony Stewart Chevrolet 29.423s (-0.269) 129.450 mph
29. #9 Marcos Ambrose Ford 29.445s (-0.291) 129.353 mph
30. #17 Matt Kenseth Ford 29.457s (-0.303) 129.300 mph
31. #7 Robby Gordon Dodge 29.466s (-0.312) 129.261 mph
32. #46 Scott Speed Ford 29.503s (-0.349) 129.099 mph
33. #36 Dave Blaney Chevrolet 29.549s (-0.395) 128.898 mph
34. #66 Michael McDowell Toyota 29.549s (-0.395) 128.898 mph
35. #34 David Gilliland Ford 29.556s (-0.402) 128.867 mph
36. #87 Joe Nemechek Toyota 29.572s (-0.418) 128.798 mph
37. #55 Travis Kvapil Ford 29.591s (-0.437) 128.715 mph
38. #37 Josh Wise Ford 29.594s (-0.440) 128.702 mph
39. #51 Landon Cassill Chevrolet 29.622s (-0.468) 128.580 mph
40. #71 Andy Lally* Ford 29.648s (-0.494) 128.467 mph
41. #38 J.J. Yeley Ford 29.724s (-0.570) 128.139 mph
42. #32 Mike Bliss Ford 29.724s (-0.570) 128.139 mph
43. #13 Casey Mears Toyota 29.738s (-0.584) 128.079 mph

Saturday practice 2

1. #48 Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet 29.254s (Leader) 130.198 mph
2. #31 Jeff Burton Chevrolet 29.258s (-0.004) 130.180 mph
3. #29 Kevin Harvick Chevrolet 29.265s (-0.011) 130.149 mph
4. #16 Greg Biffle Ford 29.274s (-0.020) 130.109 mph
5. #24 Jeff Gordon Chevrolet 29.297s (-0.043) 130.007 mph
6. #33 Clint Bowyer Chevrolet 29.304s (-0.050) 129.975 mph
7. #18 Kyle Busch Toyota 29.307s (-0.053) 129.962 mph
8. #78 Regan Smith Chevrolet 29.308s (-0.054) 129.958 mph
9. #39 Ryan Newman Chevrolet 29.317s (-0.063) 129.918 mph
10. #43 A.J. Allmendinger Ford 29.320s (-0.066) 129.904 mph
11. #14 Tony Stewart Chevrolet 29.321s (-0.067) 129.900 mph
12. #5 Mark Martin Chevrolet 29.348s (-0.094) 129.781 mph
13. #88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Chevrolet 29.354s (-0.100) 129.754 mph
14. #4 Kasey Kahne Toyota 29.355s (-0.101) 129.750 mph
15. #27 Paul Menard Chevrolet 29.356s (-0.102) 129.745 mph
16. #36 Dave Blaney Chevrolet 29.374s (-0.120) 129.666 mph
17. #22 Kurt Busch Dodge 29.378s (-0.124) 129.648 mph
18. #2 Brad Keselowski Dodge 29.385s (-0.131) 129.617 mph
19. #20 Joey Logano Toyota 29.394s (-0.140) 129.577 mph
20. #6 David Ragan Ford 29.399s (-0.145) 129.555 mph
21. #56 Martin Truex Jr. Toyota 29.400s (-0.146) 129.551 mph
22. #11 Denny Hamlin Toyota 29.418s (-0.164) 129.472 mph
23. #42 Juan Montoya Chevrolet 29.425s (-0.171) 129.441 mph
24. #1 Jamie McMurray Chevrolet 29.437s (-0.183) 129.388 mph
25. #83 Brian Vickers Toyota 29.438s (-0.184) 129.384 mph
26. #99 Carl Edwards Ford 29.486s (-0.232) 129.173 mph
27. #46 Scott Speed Ford 29.528s (-0.274) 128.989 mph
28. #17 Matt Kenseth Ford 29.531s (-0.277) 128.976 mph
29. #47 Bobby Labonte Toyota 29.565s (-0.311) 128.828 mph
30. #55 Travis Kvapil Ford 29.590s (-0.336) 128.719 mph
31. #37 Josh Wise Ford 29.590s (-0.336) 128.719 mph
32. #9 Marcos Ambrose Ford 29.617s (-0.363) 128.602 mph
33. #7 Robby Gordon Dodge 29.629s (-0.375) 128.550 mph
34. #13 Casey Mears Toyota 29.636s (-0.382) 128.519 mph
35. #00 David Reutimann Toyota 29.646s (-0.392) 128.476 mph
36. #87 Joe Nemechek Toyota 29.659s (-0.405) 128.420 mph
37. #34 David Gilliland Ford 29.697s (-0.443) 128.255 mph
38. #51 Landon Cassill Chevrolet 29.715s (-0.461) 128.178 mph
39. #66 Michael McDowell Toyota 29.717s (-0.463) 128.169 mph
40. #32 Mike Bliss Ford 29.718s (-0.464) 128.165 mph
41. #30 David Stremme Chevrolet 29.754s (-0.500) 128.010 mph
42. #38 J.J. Yeley Ford 29.783s (-0.529) 127.885 mph
43. #71 Andy Lally* Ford 30.473s (-1.219) 124.989 mph