ANOTHER RACE, ANOTHER STRONG RUN FOR STEWART Old Spice/Office Depot Driver Finishes Third in Allstate 400 at the Brickyard Tony Stewart notched another solid outing in Sunday's Allstate 400 at the Brickyard NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at ...
ANOTHER RACE, ANOTHER STRONG RUN FOR STEWART
Old Spice/Office Depot Driver Finishes Third in Allstate 400 at the Brickyard
Tony Stewart notched another solid outing in Sunday's Allstate 400 at the Brickyard NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The driver of the No. 14 Old Spice/Office Depot Chevrolet Impala SS for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) started seventh and finished third in the 160-lap race, and in doing so, posted his fifth straight top-five finish and his fifth top-five in 11 career Sprint Cup starts at Indy.
"You want to win this obviously, but I'm really proud of our team," said Stewart, who won the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard in 2005 and 2007. "We just got tight the last half of the race and never could get it to cut the middle third of the corner. It would turn in good and get off the corner good, but we couldn't get it to rotate the center third (of the corner). But everybody on this Old Spice/Office Depot team has done a great job, so we're leaving with a smile on our face."
The effort was yet another example of the No. 14 Old Spice/Office Depot team's stellar work 20 races into the 36-race schedule, for they've now finished among the top-10 a series-leading 16 times. Those collective results are what has put Stewart atop the championship point standings for eight straight weeks, and extended his margin over second-place Jimmie Johnson to an impressive 192 points.
"In a perfect world, we all want to get those extra 10 bonus points for winning. At the same time, you still have to be consistent each week. You don't have to win a race in the Chase to win the championship," said Stewart, who already has two Sprint Cup trophies on his mantle -- one from 2002 and the other from 2005. "You could sit there and run third or fourth every week and have a realistic shot to win the championship. To go out there and be consistent -- we ran fourth at Chicago, we come here and run third -- we're doing the things that we need to do."
It's an impressive feat considering that even though Stewart is an 11-year Sprint Cup veteran, he's in his first year as a driver/owner with SHR, the team he co-owns with Oxnard, Calif.-based Haas Automation, the largest CNC machine tool builder in the western world.
"Forty-three cars and we ran third today. There's no shame in that," Stewart said. "To come here with a new package, a new crew chief and to run third in our first time here together, I think that's a lot to be proud of."
Ryan Newman, driver of the No. 39 Haas Automation/U.S. Army Chevrolet Impala SS for SHR, finished 14th to score his 11th top-15 result of 2009. Newman remained seventh in the standings, 548 markers out of first.
Juan Pablo Montoya dominated the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard by leading three times for a race-high 116 laps, but a pit road speeding penalty late in the event cost him any chance of victory and he ended up a disappointing 11th.
Johnson led only once, but the three-time and reigning Sprint Cup champion was at the point for the final 24 circuits around the 2.5-mile oval to take the win in the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard. It was Johnson's 43rd career victory, his third of the season and his third at Indianapolis. Johnson's Hendrick Motorsports teammate, Mark Martin, finished .400 of a second behind him.
"I wanted Mark to win from the sentimental side, but then I realized it's another 10 bonus points if he wins I didn't want him to win. That's the selfish side," Stewart said. "It was a good race to watch. You normally don't have a battle that close coming down to the wire like that, and it was probably one of the most memorable finishes we've had here in a long time."
Finishing fourth behind Stewart was Greg Biffle, while Brian Vickers, Kevin Harvick, Kasey Kahne, David Reutimann, Jeff Gordon and Matt Kenseth comprised the remainder of the top-10.
There were only three caution periods for 14 laps, with five drivers failing to finish the 160-lap race.
The next event on the Sprint Cup schedule is the Aug. 2 Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway.