BRISTOL, Tenn. -- Clint Bowyer outraced Kasey Kahne and the rain to win the Nationwide Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway when it was stopped just past halfway.
"It feels awesome," Bowyer said Saturday after a lengthy stoppage as NASCAR tried to resume the race. "I'll take it any way you can get it."
Rain delayed the start of the race by two hours, and when the field finally went green, all the drivers knew they were running against the weather. With dark clouds rolling in, the goal was simply to make it to the halfway point -- when NASCAR considers a race official -- and be out front whenever the rain resumed.
So Bowyer used strategy -- he was one of a handful of cars not to pit when Mike Bliss spun to bring out the sixth caution 100 laps into the event.
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Knowing the race only needed to go another 51 laps to be considered official, Bowyer gambled that the cars who did pit wouldn't be able to catch him before the rain came.
Kahne came close, weaving his way through traffic and moving right behind Bowyer as the skies darkened. He looked briefly inside for a pass for the lead, but didn't force the issue and was stuck in second when the race was stopped on lap 171 of 300.
As he sat in his car waiting for NASCAR to make a decision, Kahne lamented the lost opportunity.
"I should already be in the lead, I pretty much blew that," he said. "I should have pressed the issue a little bit and I'm disappointed I'm in second. I should be leading. He shouldn't be leading. I just let him have it."
Bowyer didn't have much sympathy for the competition.
"Kasey had the best car," he conceded, "but the best car doesn't always win."
NHRA, at Gainesville, Fla. -- Nearly a month after one of the most spectacular Funny Car explosions in NHRA history, Tony Pedregon earned the No. 1 qualifying position in the ACDelco Gatornationals.
Pedregon covered the quarter-mile distance at historic Gainesville Raceway in 4.780 seconds at 326.40 mph in his Chevy Impala for his 32nd No. 1 qualifying effort and first since July 2005.
Alan Bradshaw (Top Fuel), Warren Johnson (Pro Stock) and Matt Guidera (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also were No. 1 qualifiers at the third of 24 NHRA POWERade Series events in 2008.