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Tony Stewart continues Watkins Glen domination

Rain delayed NASCAR Sprint Cup
Monday, August 10, 2009

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Tony Stewart, driver of the No. 14 Old Spice Chevrolet, leads the field during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips at Watkins Glen International
Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR
After a major adjustment early in the race got Stewart’s No. 14 Chevrolet handling the way the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series points leader wanted, Stewart held off Marcos Ambrose during a 17-lap run to the finish and crossed the finish line 2.969 seconds ahead of the Australian road-course ace.

The victory was Stewart’s fifth at Watkins Glen International, his third of the season and the 36th of his Cup career. Stewart opened his lead in the series standings to 260 points over polesitter Jimmie Johnson, who finished 12th after spinning off the course in Turn 1 late in the race.

The second-place finish was Ambrose’s series-best to date, improving by one position over his results at the Glen last year and at Infineon Raceway in June. Carl Edwards came home third after a strategic run from the 33rd starting position.

Kyle Busch ran fourth, and though he remained 13th in the standings, he trimmed his deficit in points to 12th position — now occupied by Monday's 14th-place finisher Matt Kenseth — from 101 to 58 points with four races remaining before the field for the 12-driver Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup is set Sept. 12 at Richmond.

From Stewart’s point of view, making changes to the car under caution on Lap 19 was a critical juncture in the race.

Tony Stewart, driver of the No. 14 Old Spice Chevrolet, gets doused with champagne
Chris Graythen/Getty Images for NASCAR
“Our crew did an awesome job on the pit stop,” said Stewart, who led the last 24 laps after out-braking Busch into Turn 1 after a restart on Lap 67 of 90. “We had asked for a lot of changes there — and a lot of lengthy changes. Our guys did a great job of getting us in and out of the pits there, and we never lost very much track position, so we were able to make it up. We had a fast car today.”

Stewart’s car was fast enough to withstand pressure from Ambrose, who dogged Stewart until the final two laps, when the driver of the No. 47 Toyota backed off to conserve fuel.

“I was watching him,” said Stewart, who will clinch a spot in the Chase when he takes the green flag Sunday at Michigan. “There were parts of the track where we were stronger than he was and parts where he was stronger than us. But I think we were stronger in the parts of the track that we needed to be to hold him off, if he got any closer.”

Ambrose said the setup of his car wasn’t quite right for a track that became hotter and slicker on Monday, after rain on Sunday washed the rubber from the racing surface.

“We missed it just a little bit,” said Ambrose who was trying to complete a double at the Glen after winning Saturday’s NASCAR Nationwide Series race. “I thought our car in practice on Saturday was better than what we had today.

“It was on the edge the whole time. If I had the perfect line — did everything just right — I could get away with it. But the track was slick. We were slightly aggressive on our setup for it. We didn’t really get a chance to tune on it, either. I think we only changed a quarter-pound of tire pressure all day because we were pitting under green and didn’t have time to do anything to it.”

NASCAR's biggest star wadded up yet another car
Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR
Jeff Gordon, third in the standings, took a major hit in points after taking a major hit on the racetrack. After contact from Kasey Kahne, Sam Hornish Jr.’s No. 77 Dodge bounced off the tire barrier at the exit of Turn 5 and back across the track into Gordon’s No. 24, ending the race for both drivers on Lap 63.

Gordon finished 37th, and though he retained third place in the series standings, he fell 342 points behind Stewart. The accident, which also involved Jeff Burton, Andy Lally and Joey Logano, caused a 19-minute, 35-second stoppage while track workers cleaned debris from the crash.

Results

FIN

ST CAR DRIVER MAKE SPONSOR PTS/BNS LAPS STATUS
1 13 14 Tony Stewart Chevrolet Old Spice / Office Depot 195/10 90 Running
2 4 47 Marcos Ambrose Toyota Little Debbie / Kingsford / Clorox 175/5 90 Running
3 33 99 Carl Edwards Ford Aflac 165/0 90 Running
4 8 18 Kyle Busch Toyota M&M's 165/5 90 Running
5 7 16 Greg Biffle Ford 3M 155/0 90 Running
6 10 42 Juan Montoya Chevrolet Target 150/0 90 Running
7 2 2 Kurt Busch Dodge Miller Lite 151/5 90 Running
8 16 113 Max Papis * Toyota GEICO 142/0 90 Running
9 38 33 Clint Bowyer Chevrolet Cheerios / Hamburger Helper 138/0 90 Running
10 3 11 Denny Hamlin Toyota FedEx Freight 134/0 90 Running
11 20 83 Brian Vickers Toyota Red Bull 130/0 90 Running
12 1 48 Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet Lowe's 132/5 90 Running
13 18 44 A.J. Allmendinger Dodge Stanley Tools 124/0 90 Running
14 42 17 Matt Kenseth Ford Dewalt 121/0 90 Running
15 11 07 Casey Mears Chevrolet Jack Daniel's 118/0 90 Running
16 35 20 Joey Logano * Toyota The Home Depot 115/0 90 Running
17 12 9 Kasey Kahne Dodge Budweiser 112/0 90 Running
18 22 7 Robby Gordon Toyota Jim Beam 109/0 90 Running
19 14 98 Paul Menard Ford Sylvania / Menards 106/0 90 Running
20 27 96 Bobby Labonte Ford DLP 103/0 90 Running
21 6 39 Ryan Newman Chevrolet U.S. Army 100/0 90 Running
22 26 82 Scott Speed * Toyota Red Bull 102/5 90 Running
23 28 5 Mark Martin Chevrolet Carquest / Kellogg's 94/0 90 Running
24 40 6 David Ragan Ford UPS 91/0 90 Running
25 25 00 David Reutimann Toyota Aaron's Dream Machine 88/0 90 Running
26 5 12 David Stremme Dodge Penske Racing 90/5 90 Running
27 15 171 Andy Lally Chevrolet Adobe Road Winery 82/0 90 Running
28 23 1 Martin Truex Jr. Chevrolet Bass Pro Shops / Tracker 79/0 90 Running
29 37 09 Ron Fellows Chevrolet Miccosukee Resort & Gaming 76/0 84 Running
30 34 34 John Andretti Chevrolet Taco Bell 73/0 84 Running
31 29 43 Reed Sorenson Dodge McDonald's 70/0 78 Running
32 19 19 Elliott Sadler Dodge Best Buy 67/0 78 Running
33 17 55 Patrick Carpentier Toyota NAPA Auto Parts 64/0 78 Running
34 9 08 Boris Said Ford U.S. Chrome 61/0 74 Overheating
35 21 29 Kevin Harvick Chevrolet Shell / Pennzoil 58/0 68 Running
36 36 77 Sam Hornish Jr. Dodge Mobil 1 55/0 61 Accident
37 31 24 Jeff Gordon Chevrolet DuPont 52/0 61 Accident
38 30 31 Jeff Burton Chevrolet Caterpillar 49/0 61 Accident
39 32 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Chevrolet National Guard / Amp Energy 46/0 60 Running
40 24 26 Jamie McMurray Ford Crown Royal 43/0 58 Engine
41 39 204 P.J. Jones Toyota Jim Beam / Menards 40/0 13 Overheating
42 41 66 Dave Blaney Toyota Prism Motorsports 37/0 11 Brakes
43 43 37 Tony Ave Dodge Long John Silver's 34/0 8 Transmission

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