Tony Stewart Wins at Atlanta; Fourth Victory This Season Follows Crowning as IROC Champion on Saturday; Chevy Captures One, Two, Three Finishing Positions in the Bass Pro Shop 500 Jimmie Johnson Moves to Second in the Chase, 26 Points Out of...
Tony Stewart Wins at Atlanta; Fourth Victory This Season Follows Crowning as IROC Champion on Saturday; Chevy Captures One, Two, Three Finishing Positions in the Bass Pro Shop 500
Jimmie Johnson Moves to Second in the Chase, 26 Points Out of Lead; Four Chevy Drivers in Top-Five in Standings Separated by 84 Points with Three Races Remaining
Hampton, GA - Tony Stewart, No. 20 Home Depot Monte Carlo SS, scored his fourth victory of the 2006 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series (NNCS) season in the Bass Pro Shops 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway (AMS). It was the second trip to victory lane this weekend for Stewart. He captured his first International Race of Champions (IROC) title on Saturday with a third place finish in the final IROC event of the season. The win is the 28th of Stewart's NNCS career and second at AMS.
Team Chevy drivers crossed the finish line one, two three and scored six of the top-10 finishing spots today. Stewart's win is the 21st win of the 2006 season. It is 33rd victory for Chevrolet at AMS in its 95-race history and the fifth win for the Bowtie brand in the last eight races at the 1.54-mile track.
Stewart led seven times for 146-laps of the 325-lap race and claimed the bonus points for the most laps led. He remains firmly in 11th position in the points and on target for the $1 million year-end points' fund check at season's end.
"This is pretty special because this is Home Depot's headquarters," said Stewart. "I look behind me and see this eight-foot tall trophy that we get to take home. I don't know how we are going to get it in the airplane but we will figure out something. Maybe we will have to ship that thing home; it is bigger than half my plane. It is cool.
"Our Home Depot Chevrolet was a good car all day. The No. 24 was really good early in the race but we didn't have the car as good as I thought we could get it. We were just about even with Jeff (Gordon) I hated to see that happen to him. I would have liked to race with him there at the end. Jimmie (Johnson) came on later in the race when the sun went down and so did Matt Kenseth. We did what we wanted to do. We got up front early and stayed up front all day. Jimmie Johnson is a good friend and came up and congratulated us which means a lot to us. Just to be here in Home Depot's back yard is special for us."
Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 Lowe's Monte Carlo SS, finished second and moved to second in the Chase for the Nextel Cup standings, just 26 points behind the leader. It is the 11th top-five finish for Johnson this season.
"It was a great run for this Lowe's Monte Carlo," said Johnson. I have to thank the guys for working so hard all day long. When the sun was out, our car was a handful. We could still hang in the top-five all day long. We made great adjustments and got some speed in it. It was a lot of fun there racing with Tony Stewart, as hard as we did. Both cars were pretty equal. We had an awesome awesome day on the race track. This team has never given up. We had a lot of speed in the Chase but unfortunately we didn't have the finishes at first to show for it. Now it is coming our way. We will see what we can do three more times."
Dale Earnhardt, Jr., No. 8 Budweiser Monte Carlo SS, finished third. He jumped two spots in the standings to sit in fourth, just 84 points out of the lead.
"We took a shot out there with the tires on that last yellow," said Earnhardt, Jr. "Yes, well have been gambling a lot and trying to win a championship from 90 some points back. It takes some gambles to do that. We gained maybe five points, I don't know. I am real proud of my car, my team, they did a great job building it, it drove great. They did a really good job on pit road. Martin (Truex, Jr.) had a great car all day too except had the unfortunate incident at the end. Real good weekend for DEI as far as the points."
Current points' leader Matt Kenseth (Ford) finished fourth and Greg Biffle (Ford) rounded out the top five finishers in today's race.
Raybestos Rookie Denny Hamlin, No. 11 FedEx Monte Carlo SS, moved to third in the standings with another solid top-10 run. He finished in today's race in eighth place.
Jeff Burton, No. 31 Cingular Wireless Monte Carlo SS, sits fifth in the standings, tied with Earnhardt, Jr., 84 points out of the lead, following his 13th place finish in today's race.
Kevin Harvick, No. 29 GM Goodwrench Monte Carlo SS, struggled handling issues to finish 31st today, dropping him to sixth in the standings, 121 points out of the top spot.
Jeff Gordon, No. 24 DuPont/Nicorette Monte Carlo SS, jumped two positions to seventh in the Chase, 146 points out of the lead with today's sixth place finish.
Kyle Busch, No. 5 Kellogg's Monte Carlo SS, remains 10th in the standings, 249 points behind after finishing 27th in the race.
Chevrolet has locked up the 2006 Manufacturers' Cup. The standings following today's race are: Chevrolet, 255 points (21 wins); Dodge, 189 points (7 wins) and Ford, 183 points (5 wins).
-credit: gm racing