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Photo Credit: John Harrelson/Getty Images for NASCAR
Stewart Wins Pocono 500
By Reid Spencer, Sporting News NASCAR Wire Service
LONG POND, Pa. (June 7, 2009) — Perhaps more amazing than Tony Stewart’s first victory as an owner/driver was his victory celebration Sunday at Pocono Raceway.
Actually, what was amazing was that Stewart could even manage a celebration at all, after using every trick in the book — including shutting down his engine entering Turn 1 at the 2.5-mile triangular track — to save enough fuel to win the Pocono 500.
The win was Stewart’s 34th in NASCAR’s Sprint Cup Series and his first since acquiring an ownership interest in Stewart-Haas Racing before the 2009 season. This is the first Cup win by an owner/driver since Ricky Rudd won at Martinsville on Sept. 27, 1998.
“He’s doing a damn burnout!” Jeff Gordon’s crew chief, Steve Letarte, said in amazement after Stewart began his victory donuts on the frontstretch.
Holding down his speed to the minimum needed to stay ahead of runner-up Carl Edwards, who also was saving fuel, Stewart crossed the finish line 2.004 seconds ahead of the No. 99 Ford. David Reutimann ran third, followed by Gordon, who benefitted from a fuel-mileage play by Letarte, and Ryan Newman.
Stewart, who increased his lead in the Cup standings to 71 points over Gordon, lost more than four seconds of a 6.8-second lead over Edwards in the final 10 laps.
“Breathe easy, boys, we’re gonna make it,” Stewart radioed to his crew as he rolled through the final corner. “God, I’m proud of you guys. You make me look like a genius in here.”
“We didn’t tell you how to save gas,” crew chief Darian Grubb retorted.
Stewart did that on his own, and he did so masterfully. He took the No. 14 car number to Victory Lane in a Cup race for the first time since Dec. 8, 1968, in Montgomery, Ala., when Bobby Allison beat Richard Petty to the finish line by four feet. Not that the No. 14 has run all of them, but the Pocono 500 was the 1,329th Cup race since Allison’s win.
Stewart competed for a decade and won 33 races and two championships at Joe Gibbs Racing, but Sunday’s victory had special significance.
“I’ve always had a great group of people to work with at Gibbs, but it’s just a little different when it’s your own, you know, when you’re the one that’s got to be accountable for (it),” Stewart said.
Edwards, who won at Pocono last August by conserving fuel, lost the race off pit road to Stewart on the final stop for both cars, under a caution for debris on Lap 159 that was extended to seven laps when a light rain shower crossed the track.
“I didn’t think Tony could save that much fuel, but he did a really good job,” said Edwards, who led a race-high 103 of 200 laps. “Our car was getting great fuel mileage all day, and (I’m) just really proud of my guys. We were great on pit road.
“Tony beat us off of pit road on that last stop by about three quarters of a car length or something, and that’s primarily because of his pit stall (Stewart had pit stall No. 1, closest to the exit from pit road).”
Edwards gained five positions in the standings to sixth, 281 point behind Stewart.
Notes: Because of a crash in Saturday’s practice, Stewart was driving a backup car and was forced to begin the race last. … There were no major issues with NASCAR’s new double-file restart rule. Given that there were only five cautions in the race, the new format played a minor role. … Dale Earnhardt Jr. ran 27th in his second race with crew chief Lance McGrew. He fell two spots to 20th in the Cup standings. … A water pump failure dropped Kurt Busch to 37th at the finish, 18 laps down and cost him a position in the standings. He’s now fifth, 224 points behind Stewart. … Jimmie Johnson ran out of fuel on the final lap but coasted home in seventh place to remain third in points. … Denny Hamlin’s Toyota stopped running on the first lap because of a fuel-system issue and again on Lap 13 to cause the first two cautions of the race. Hamlin lost 22 laps during repairs and finished 38th, dropping five positions to 12th in the standings.
Unofficial Race Results click here
Unofficial Driver Point Standings click here
Race Recap - Pocono Review click here
Green Flag Fast Facts
The Race: Pocono 500
The Date: Sunday, June 7
The Track: Pocono Raceway; 2.5-mile triangle
The Time: 3 p.m. AT
The Distance: 200 laps/500 miles
TV: TNT, 1:30 p.m. AT
Radio: MRN and Sirius Satellite (Local MRN affiliate WSJR 93.7 FM)
2008 Polesitter: Kasey Kahne
2008 Winner: Kasey Kahne
Schedule: (All times local ET) Friday—Practice, 12:00-1:30 p.m., Qualifying, 3:40 p.m. Saturday—Practice, 10-10:45 a.m. and 11:45 a.m.-12:20 p.m.
Year-To-Date Results & Point Standings click here
TV Broadcast Times*
Practice: Friday June 5 at 1 p.m./SPEED
Qualifying Time Trials: Friday June 5 at 4:30 p.m./SPEED
Practice: Saturday June 6 at 11 a.m./SPEED
Final Practice: Saturday June 6 at 12 p.m./SPEED
RaceDay, Pre-Race Show: Sunday June 7 at 11:30 a.m./SPEED
FOX Pre-Race Show: Sunday June 7 at 1:30 p.m./TNT & TSN
Race: Sunday June 7 at 3 p.m./TNT & TSN
*Times shown are AT - one hour ahead of ET, i.e. if it's 2 p.m./AT - it's 1 p.m./ET...
Practice, Qualifying, Starting Lineup & More...
Point leader Tony Stewart was set to start on the pole for the Pocono 500 - until he crashed his primary car in Saturday practice. Stewart
will go to a backup car and start from the rear of the field.
Saturday Final Practice Speed Chart click here Hamlin fastest
Rain washed out all action at Pocono Raceway Friday - including qualifying. Sunday's starting lineup was set by owner point standings with Tony Stewart and
Jeff Gordon on the front row.
Complete Starting Lineup click here
*Does not reflect adjustments that may be made prior to the race start because of the cars that need to go
to the rear of the field due to engine and/or transmission changes or practice wrecks...
- NASCAR Newscast - Pocono Preview click here
- Stewart Brings Historic Point Lead To Pocono Raceway...Tony Stewart (No. 14 Office Depot Chevrolet) and his Stewart-Haas Racing team arrive at Pocono Raceway this Sunday with a history-making NASCAR Sprint Cup Series point lead.
Stewart is the first owner-driver in the series to lead the series championship standings in 17 years. The last time an owner-driver led the series points was on November 15, 1992, when Alan Kulwicki won the series championship over Bill Elliott.
“Everybody respected Alan because he was an owner-driver and what he was able to accomplish,” Stewart said. “It was a little bit before I was really a die-hard NASCAR guy.”
Stewart was a 21-year-old focused on his USAC Sprint Car and Midget career when Kulwicki won the 1992 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship.
“You know, you go through a time and you’re able to go back and look at how the history of the sport has evolved and what milestones and moments shaped the sport to what it is,” Stewart said. “So it’s a pretty cool moment to have your organization mentioned with his organization.”
Stewart is excited about the progress of his team, and teammate Ryan Newman (No. 39 U.S. Army Chevrolet).
“I’m proud of our organization ... I’m proud of (Director of Competition) Bobby Hutchens, I’m proud of (crew chief) Darian Grubb, I’m proud of our teammate Ryan Newman, and (Newman’s crew chief) Tony Gibson and our entire organization,” Stewart said in sharing the credit for the team’s successful launch.
Newman arrives at Pocono fifth in series points riding five consecutive top-10 finishes and seven top 10s through the first 13 events of 2009. Newman also won the first pole for Stewart-Haas Racing for last month’s Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway where he finished second.
Both drivers have enjoyed success at Pocono, both in 2003. Stewart won the spring Pocono 500, while Newman won the summer Pennsylvania 500 from the pole. Newman also won a Pocono pole in 2007, while Stewart won a pole at Pocono in 2000.
- No. 48 Team Supplies Friendly Reminder Of Recent Dominance...With their second win of the season in the rear-view mirror and a pick-up of two positions in the series championship standings, Jimmie Johnson, crew chief Chad Knaus and the No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet are ready for the Pocono 500 at Pocono Raceway this Sunday.
The three-time and defending NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champions arrive at Pocono third in series standings and amid some serious momentum building, as they mount a charge at what would be an unprecedented fourth consecutive championship in NASCAR’s premier series.
Johnson swept both Pocono Raceway events in the 2004 season. He also has two pole awards at Pocono, including the 2008 Pennsylvania 500.
In the 2008 Pocono 500, Johnson started second and finished sixth.
- Pocono 500 Good News For Hendrick, Gibbs And Penske Teams...Holding top-12 positions in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series points upon arrival at Pocono Raceway this week should be reason for optimism for several top teams.
Pocono has been the site of success for Hendrick Motorsports, Joe Gibbs Racing and Penske Racing. The teams account for six of the top-seeded drivers in the standings, and 23 Pocono victories.
Hendrick Motorsports is Pocono’s all-time leading win producer with 11. Hendrick drivers Jeff Gordon (4), the late Tim Richmond (3), Jimmie Johnson (2), Geoffrey Bodine (1) and Terry Labonte (1) have contributed to the Pocono win total. Veteran Mark Martin, Hendrick’s newest driver, has not yet been to Pocono’s Victory Lane, nor has second year team driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. (No 88 National Guard/AMP Energy Chevrolet).
Joe Gibbs Racing and Penske Racing have six Pocono victories each.
Bobby Labonte (No. 96 ASK.com Ford) swept both Pocono events for Gibbs in 1999, and added another win in 2001. Tony Stewart took one Pocono win in 2003. Current Gibbs driver Denny Hamlin (No. 11 FedEx Ground Toyota) dominated Pocono in 2006 sweeping both event pole awards and races. Gibbs’ rookie driver Joey Logano (No. 20 Home Depot Toyota) will be making his first Pocono start this weekend, while teammate Kyle Busch (No. 18 M&M’s Toyota) is still looking for his first Pocono win.
Penske Racing also has six Pocono wins, including four scored by retired driver Rusty Wallace in 1991, 1994, 1996 and 2000. Former team driver Ryan Newman got a Pocono win in 2003 while current driver Kurt Busch (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge) won there in 2007. Busch’s new teammate David Stremme (No. 12 Penske Racing Dodge) is looking for his first career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series win.
Solo winners Stewart and Newman are now teammates at Stewart-Haas Racing.
In addition, Roush Fenway Racing has posted three Pocono wins with Carl Edwards (No. 99 Aflac Ford) in 2005 and last year’s Pennsylvania 500, and with Kurt Busch in 2005.
Richard Childress Racing has a pair of Pocono wins, both with the Dale Earnhardt in 1987 and 1993.
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