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Tony Stewart wins Allstate 400

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by Tim Wohlford
July 29, 2007

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The Start
Russ Beaver/Sunrise Racing Photography

In a crash fest on another hazy, lazy Indiana summer day at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Tony Stewart won the Allstate 400. During the live post race TV interview, Tony Stewart said that, “This is for every one of those fans in the stands who pull for me and take the bullshit every week for it." Fines and controversy are sure to follow, but the fans roared their approval.

Second was Juan Pablo Montoya, followed by Jeff Gordon and Kyle Busch.

When the green flag dropped, Team Ganassi's Reed Sorenson took the early lead, and held it until Jeff Green hit the wall on lap 16. Green had pitted earlier for a tire problem, and obviously it re-emerged with a vengeance as the right-rear tire failed due to a tire rub.

Tony Stewart's pit crew put him into the lead on lap 16, completing an impressive charge to the front from his 14th starting position. However, his lead was short-lived, as Ryan Newman spun into the wall on lap 21 as the green flag flew. “It's unfortunate” Newman explained, “It was a pretty good lick into the wall, and it ended our day.” Referring to the points, he noted, “It's devastating in more than one way.” Newman finished 42nd.

Trying to prove that they are indeed good drivers, the field restarted on lap 25. And, for 15 laps, there was some great racing. Earnhardt and Stewart set sail, and the crowd settled in for what they thought would be a long green run.

However, on lap 40, Kasey Kahne got a bad case of aero push, and collected Tony Raines in turn 1. “We didn't have a very good car” lamented Kahne. “Today it wouldn't turn and yesterday I was all loose. Yesterday it turned really good, and ...today it wouldn't turn at all.” Kahne finished 40th, and Raines finished 41st.

The green flag flew on lap 44, but only to see a multi-car wreck involving JJ Yeley, Jimmie Johnson, Jaime McMurray, Robby Gordon, Scott Riggs, Bill Elliott, Ricky Rudd, and Carl Edwards. The wreck sent Yeley and McMurray to the garage, and damaged the cars of Robby Gordon, Riggs, and Johnson.

NASCAR racked 'em up, and tried 'em again at lap 55, with Earnhardt leading Stewart as the green flag flew. As it turns out, leading the race is a good place to be, because on restart, Casey Mears, Elliott Sadler, Johnny Sauter, Kyle Petty all stacked up when Mears spun in turn 3. Sadler's car got the worst of the accident. By lap 59, there 23 laps of caution.

At this point, the press room was racking their brains for euphemisms for “The green flag fell” when things got going again on lap 59. However, Jimmie Johnson's car, damaged in the wreck on lap 44, exploded the left front tire at the end of the front stretch – the fastest part of the track -- making him a test dummy for the safer barrier in turn 2. Johnson hit hard enough to rupture oil lines, and the ensuing fire singed Johnson's face before he was able to bail out of the flaming car. Johnson finished 39th, and noted, “We've had a steady roll of bad races for us... we've got to keep fighting and make sure we stay in this Chase.”


Tony Stewart gets service from his Home Depot team
Russ Beaver/Sunrise Racing Photography

Debris cautions on lap 77 and 91 lowered the average speed of the race – where cars hit 205 mph on the front straights -- to 102 miles per hour, which rivaled the 1935 Indy 500. In 1935, it was common for track workers to throw sand onto the bricks in the corners to absorb the oil that was leaked from the cars, and cars seldom if ever slowed for wrecks.

Worse yet, there was tons of bumping on pit road, including an incident on lap 28 that sent Scott Wimmer bouncing off of the outside pit wall and tore the rear sheet metal off of Kurt Busch's car. Early race leader Dale Earnhardt Jr also sustained damage to his front fender, which caused him to fall back into the pack, and David Reutimann was forced to the garage with smoke in his car as his engine failed. Reutimann finished 37th, Wimmer 31st.

On lap 98 almost 3 hours after the green flag fell, Greg Biffle led the field for another green flag, followed by David Gilliland, Clint Bowyer, Kevin Harvick and Tony Stewart. Harvick took the lead on lap 102, and by lap 105, Stewart joined him as they checked out on the field. Juan Pablo moved to third on lap 106, followed by Kyle Busch. Jeff Gordon moved up to sixth on lap 109, and Stewart took the lead on lap 111, as those who gained position with pit strategy started falling back to the pack.

On lap 124, Greg Biffle started a round of green flag stops. Biffle was passed by Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt Jr the lap before the stop, placing him in sixth. Earnhardt pitted on the following lap, and then the rest of the field followed suite. Denny Hamlin's car ran out of fuel as he entered pit road, and he fell 1 lap down. When the pit cycle ended, Stewart was leading the field by 3.5 seconds, followed by Kevin Harvick.

With 25 laps to go, Junior's engine broke a front pulley, setting up a 20-lap trophy dash. Earnhardt was running 5th when he fell out, and was an early leader in the race. “I was really enjoying myself today” concluded Earnhardt, who finished 33rd.

Kevin Harvick jumped Tony Stewart as the green flag few, followed by Jeff Gordon, Juan Pablo, and Reed Sorenson. Montoya, who was content to save equipment all day, soon passed Gordon for 4th, and it was clear that he was a contender to challenge Harvick and Stewart for the win. With 16 laps to go, Stewart started challenging Harvick for the lead again, and for 5 laps, they raced side by side, bumping and sliding their way around each other. Finally, Stewart took the lead with 9 laps to go, and set sail on the field as Harvick's car faded due to aero damage from a bump with Stewart. Montoya passed Harvick with 4 laps to go, but time ran out as Stewart cruised to the win. “I don't think that anyone had anything for Tony today” Juan later told the press, who was hoping that Stewart's car would've been damaged like Harvick's.

The average speed of the race was 117.382 mph. The average speed of was just above the 1948 Indy 500 speed of Mauri Rose of 116.338.

Results

FIN ST CAR DRIVER MAKE SPONSOR PTS/BNS LAPS STATUS
1 14 20 Tony Stewart Chevrolet The Home Depot 195/10 160 Running
2 2 42 Juan Montoya * Dodge Texaco / Havoline 170/0 160 Running
3 21 24 Jeff Gordon Chevrolet DuPont 165/0 160 Running
4 18 5 Kyle Busch Chevrolet Kellogg's / CARQUEST 165/5 160 Running
5 1 41 Reed Sorenson Dodge Target / Maxwell House 160/5 160 Running
6 13 01 Mark Martin Chevrolet U.S. Army 150/0 160 Running
7 20 29 Kevin Harvick Chevrolet Reese's / Elvis 151/5 160 Running
8 7 31 Jeff Burton Chevrolet AT&T Mobility 142/0 160 Running
9 27 22 Dave Blaney Toyota Caterpillar 138/0 160 Running
10 31 17 Matt Kenseth Ford DEWALT 134/0 160 Running
11 6 2 Kurt Busch Dodge Miller Lite 130/0 160 Running
12 33 1 Martin Truex Jr. Chevrolet Bass Pro Shops / Tracker 127/0 160 Running
13 26 07 Clint Bowyer Chevrolet Jack Daniel's 124/0 160 Running
14 40 4 Ward Burton Chevrolet State Water Heaters / Lucas Oil 121/0 160 Running
15 8 16 Greg Biffle Ford Dish Network 123/5 160 Running
16 30 6 David Ragan * Ford AAA Insurance 115/0 160 Running
17 38 38 David Gilliland Ford M&M's 112/0 160 Running
18 35 99 Carl Edwards Ford Office Depot 109/0 160 Running
19 29 43 Bobby Labonte Dodge Totino's Pizza Rolls 106/0 160 Running
20 28 15 Paul Menard * Chevrolet Menards / Johns Manville 103/0 160 Running
21 25 83 Brian Vickers Toyota Red Bull 100/0 160 Running
22 10 11 Denny Hamlin Chevrolet FedEx Kinko's 97/0 159 Running
23 32 21 Bill Elliott Ford Little Debbie 94/0 159 Running
24 37 88 Ricky Rudd Ford Snickers 91/0 159 Running
25 36 49 Ken Schrader Dodge Paralyzed Veterans of America 88/0 159 Running
26 12 40 David Stremme Dodge Target 85/0 158 Running
27 42 7 Robby Gordon Ford Johns Manville / Menards 82/0 157 Running
28 17 19 Elliott Sadler Dodge Dodge Dealers / UAW 79/0 155 Running
29 16 10 Scott Riggs Dodge Stanley Tools / Valvoline 76/0 154 Running
30 43 55 Terry Labonte Toyota NAPA Auto Parts 73/0 150 Running
31 22 33 Scott Wimmer Chevrolet Holiday Inn 70/0 145 Running
32 41 45 Kyle Petty Dodge Marathon American Spirit Motor Oil 67/0 141 Off Track
33 15 26 Jamie McMurray Ford Crown Royal 64/0 138 Off Track
34 4 8 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Chevrolet Budweiser 66/5 136 Out of Race
35 9 25 Casey Mears Chevrolet National Guard / GMAC 58/0 132 Off Track
36 23 18 J.J. Yeley Chevrolet Interstate Batteries 55/0 120 Off Track
37 39 70 Johnny Sauter Chevrolet Radioactive Energy Drink 52/0 100 Off Track
38 34 00 David Reutimann * Toyota Burger King / The Simpsons Movie 49/0 92 Out of Race
39 19 48 Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet Lowe's 46/0 60 Out of Race
40 5 9 Kasey Kahne Dodge Dodge Dealers / UAW 43/0 39 Out of Race
41 11 96 Tony Raines Chevrolet DLP HDTV 40/0 39 Out of Race
42 3 12 Ryan Newman Dodge ALLTEL 37/0 20 Out of Race
43 24 66 Jeff Green Chevrolet Haas Automation 34/0 13 Out of Race

Race Statistics
Winner's average speed: 117.379 mph
Time of race: 3:24:28
Margin of victory: 2.982 seconds
Cautions: 9 caution flags for 43 laps
Lead changes: 14 among 6 drivers
Lap leaders: Sorenson 1-16, Stewart 17-19, Earnhardt Jr. 20-39, Stewart 40, Earnhardt Jr. 41-53, Stewart 54-61, Kyle Busch 62-
76, Stewart 77-91, Biffle 92-102, Harvick 103-110, Stewart 111-
126, Kyle Busch 127-128, Stewart 129-140, Harvick 141-150,
Stewart 151-160.
Point standings: J. Gordon 3,076, Hamlin 2,705, Kenseth 2,699,
Burton 2,633, Stewart 2,624, Edwards 2,582, Harvick 2,488, Ky.
Busch 2,479, Johnson 2,469, Bowyer 2,405.

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