STEWART LOCKS UP SEVENTH IN LIFELOCK 400 AT MICHIGAN Office Depot/Old Spice Driver Scores Series-Leading 11th Top-10 of 2009, Maintains Point Lead After winning a fuel mileage race last Sunday at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway, Tony Stewart attempted to...
STEWART LOCKS UP SEVENTH IN LIFELOCK 400 AT MICHIGAN
Office Depot/Old Spice Driver Scores Series-Leading 11th Top-10 of 2009, Maintains Point Lead
After winning a fuel mileage race last Sunday at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway, Tony Stewart attempted to win another fuel mileage race in Sunday's LifeLock 400 at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn.
The 200-lap contest around Michigan's 2-mile oval looked like it could turn into a repeat of Pocono, where Stewart out-fueled his counterparts to take his 34th career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victory and first as a driver/owner with Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR). But this time it was Mark Martin who played the fuel mileage game best, with Stewart receiving honorable mention via a solid seventh-place result.
"We ran out of fuel 100 feet from the start/finish line," Stewart said. "We weren't going to catch the 42 (Juan Pablo Montoya) and the 2 car (Kurt Busch) in front of us, so we kind of just saved a little bit of fuel on entry (into the corner) and we still ran out of fuel, but still got two positions because guys in front of us ran out of fuel, too. It's nerve-wracking, for sure. But anytime you go to Pocono or Michigan you know that's what can happen, and you know you just have to play your cards accordingly."
In doing just that, Stewart picked up his series-leading 11th top-10 finish of the 2009 season. The strong performance allowed the driver of the No. 14 Office Depot/Old Spice Chevrolet Impala SS to maintain his lead in the championship point standings, even with his nearest pursuer, Jeff Gordon, finishing second in the LifeLock 400. Stewart's lead over Gordon is 47 points heading into next Sunday's road course event at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif.
"I'm really proud of Darian Grubb (crew chief) and everybody on the Office Depot/Old Spice team," said Stewart, who now has 14 top-10 finishes in 21 career Sprint Cup starts at Michigan. "We were just a little bit off today. We were either too tight in the center (of the corner) or way too loose off. But we've been good all year, and to say we had a bad day and still end up with seventh is a good day."
Stewart's SHR teammate, Ryan Newman, endured a tough outing at Michigan as he fought an ill-handling racecar throughout the 400-mile race. The driver of the No. 39 U.S. Army/Haas Automation Chevrolet Impala SS for SHR finished 23rd, which dropped him one spot to fifth in the standings, 255 points out of first.
Martin won the LifeLock 400 by 2.992 seconds over Gordon. It was Martin's 38th career Sprint Cup victory, his third of the season and his fifth at Michigan.
Finishing third was Denny Hamlin, while Carl Edwards and Greg Biffle rounded out the top-five. Montoya, Stewart, Busch, pole-sitter Brian Vickers and Clint Bowyer comprised the remainder of the top-10.
There were three caution periods for 14 laps, with five drivers failing to finish the 400-mile race.
The next event on the Sprint Cup schedule is the June 21 Toyota/SaveMart 350k at Infineon Raceway.