NASCAR

Purvis benefits from rain to win O'Reilly 300

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FORT WORTH, Texas

Jeff Purvis came like a thief in the night and stole the O¿Reilly 300 on Saturday. And it actually was night when the race was concluded, as another rain storm darkened and dampened Texas Motor Speedway. Purvis¿ spirits, though, were hardly dark or damp. A two-tire pit stop got him the lead under a caution on Lap 108, and the rain did the rest. NASCAR displayed the red flag on Lap 116, 16 laps past the halfway mark that made the race official. And 10 minutes later, NASCAR called the race, sending Purvis to victory lane. The victory was the fourth of Purvis¿ career and the first ever for Brewco Motorsports¿ No. 37 Chevy team. While Purvis was thrilled, Jack Sprague had reason to be dejected. He dominated the race, leading 66 of the 116 laps, but lost it when Purvis beat him out of the pits. Sprague ended up second, matching his best career finish. Joe Nemechek was third, followed by Scott Riggs, pole winner Jeff Green, Kevin Harvick, Randy LaJoie, Bobby Hamilton Jr., Matt Kenseth and Jeff Burton. Mike Wallace was heartbroken, too. Wallace had stayed out under the caution, but one lap before the downpour, he headed to pit road to change tires. Instead of a victory, Wallace finished 27th. Greg Biffle, who led the Busch Series points standings coming in, had a mediocre day, bouncing off the wall at one point. He ended up 17th. Rain wreaked havoc with the day¿s activities, as a steady rain delayed the start for three-and-a-half hours. The race almost ready to start four hours late, but another spurt of rain delayed it again. Finally, a little after 5:30 p.m. ET, the green flag waved, but that lasted only one lap when Stuart Kirby ¿ driving his first race for car owner Jimmy Spencer ¿ lost control and hit the wall in Turn 1. The race restarted on Lap 7, and the green was out for 33 laps before a NASCAR caution for teams to check tire wear. Kenseth had closed on Green when the yellow was displayed, but Sprague got the top spot after good pit work. A lap after the race went green, Lyndon Amick lost it in Turn 1 and bounced off the wall. As he drifted down the track, Kevin Grubb, Kasey Kahne and Michael Waltrip collided trying to miss Amick, but Waltrip was forced into Amick¿s car. Waltrip¿s right front drilled the side of Amick¿s car, and Waltrip flipped on his roof. Waltrip slid for several hundred feet, and a fire briefly flashed. Waltrip was trapped inside the car as the tall driver couldn¿t find the room to get out. He was unhurt, though. ¿Don¿t really know what happened over than I slowed down, someone ran over me, and I flipped,¿ Waltrip said. ¿We still have to do something about how little these cars are. I was trapped, and I couldn¿t get out of it. There is still room enough inside the cars to make them bigger without doing anything. ¿My car was probably a little bit smaller than it should have been, and I couldn¿t get out of it. That¿s a concern of mine.¿ Under that caution, Shawn Pincola, a crewman for Tim Sauter¿s AP Performance team, was hit by a loose tire. He was taken to the infield care center, and then transported to Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas for further evaluation. The Busch Series returns to the track next week at Nashville Superspeedway for the running of the Pepsi 300.

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