Tony Stewart scratched another race track off the bucket list
Powering away from Jimmie Johnson after a restart with four laps left in Sunday’s Kobalt Tools 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, the reigning Sprint Cup champion took the checkered flag .461 seconds ahead of Johnson.
The victory was Stewart’s first at the 1.5-mile track, leaving only Darlington and Kentucky as active Cup tracks at which he hasn’t won.
The win was Stewart’s 45th, 15th all time, in 467 Cup starts
“Man, I’m just finally glad to win one here,” said Stewart, who had the fastest car in last year’s race but squandered his winning chances when he incurred a penalty for dragging an air wrench from his pit stall. “We were so close last year and had a dominant car.
“I’m not sure we had the dominant car [Sunday], but we had an awful fast Chevy. Just glad to finally, finally get one at Vegas.”
Greg Biffle, Ryan Newman and Carl Edwards came home third through fifth, respectively. Clint Bowyer, Paul Menard, Jamie McMurray, Trevor Bayne and Dale Earnhardt Jr. completed the top 10.
Stewart took two tires during a pit stop under caution on Lap 204 and pulled out to a comfortable lead over McMurray. A caution for debris slowed the field for the fifth time on Lap 228, and Stewart came to the pits for fuel only.
Brad Keselowski and Bowyer remained on the track and led the field to green on Lap 234, but Stewart regained the top spot with a three-wide dive to the inside moments after Keselowski crossed the stripe.
Stewart pulled out to a 1-second lead over Keselowski before Landon Cassill’s blown engine caused the sixth caution. As Stewart sped away after the restart on Lap 250, Keselowski’s fuel pickup failed, and the driver of the No. 2 Dodge took his car to the garage.
In fact, it was Stewart’s prowess on the restarts that proved the difference.
“Every time the caution came out, I’m like, ‘Not again,’ ” Stewart said. “You wonder how many times you’re going to give them a chance at it on a restart there, and when they’re going to be able to capitalize on us.
“But, that was our strong suit [Sunday]. We were really strong on the restarts. Just proud of the Hendrick engine department; making great steam with it. That was the key to our restarts was the power that we had. We could go without spinning the tires, and we could get a really good lead into Turn 1 and just haul butt down the backstretch.”
Johnson agreed that the restarts settled the issue.
“They were awfully strong,” Johnson said of Stewart and the No. 14 team. “The last two restarts … second to the last restart, I just blew it. He got away from me. The next to the last start, I felt like I got a good one. He still cruised away.
“My only chance was to be at his outside through [Turns] 1 and 2. Didn’t have that opportunity. He had the lane at that point. I drove my guts out, but just didn’t get it done.”
|1||7||14||Tony Stewart||Mobil 1/Office Depot Chevrolet||267||48||–|
|2||6||48||Jimmie Johnson||Lowe s/Kobalt Tools Chevrolet||267||43||–|
|3||9||16||Greg Biffle||3M/Meguiars Ford||267||42||–|
|4||18||39||Ryan Newman||Quicken Loans Chevrolet||267||40||–|
|5||21||99||Carl Edwards||Aflac Ford||267||39||–|
|6||5||15||Clint Bowyer||5-hour Energy Toyota||267||39||–|
|7||26||27||Paul Menard||Menards/Schrock Chevrolet||267||37||–|
|8||19||1||Jamie McMurray||McDonald s Chevrolet||267||36||–|
|9||25||21||Trevor Bayne(i)||Motorcraft/Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center Ford||267||0||–|
|10||4||88||Dale Earnhardt Jr.||National Guard/Diet Mountain Dew Chevrolet||267||35||–|
|11||3||29||Kevin Harvick||Budweiser Chevrolet||267||34||–|
|12||16||24||Jeff Gordon||DuPont 20 Years Chevrolet||267||33||–|
|13||15||9||Marcos Ambrose||DeWalt Ford||267||31||–|
|14||22||31||Jeff Burton||Caterpillar Chevrolet||267||30||–|
|15||28||78||Regan Smith||Furniture Row/Farm American Chevrolet||267||29||–|
|16||8||20||Joey Logano||Dollar General Toyota||267||28||–|
|17||10||56||Martin Truex Jr.||NAPA Auto Parts Toyota||267||27||–|
|18||13||55||Mark Martin||Aaron s Toyota||267||26||–|
|19||1||5||Kasey Kahne||Farmers Insurance Chevrolet||267||25||–|
|20||17||11||Denny Hamlin||FedEx Freight Toyota||267||24||–|
|22||11||17||Matt Kenseth||Zest Ford||267||23||–|
|23||2||18||Kyle Busch||M&M s Brown Toyota||266||21||–|
|24||27||43||Aric Almirola||Richard Petty Fantasy Racing Camp Ford||266||20||–|
|25||29||42||Juan Pablo Montoya||Clorox Chevrolet||264||19||–|
|26||24||47||Bobby Labonte||Kingsford/Bush s Beans Toyota||264||18||–|
|27||32||13||Casey Mears||GEICO Ford||264||17||–|
|29||38||36||Dave Blaney||Ollie s Bargain Outlet Chevrolet||263||15||–|
|30||41||32||Ken Schrader||Federated Auto Parts Ford||263||14||–|
|31||31||10||David Reutimann||Accell Construction Chevrolet||261||13||–|
|32||20||2||Brad Keselowski||Miller Lite Dodge||259||13||–|
|34||23||33||Brendan Gaughan||South Point Casino Chevrolet||252||10||–|
|35||12||51||Kurt Busch||Tag Heuer Eyewear Chevrolet||251||9||Accident|
|36||30||83||Landon Cassill||Burger King Toyota||240||8||Moteur|
|37||14||22||AJ Allmendinger||Pennzoil Dodge||238||8||–|
|38||39||98||Michael McDowell||Ford||147||6||Rear Gear|
|39||37||93||Travis Kvapil||Burger King Toyota||123||5||Moteur|
|40||33||26||Josh Wise *||1-800-Loan Mart Ford||64||4||Freins|
|41||40||87||Joe Nemechek(i)||AM FM Energy Wood & Pellet Stoves Toyota||44||0||Vibration|
|42||42||37||Timmy Hill *||Poynt.com Ford||42||2||Accident|
|43||36||49||JJ Yeley||America Israel Racing Toyota||39||1||Moteur|