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Stewart Now A Proud Owner Of A Sprint Cup Victory

| , RacinToday.com Sunday, June 7 2009

Tony Stewart celebrates in Victory Lane after winning  the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pocono 500 (Photo by John Harrelson/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Tony Stewart celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pocono 500 (Photo by John Harrelson/Getty Images for NASCAR)


Tony Stewart got his first victory as a Sprint Cup-team owner/driver Sunday and he got it by going slow – not by going slow because he wanted to, but because he felt he had to.

The Pocono 500 had turned into a fuel-mileage job and Stewart was forced to get stingy over the final 10 laps at Pocono Speedway and that is what gave him the victory in the Pocono 500.

Carl Edwards, who led the most laps in the race, finished second and David Reutimann was third. Both of them also were playing the fuel-mileage game of roulette.

Jeff Gordon was fourth and Ryan Newman, who drives one of the Stewart Haas Racing cars owned by Stewart, was fifth.

“Awesome weekend,” Stewart said upon emerging from his car in victory lane.

Stewart’s weekend got an early assist from the weather as qualifying was rained out on Friday. That would have given the two-time Cup champion and current points-leader pole position for the race. But a wreck in practice sent him to a backup car and to the rear of the field for the start.

The points lead did allow him to keep his choice of pit stalls, which proved important as he got a lead he never lost by beating the field out of the pits on the key caution of the race.

Stewart led the final 35 laps of green.

He became the first owner/driver to win since Ricky Rudd did it in 1998.

“I’m ecstatic,” Stewart said. “It was nice to get that All-Star win this year but it was nice to get that first point win too.” 

Stewart heads to Michigan International Speedway for the next race with a 71-point lead over Gordon.

Third in points is Jimmie Johnson, who like Stewart late in the race, was playing the fuel-mileage game.

Unlike Stewart, Johnson lost on his gamble to not top off with late in the race. His car slowed in the final lap and he coasted home seventh.

“At the end,” Johnson said, “we were just playing the fuel mileage game and I didn’t play it very well.”

Edwards was not happy after the race, but had the potential to have his mood brighten on Monday.

“I’ll probably be happy later today, but right now, man, to be that close to victory and to not win, that is frustrating,” he said. ” The cool part about it is, it kind of felt like we’re in the form that we were in at the end of last season. We ran really well, I could pass people, I felt like if Tony and I had to race there at the end, I felt really good about my chances of being to win the race on speed. So, the points are great, though. That’s really what it boils down to. All this is great, but you’ve got to keep your pride in check, and know that the real race is with 10 to go. So, I definitely take something good out of this.”

Reutimann, on the other hand, was perfectly content to accept a podium finish.

“Yeah, he (Rodney Childers, crew chief) had another one. He has been keeping us up front all year,” Reutimann said. “We had a pretty decent car all day, he told us to save, save, save that last pit stop and said we were probably one of the few cars that could make it. There towards the end I think we were all running 5 seconds slower. We were supposed to be trying to save fuel and it ended up  working out. We had a good day, good pit stops all day and the car was pretty good since we unloaded it. Guys at Michael Waltrip Racing and Aarons Dream Machine – just real happy. This is like a win for me here because I have sucked so bad here  in the past, it is great to be in the top five.” 


Unofficial results of Sunday’s Pocono 500:

  1. Tony Stewart
  2. Carl Edwards
  3. David Reutimann
  4. Jeff Gordon
  5. Ryan Newman
  6. Marcos Ambrose
  7. Jimmie Johnson
  8. Juan Montoya
  9. Jeff Burton
  10. Sam Hornish Jr.
  11. Greg Biffle
  12. Clint Bowyer
  13. Jamie McMurray
  14. Casey Mears
  15. Kasey Kahne
  16. Matt Kenseth
  17. Michael Waltrip
  18. Martin Truex Jr.
  19. Mark Martin
  20. Reed Sorenson
  21. Brian Vickers
  22. Kyle Busch
  23. Joey Logano
  24. Kevin Harvick
  25. Elliott Sadler
  26. David Ragan
  27. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
  28. Bobby Labonte
  29. Paul Menard
  30. A.J. Allmendinger
  31. Robby Gordon
  32. Scott Speed
  33. Regan Smith
  34. David Stremme
  35. John Andretti
  36. Dexter Bean
  37. Kurt Busch
  38. Denny Hamlin
  39. Sterling Marlin
  40. Dave Blaney
  41. Joe Nemechek
  42. David Gilliland
  43. Patrick Carpentier
| , RacinToday.com Sunday, June 7 2009
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