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Stewart holds off Gordon in Kansas

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
Sunday, October 04, 2009

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Tony Stewart, driver of the No. 14 Office Depot/Old Spice Chevrolet, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Price Chopper 400
Geoff Burke/Getty Images for NASCAR
Two-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Tony Stewart took two tires on his final pit stop and held off hard-charging Jeff Gordon, a four-time champion himself, at the finish to win the Price Chopper 400 at Kansas Speedway Sunday afternoon.

Stewart, a first-year car owner/driver, raced hard all afternoon with the frontrunners and gambled with crew chief Darian Grubb on the two-tire strategy at the end.

When asked if he saw Gordon in his rear view mirror, Stewart quipped, "He was getting bigger every lap."

Trailing Stewart and Gordon across the finish line were Greg Biffle, Juan Pablo Montoya, Denny Hamlin, Kasey Kahne, Mark Martin, David Reutimann, Jimmie Johnson and Carl Edwards.

All of the top-10 drivers except Reutimann are battling in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup during the season's final 10 races. Martin, the 50-year-old favorite of older fans, still leads the championship chase with three-time champion Johnson second in the standings. Montoya, with his third consecutive top-five finish in as many races, moved into third place.

The race had 14 different leaders and 25 lead changes, both new track records. It also featured several wheel-to-wheel battles for the lead before a crowd of close to 100,000 at the scenic one-and-a-half mile tri-oval track.

Points leader Martin, in fact, passed several cars in the final laps to get his eighth-place finish.

Dale Earnhardt, Jr., led briefly early in the race but a series of mishaps put him back in the pack and his engine finally quit about 30 laps from the finish.

Martin pulled away at the start on a sun-splashed, perfect-for-racing afternoon. On the second lap, Joey Logano got loose in Turn 2 and spun off the track in a cloud of smoke.

Logano made national news at Dover International Speedway last weekend when his Joe Gibbs Toyota made the spectacular-crashes highlight reel, flipping and rolling in a heart-stopping accident. The young driver was not injured and came back Saturday to win the NASCAR Nationwide race at Kansas Speedway, passing teammate Kyle Busch with just two laps to go.

The action at Kansas Speedway resumed on Lap 5 with Martin out front but a multi-car wreck one lap later involved at least five cars and brought out another caution flag. Paul Menard triggered the accident getting sideways out of Turn 2, collecting the machines of Michael Waltrip, David Ragan, Max Papis and Bobby Labonte.

Martin once again led the restart at Lap 11 but Earnhardt moved ahead on Lap 12 and Keselowski passed Martin for second.

At 50 laps, the field had spread out with Earnhardt leading. Keselowski was second followed by Johnson, Stewart, Martin, Reutimann, Kahne, McMurray, Kenseth and Montoya.

Earnhardt fans were ecstatic seeing the green and white No. 88 out front.

Green-flag pit stops started at Lap 53 and once all the leaders had new Goodyears and a full tank of Sunoco gasoline, it was Johnson out front trailed by Keselowski,  Johnson, Stewart, Reutimann, Kahne, Martin, Kenseth and Montoya.

Earnhardt dropped all the way back to 32nd after a miscue forced him to return to the pits a second time for a missing lug nut. He lost a lap due to the mishap. 

Another caution slowed the field at Lap 69 when Reid Sorensen glanced off the Turn 2 wall.

Biffle took the lead on the Lap 75 restart with Truex second. Kurt Busch was third and Johnson fourth

Biffle and Johnson battled each other fender to fender until Papis got in the way and forced Biffle to give up the lead to Johnson on Lap 102. At that point, it was Johnson, Biffle, Stewart, Keselowski, Montoya, Gordon, Kenseth, Truex, Martin and Hamlin.

Keselowski was the first to pit again on Lap 124 but the caution came out when Brian Vickers spun coming out of Turn 4.

When the race resumed on Lap 130, just a few laps short of halfway, Biffle was back in the lead ahead of Johnson, Montoya, Gordon, Stewart, Hamlin, Martin, Kyle Busch, Kahne and Reutimann. Keselowski had dropped back to 25th.

Results

FIN ST CAR DRIVER MAKE SPONSOR PTS/BNS LAPS STATUS
1 5 14 Tony Stewart Chevrolet Office Depot / Old Spice 190/5 267 Running
2 9 24 Jeff Gordon Chevrolet DuPont 170/0 267 Running
3 31 16 Greg Biffle Ford Sherwin Williams / 3M 175/10 267 Running
4 14 42 Juan Montoya Chevrolet Target 165/5 267 Running
5 22 11 Denny Hamlin Toyota FedEx Freight 160/5 267 Running
6 6 9 Kasey Kahne Dodge Budweiser 150/0 267 Running
7 1 5 Mark Martin Chevrolet Carquest / Kellogg's 151/5 267 Running
8 13 00 David Reutimann Toyota Aaron's Dream Machine 142/0 267 Running
9 11 48 Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet Lowe's / Kobalt Tools 143/5 267 Running
10 17 99 Carl Edwards Ford Aflac 139/5 267 Running
11 39 2 Kurt Busch Dodge Miller Lite 135/5 267 Running
12 34 18 Kyle Busch Toyota M&M's 127/0 267 Running
13 3 25 Brad Keselowski Chevrolet GoDaddy.com 129/5 267 Running
14 27 47 Marcos Ambrose Toyota Little Debbie / Kingsford / Clorox 121/0 267 Running
15 36 07 Casey Mears Chevrolet Jack Daniel's 118/0 267 Running
16 21 1 Martin Truex Jr. Chevrolet Bass Pro Shops / Tracker 120/5 267 Running
17 15 44 A.J. Allmendinger Dodge Valvoline 117/5 267 Running
18 33 77 Sam Hornish Jr. Dodge Mobil 1 109/0 267 Running
19 16 21 Bill Elliott Ford Motorcraft 106/0 267 Running
20 42 19 Elliott Sadler Dodge Best Buy 108/5 267 Running
21 8 33 Clint Bowyer Chevrolet Cheerios / Hamburger Helper 100/0 267 Running
22 30 39 Ryan Newman Chevrolet U.S. Army 97/0 267 Running
23 35 31 Jeff Burton Chevrolet Caterpillar 94/0 267 Running
24 38 29 Kevin Harvick Chevrolet Reese's 91/0 267 Running
25 32 12 David Stremme Dodge Penske Racing 88/0 267 Running
26 28 43 Reed Sorenson Dodge McDonald's Monopoly 85/0 267 Running
27 10 82 Scott Speed * Toyota Red Bull 82/0 267 Running
28 18 20 Joey Logano * Toyota The Home Depot 79/0 267 Running
29 41 96 Erik Darnell Ford Northern Tool + Equipment 76/0 265 Running
30 20 98 Paul Menard Ford Zecol / Menards 73/0 265 Running
31 4 26 Jamie McMurray Ford Crown Royal 70/0 264 Running
32 43 113 Max Papis * Toyota GEICO 67/0 263 Running
33 40 34 John Andretti Chevrolet Taco Bell 69/5 263 Running
34 37 7 Robby Gordon Toyota Mapei / Menards 61/0 263 Running
35 25 6 David Ragan Ford UPS Freight 58/0 256 Running
36 2 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Chevrolet National Guard / Amp Energy 60/5 232 Out of Race
37 12 83 Brian Vickers Toyota Red Bull 52/0 208 Out of Race
38 29 55 Michael Waltrip Toyota NAPA Auto Parts 49/0 141 In Pit
39 23 17 Matt Kenseth Ford Dewalt 51/5 134 Out of Race
40 24 66 Dave Blaney Toyota Prism Motorsports 43/0 28 Out of Race
41 19 09 Mike Bliss Dodge Miccosukee Resort & Gaming 40/0 26 In Pit
42 7 187 Joe Nemechek Toyota NEMCO Motorsports 37/0 25 In Pit
43 26 171 Bobby Labonte Chevrolet Mahindra Tractors 34/0 6 In Pit

* Denotes Rookie

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