For the second week in a row, Tony Stewart stretches his fuel and finds victory lane, this time at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway, becoming the second driver to win the first two races of the Chase (Greg Biffle – 2008). This was Stewart’s 41st career and eighth victory with Stewart-Haas Racing.
[media-credit name=”CIA Stock Photo” align=”alignright” width=”225″][/media-credit]Clint Bowyer ran out of gas with two laps remaining, giving the lead and win to Stewart. The ending was similar to last fall when Stewart ran out of fuel on the final lap and Bowyer passed him for the lead and win.
“If that’s not a flip-flop from last year, I don’t know what is.” Stewart said. “I know exactly what that feels like. I know exactly how he feels right now. I saw him slowing down the back and I thought, ‘Oh, no, you’re kidding me’. That’s not the way you want to win it.”
Along with last weeks Chase opening win at Chicagoland Speedway, Stewart now finds himself in the series points lead for the first time during the ‘Chase’ since he won the title in 2005. He leads by 7 points over Kevin Harvick.
“It’s way too early to start counting chickens.” Stewart said.
Brad Keselowski finished second, Biffle third, Jeff Gordon fourth and Brian Vickers finished fifth.
Keselowski had his best career finish at the mile long flat track.
“I hate these fuel mileage races. We like to run hard and go. We had a really fast car that could have been second or third no matter what, but I just wish it didn’t come down to that. I would have liked to see how hard we could have run and see if we could have caught them.” Biffle said.
“I’m proud just to get through what looked to be a rough weekend with an awesome finish. I’m proud of my Miller Lite Dodge team. Getting the right adjustments in the car all race and doing all those things that it takes. It’s been a good roll.” Keselowski said of his second place finish.
Chase drivers Matt Kenseth finished sixth, Carl Edwards eighth, Kyle Busch 11th, Harvick 12th, Dale Earnhardt Jr. 17th, Jimmie Johnson 18th, Kurt Busch 22nd and Ryan Newman finished 25th.
“We had a fast car all day. I was real happy with the car. Real competitive. Got to race up front. We had a real good car.” Earnhard Jr. said. “We had a flat tire that cost us a lot more track position and I had another flat in the last couple laps there. Just didn’t hit nobody or nothing; just had too much camber or something in the front right.”
Gordon he led a race high of 79 laps but had to conserve fuel to make it to the finish.
“I’m just glad we finished fourth. It is tough conditions to race in (saving fuel). I don’t think that we wanted to see back-to-back fuel mileage races like this, but, it is kind of the name of the game these days.” Gordon said. “There at the end, conserved fuel. It is something that we need to be better at. We did it and we made it and we finished fourth so we’ll take that. We made some gains in points. But, not necessarily overall to the leader.”
The series heads to Dover International Speedway next weekend for the third of ten ‘Chase’ races.
|Unofficial Race Results|
|Sylvania 300, New Hampshire Motor Speedway|
|16||9||56||Martin Truex Jr.||Toyota||29|
|17||12||88||Dale Earnhardt Jr.||Chevrolet||27|
|34||42||71||Andy Lally *||Ford||10|