NASCAR At Charlotte: Matt Kenseth Wins, Carl Edwards Keeps Point Lead, Jimmie Johnson Crashes

Matt Kenseth won the Bank of America 500 to pull himself closer to title contention, while a vicious crash might have ended Jimmie Johnson's hopes for his sixth-straight Sprint Cup championship.

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6 Total Updates since October 15, 2011
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NASCAR Bank Of America 500 Results: Matt Kenseth Wins;Jimmie Johnson Crashes Late

Matt Kenseth got the first win of his career at Charlotte Motor Speedway, winning the 2000 Coca-Cola 600. Saturday, he picked up one of the biggest victories of his career, taking the Bank of America 500 and taking a big step towards pulling himself into contention to win the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup title.

Kyle Busch finished second after starting last, while Carl Edwards, Kasey Kahne, and Marcos Ambrose rounded out the top-five. Kevin Harvick, A.J. Allmendinger, Tony Stewart, Denny Hamlin, and Ryan Newman rounded out the top-10 finishers.

Jimmie Johnson's hopes for a sixth-straight title may have come to a halt with possibly the hardest hit of his Sprint Cup career.

Johnson was battling Newman and Kahne for seventh position late when his Chevrolet snapped loose in turn two. He slid down onto the apron before the car snapped back across the track and slammed the wall head-on. The vicious blow lifted the back wheels of Johnson's No. 48 Chevrolet off the track. Johnson took a moment to catch his breath before climbing out of the car.

After two less-than-stellar results opening the Chase, Johnson had finished second at Dover and won at Kansas last week. The accident led to a finish of 35th, drops him a significant amount outside the point lead with only five races remaining after tonight.

Edwards, who led by one point over Harvick entering the night, has a six-point edge.

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NASCAR Bank Of America 500 Update: Kyle Busch Leads After Starting Last

With fewer than 80 laps remaining and after beginning the night from the rear of the field, Kyle Busch's No. 18 Toyota leads the Bank of America 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Busch's team was forced to change engines earlier in the weekend, and per NASCAR rules that state that a team can only use one engine throughout the weekend, were forced for forfeit their qualifying position and drop to the tail end of the field.

Roush-Fenway drivers Matt Kenseth, Carl Edwards, and Greg Biffle run second through fourth. Biffle was dominant in the first half of the race before a lugnut miscue on a green-flag pit stop dropped him off the lead lap. Kasey Kahne rounds out the top-five.

David Ragan of Unadilla, in the fourth Roush-Fenway Ford, holds down sixth spot, followed by Marcos Ambrose, Denny Hamlin, A.J. Allmendinger, and Kevin Harvick.

Two drivers previously in the top-10 all night long who are now outside it are Tony Stewart and Trevor Bayne. Stewart had pitted from third position for a routine green-flag pit stop when Bayne's Ford ran out of fuel and stalled on the backstretch, drawing a caution flag. Stewart runs 13th, while Bayne is three laps down in the 32nd-position.

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NASCAR At Charlotte Update: Tony Stewart Leads Past Halfway Point; Daytona 500 Champ Trevor Bayne Solid

A pit road miscue that dropped Greg Biffle's dominant Ford - at least for the time being - out of contention has allowed polesitter Tony Stewart to regain the lead in the Bank of America 500 at Charlotte. The race is 170 laps old, past the 167-lap midpoint. Stewart shows the way ahead of Kyle Busch, Carl Edwards, Marcos Ambrose, and David Ragan.

The rest of the top-10 includes Matt Kenseth - who took four tires on the most-recent caution period while most of the leaders took four - followed by Ryan Newman, Denny Hamlin, A.J. Allmendinger, and Trevor Bayne. Biffle, still trying to recover from a missing lugnut that necessitated a second-trip down the pit lane, is shown 15th.

For Bayne, it is easily the best run he has had since winning the season-opening Daytona 500 in February. That triumph in the Great American Race endeared the 20-year-old native of Knoxville to the masses. He had struggled mightily since that win on the Sprint Cup side of things while victimized by bad luck on the Nationwide Series side. In addition he missed a month of action while being treated for Lyme Disease. Tonight - which began with the devout Christian offering the pre-race invocation - he has run in the top-10 for nearly  the entire duration of the race and routinely turned among the fastest laps on the track.

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NASCAR Bank of America 500 Update: Greg Biffle Leads at 100-Lap Point

Greg Biffle is still seeking his first win of the 2011 season, and thus far the Roush-Fenway Racing driver appears to have a very real opportunity to take tonight's Bank of America 500. After 100 of 334 laps around the 1.5-mile Charlotte Motor Speedway, Biffle leads. Pole-sitter Tony Stewart runs second, followed by Matt Kenseth, Jimmie Johnson, and Ryan Newman.

The rest of the top-10 features Unadilla, GA, native David Ragan, Carl Edwards, A.J. Allmendinger, Trevor Bayne, and Kevin Harvick.

Drivers outside the top-10 but in the Chase for the Sprint Cup title include Denny Hamlin (12th), Kyle Busch (15th after starting at the rear of the field), Kurt Busch (19th), Brad Keselowski (25th), and Jeff Gordon (27th).

There has been but one caution flag through the opening 100 circuits, for debris at lap 77. Newman and Harvick took only two tires on their pit stops under the caution flag to pick up track position, but both have drifted back since the race restarted.

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NASCAR At Charlotte Update: Tony Stewart Leads Early On From Pole Position

Tony Stewart started from the pole in tonight's Bank of America 500 at the Charlotte Motor Speedway and has led the opening 30 circuits of the fifth race of the 2011 Chase for the Sprint Cup title. Greg Biffle is shown second, followed by his Roush-Fenway Racing teammates Matt Kenseth and Carl Edwards. Five-time reigning champion Jimmie Johnson rounds out the top five.

Sixth-place at the one-tenth mark of tonight's race is A.J. Allmendinger, seeking his first-career win and the first for a car bearing Richard Petty's famous No. 43 since John Andretti took "The King" to victory lane at Martinsville in April 1999. The remainder of the top-10 features Ryan Newman, Unadilla's David Ragan, Kasey Kahne, and Daytona 500 champion Trevor Bayne.

Kyle Busch started last after being forced to change the motor in his Toyota earlier this weekend and has moved up to the 27th position. He brings up the rear amongst the 12 Chase drivers, though only two positions behind 25th-placed Brad Keselowski.

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NASCAR At Charlotte: Circuit Returns Home For Midpoint Of The Chase

With a tight championship battle in hand, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series heads home for this weekend's Bank of America 500 at the Charlotte Motor Speedway (Saturday, 7.p.m on ABC). Just 12 points seperate the top-five drivers, and three more are within 20 points of leader Carl Edwards.

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