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Mar 11

Stewart holds off Johnson for first Vegas victory (+result)

 Tony Stewart scratched another race track off the bucket list

2012-02-26_0086Tony Stewart Victoire Las Vegas - Todd Warshaw - Getty ImagesPowering 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.

Tony Stewart Victory Vegas - photo NASCAR

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.”

Result:

Pos. Start Num. Driver Team/Sponsor Laps Points Status
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 -
21 35 34 David Ragan Ford 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 -
28 43 30 David Stremme Toyota 263 16 -
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 -
33 34 38 David Gilliland Ford 258 11 -
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

 

source: NASCAR.com