Loudon: Tony Stewart race report

Stewart Rock Solid in the Granite State Home Depot Driver Records Third Straight Top-Five Finish LOUDON, N.H., (July 25, 2004) - Tony Stewart enjoyed an uneventful but solid outing in Sunday's Siemens 300 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race at ...

Stewart Rock Solid in the Granite State
Home Depot Driver Records Third Straight Top-Five Finish

LOUDON, N.H., (July 25, 2004) - Tony Stewart enjoyed an uneventful but solid outing in Sunday's Siemens 300 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race at New Hampshire International Speedway. The driver of the #20 Home Depot Chevrolet finished fifth in the 300-lap contest to score his third straight top-five finish.

"We had a good day," said Stewart. "Obviously we would've liked to finish higher than fifth, but it's another top-five and this is the time of year where we start putting those together."

Stewart's fifth-place finish July 3 at Daytona (Fla.) was a prelude to his victory the following weekend at Chicagoland, and Sunday's fifth-place result at New Hampshire provided a nice bookend to The Home Depot Racing Team's first win of 2004.

"We kept working on the car all day," said Stewart, who started ninth. "We got tight just past the center of the race. Greg (Zipadelli, crew chief) made a big change on the right rear. We cranked some right rear weight into it and got a little bit too free.

"The heat made the track a little bit slippery, but that made for good racing. It made the track wide to where we could all race each other a little bit. I think it was a good race and I hope the fans enjoyed it."

While Stewart may not have had the car to beat, his Home Depot Chevrolet was still stronger than the vast majority of the field. He was a mainstay in the top-five, running as high as fourth before holding steady at fifth. And as the race came to a close with a three-lap dash to the finish, Stewart made fourth-place Matt Kenseth earn his spot.

"We had a good run at the end with Matt right after that last caution," said Stewart. "I tried to make a run on him off of (turn) four but I just couldn't make it stick. But I'm tickled to death to go to a track where not many cars came out of here without a scratch. Our car doesn't have a mark on it."

Stewart's fifth-place effort held him steady at fourth in the championship point standings. He is 100 points arrears third-place Jeff Gordon while holding a 67-point advantage over fifth-place Kenseth. A more daunting 302 points separates Stewart from series leader Jimmie Johnson, while second-place Dale Earnhardt Jr., is 137 points ahead of Stewart.

Winning the Siemens 300 was Kurt Busch, who scored his second win of 2004 and the 10th of his career. Runner-up was Gordon, while Ryan Newman, Kenseth and Stewart rounded-out the top-five. Michael Waltrip, Jamie McMurray, rookie Kasey Kahne, Dale Jarrett and Jeremy Mayfield comprised the rest of the top-10.

The next event on the Nextel Cup schedule is the Aug. 1 Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway. Live coverage begins at 1:30 p.m. EDT on TNT.

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Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt Jr. , Dale Jarrett , Matt Kenseth , Jeremy Mayfield , Tony Stewart , Michael Waltrip , Kurt Busch , Ryan Newman , Kasey Kahne