LONG POND, PENNSYLVANIA (TICKER) -- Kurt Busch chased down Dale Earnhardt Jr. and gained some serious ground in the Chase for the Nextel Cup standings.
Busch had the dominant car throughout and ran down Earnhardt with 46 laps left to win Sunday's NASCAR Nextel Cup Series Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway.
It was the first victory this season and 16th career for Busch, who snapped a 51-race drought without a win. The 2005 winner of this race, Busch had not won since visiting Victory Lane at Bristol in March 2006.
"I feel like a newborn kid again," said Busch, who led a track-record 175 laps in his Dodge Charger. "I'm ready to run for this Chase."
The 2004 series champion, Busch entered Sunday's 13 points behind Earnhardt for the 12th and final spot in the Chase standings. But thanks to Sunday's victory, Busch climbed seven points in front of Earnhardt.
"In the big picture, we didn't gain many points on Dale Jr. today or any of the guys, because they ran well," said Busch, who has made up a total of 243 points over the last four races.
Chevrolet Monte Carlos finished second through sixth in this 200-lap event. Earnhardt ran second, followed by defending race winner Denny Hamlin, points leader Jeff Gordon and reigning series champion Jimmie Johnson.
Tony Stewart finished sixth while Ryan Newman placed seventh in a Dodge. Clint Bowyer, Mark Martin and Casey Mears rounded out the top 10 in Chevrolets.