Amanda Vincent, NASCAR Correspondent
Stewart claims 2nd straight victory after leader Bowyer runs out of fuel
After going winless during the 26-race NASCAR Sprint Cup Series “regular season”, Tony Stewart drove his No. 14 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet to victory in the Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Sunday to claim his second-consecutive win and go 2-0 in NASCAR’s “postseason” -- the Chase for the Sprint Cup.
It’s way too early to start counting chickens.
“There’s still eight races left,” Stewart said of his championship chances. “It’s way too early to start counting chickens.”
Brad Keselowski finished second in the No. 2 Penske Racing Dodge, and Greg Biffle was third in the No. 16 Roush Fenway Racing Ford.
“We made some good adjustments with 120-130 laps to go,” Keselowski said of making his way toward the top-five from outside the top-20 in the second half of the race.
The final laps of the race were a role reversal of sorts for Stewart and Clint Bowyer, driver of the No. 33 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet. Stewart led late in the 2010 Sylvania 300 but ran out of gas in the closing stages to hand the lead and race win to Bowyer. This time around, it was Bowyer who led late in the race, only to run out of fuel and hand the lead and win to Stewart.
“I know exactly how he feels right now,” Stewart said of being in Bowyer’s shoes a year ago.
Bowyer wasn’t the only driver who ran out of fuel in the final laps. Denny Hamlin’s No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota ran out with three laps remaining. Biffle ran out of fuel coming to the checkered flag, but had enough momentum to still make it to the start/finish line ahead of the No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet of Jeff Gordon. Gordon finished fourth.
Brian Vickers, in the No. 83 Red Bull Racing Toyota, finished fifth after starting the race from the second row, drifting back through the field and then making his way back toward the front.
Ryan Newman started his No. 39 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet from the pole, but lost the lead to Kasey Kahne in the No. 4 Red Bull Racing Toyota on lap 61.
Kahne and Gordon took turns leading much of the race. The No. 4 team’s strategy resulted in an extra late-race pit stop for Kahne, significantly shuffling him down through the finishing order.
Gordon, meanwhile, nearly ran his car too far, running out of fuel on pit road during his final stop with 71 laps remaining. During that same stop, his crew failed to get the car completely full of fuel, putting Gordon in fuel conservation mode for the final laps of the race.
“It’s a bit of a surprise to all of us that we ran out under green,” Gordon said.
Bowyer took the lead with 50 laps to go and held on to the top spot until he ran out of fuel with three laps remaining, handing the lead to Stewart.Race Results and current Championship Standings