All-Star: Tony Stewart race notes

STEWART SOLID IN PRELUDE TO COKE 600 Home Depot Driver Finishes Fifth in NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race In a race typically known for aggressive driving and spark-filled crashes, Saturday night's NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race at Charlotte (N.C.)...

STEWART SOLID IN PRELUDE TO COKE 600
Home Depot Driver Finishes Fifth in NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race

In a race typically known for aggressive driving and spark-filled crashes, Saturday night's NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway proved to be a rather refined affair.

That suited Tony Stewart just fine. The driver of the No. 20 Home Depot Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing posted a solid fifth-place effort for the second straight year in the non-points race, which serves as a prelude to next week's Coca-Cola 600 -- the longest race on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series schedule.

"We started dead last tonight, and with nothing trick and fancy, we drove ourselves to fifth-place," said Stewart, who despite qualifying 12th, had to start at the tail end of the 24-car field due to an unscheduled engine change on Friday. "I'm really happy with this finish."

Adding to Stewart's happiness was that the race ran caution-free, something that hasn't happened since the 2001 All-Star Race.

"It's nice that nobody had to crash tonight," Stewart said. "Normally, these things are wreck-fests. It's nice to have one where nobody had to crash. You couldn't run as close as you normally would, and that probably kept everybody from having problems."

Stewart's Joe Gibbs Racing teammates -- Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch -- were the only ones who had problems, as both drivers experienced engine trouble that put a premature end to their respective evenings.

Hamlin finished a disappointing 23rd after leading twice for seven laps before engine woes forced him into the garage on lap 84. Busch finished right behind Hamlin in 24th with similar problems after he appeared to be the class of the field. Bush led a race-high 38 laps from the pole before retiring from the event on lap 50.

"We didn't have the problem that they had in the race, but we had it first yesterday in practice," said Stewart when asked about Joe Gibbs Racing's collective engine misfortune. "It was one of those deals tonight where it was just like pulling a pin on a grenade -- you didn't know when it was going to go off for those guys. We ran some experimental stuff and tonight's the night to try that stuff. When it comes time to run 600 miles next week, we can do it."

Kasey Kahne won the All-Star Race to take the home the $1 million payout. Greg Biffle finished 1.327 seconds behind Kahne, while Matt Kenseth, Jimmie Johnson and Stewart rounded out the top-five. Ryan Newman, Sam Hornish Jr., Dale Earnhardt Jr., Mark Martin and Carl Edwards comprised the remainder of the top-10.

The Sprint Cup Series returns to point-paying racing on May 25 with the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte. The race gets underway at 5:30 p.m. EDT with live, high-definition coverage provided by FOX beginning at 5 p.m. The race will also be broadcast live on SIRIUS Satellite Radio Channel 128.

-credit: jgr

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt Jr. , Tony Stewart , Greg Biffle , Jimmie Johnson , Kasey Kahne , Carl Edwards , Denny Hamlin , Sam Hornish Jr. , Mark Martin
Teams Joe Gibbs Racing