Clint Bowyer won the first race of his Nextel Cup career in the opening event of the 10-race "Chase for the Nextel Cup" at the New Hampshire International Speedway. The No.07 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet driver, making just his 64th start, crossed the finish line 6.469 seconds ahead of Jeff Gordon. The win helped Bowyer jump from 12th (last) in the "Chase" to fourth. "I knew we could do it, the Jack Daniels Chevrolet was fast," said Bowyer. Bowyer, who won the Sylvania 300 pole on Friday, brought the field to the green flag for 300 laps around the 1.058-mile NHIS oval. The first-year "Chase" driver took off quickly, leading the first lap and earning a five- point bonus. Bowyer built his lead to more than three seconds after just 20 laps, but a "competition" caution on lap 35 would slow his torrid pace. All the drivers pitted, but when they restarted it was still the No.07 Chevrolet with the lead. The surprise on the stop was from the Elliott Sadler crew who used a two-tire change to grab second place. The two-tire strategy didnt seem to work for Sadler as it took less than 10 laps before he fell out of the top-10. Kurt Busch, who won twice at NHIS in 2004, took up chasing Bowyer with Tony Stewart, Kevin Harvick and Jimmie Johnson. And Gordon, who started 18th, cracked the top-10 on lap 44. Busch had no better luck than anyone else and by lap 65 Bowyer had rebuilt the lead to more than two seconds. On the next caution flag (Ward Burton spin), Bowyer lost three spots on pit road to come out fourth. The new leader was Stewart with Gordon and Ryan Newman in front of Bowyer. All three leaders took just two tires. It took Bowyer four laps to pass Newman, but Gordon and Stewart were a bit tougher. He passed Gordon in six laps but couldnt get closer than half-a- second of the No.20 Home Depot Chevrolet for the next 20 laps. Bowyer finally got his man on lap 110 and returned to the lead. Then the first "Chase" casualty as Kurt Busch radioed on lap 120 that he thought he was losing a cylinder. A dozen laps later Kevin Harvick had a right-front tire go down and it left him down a lap to the leaders. But Harvick was luckier than Busch as he got through the next round of green flag pit stops without a caution flag and returned to the lead lap. Busch, on the other hand was in 22nd place and still sliding backwards. he would finish 25th. At the mid-point, Bowyer held a 3.670-second lead on Gordon. Johnson, Stewart and Newman made up the top-five. A caution flag erased the big lead, but Bowyer was determined to rebuild it once the race went back to green. The next caution flag and again some cars took just two tires to get track position, leaving the best car on the track, Bowyer to restart in fifth place. Kyle Busch used the strategy this time and grabbed the lead and five-point bonus. Behind him was Casey Mears, Harvick and Gordon. Bowyer made his way around Gordon and Harvick, but then a caution flag for a Dale Earnhardt Jr. spin, slowed his charge towards the leaders. On the first green flag lap Bowyer took second from Mears and just one car was between him and the lead. Three laps later, on lap 187, Bowyer dropped to the bottom of the track and passed Kyle Busch for the lead. Another caution flag, but when they went back to green, Bowyer took control. With clean air in front of him, Bowyer easily built the lead to more than one second and on lap 202 clinched the five-point bonus for "most laps led." By lap 210 Bowyers lead was 3.300 seconds. Twenty laps later the margin was up to 4.704 seconds over Gordon who got around Stewart for the runner-up spot. Final stops of the day started around lap 234 with Carl Edwards, Matt Kenseth and Stewart. One lap later Gordon made the turn down pit road and Bowyer made his stop on lap 237. No problems and away they went. The field cycled through their stops and Bowyer regained the top spot on lap 252. His lead was 4.399 seconds over Gordon and if he could avoid any mechanical problems or spinning cars a first Nextel Cup win would be his. Thirty laps to go and Gordon chopped the lead to 3.799 seconds, but that was mainly because Bowyer was lapping slower traffic. He re-established the lead to more than four seconds as he found some clean air as the laps dwindled down to just a few. Ten laps remaining and the lead was up to 5.610 seconds. Bowyer took the checkered flag without challenge, leading a total of 222 of 300 laps. "Im not going to kid you, I was about to throw up over the last 30 laps," said Bowyer. "Im so proud of these guys." "He was the class of the field today," said Gordon of Bowyer. Stewart, Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jr. completed the top-five. Johnson finished sixth and he and Gordon will share the points lead (5,210) heading to the Dover International Speedway for race No.2 of the "Chase for the Nextel Cup."