Texas-Sized Dominance Stewart Leads Eight Times for a Race-High 278 Laps to Score Second Straight Win With a dominating win in Sunday's Dickies 500 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Tony Stewart ...
Stewart Leads Eight Times for a Race-High 278 Laps to Score Second Straight Win
With a dominating win in Sunday's Dickies 500 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Tony Stewart scored back-to-back victories for the sixth time in his eight-year Nextel Cup career.
The driver of the No. 20 Home Depot Chevrolet for Joe Gibbs Racing came to the 1.5-mile Texas oval fresh off a win in last Sunday's 500-mile race at Atlanta Motor Speedway. In the same car Stewart used to lead seven times for a race-high 146 laps at Atlanta, he led an even more impressive eight times for a race-high 278 laps at Texas to take his fifth win of 2006, his third in the last six races and the 29th of his career.
"It was an awesome day," said Stewart, who led the most laps for the sixth time in 2006, the most among all drivers. "Anytime you can lead that many laps in a race, it's a good day for you. Today was one of those days when we had a car that was good from start to finish.
"Last week was one of them and this week was another one of them, and it's few and far between where you can say that you've had cars that were this dominant. I'm not even sure that at Atlanta last week we had a car that was this good.
"We just had such a good car tonight. We could get a straightaway lead at any time. I was loose the whole day, but we were extremely fast being loose."
Stewart's win in the Dickies 500 was his fifth victory in a 500-mile race. It was also the 54th Nextel Cup win for Joe Gibbs Racing, but the team's first at Texas.
"Winning two weeks in a row shows that this race team is pretty darn good," said Stewart, who despite being out of the Chase for the Championship has scored more points and more wins in the last eight races than any other driver. "With us having a relaxed atmosphere and attitude, we're all working better with each other. We're probably a tighter knit group than we've ever been, and I think that's something carrying into next year that everybody else is going to have to worry about.
"I'm excited about it. I feel like the team is doing a great job. Their attitude has been, 'let's see what we can do and let's see how many races we can win.' We don't feel like we have to prove anything to anybody. We're all happy and having fun and we're winning races. You can't ask for more out of a race team than that."
Stewart's Joe Gibbs Racing teammates - Denny Hamlin and J.J. Yeley - finished 10th and 20th, respectively.
Hamlin continues to lead the trio of Joe Gibbs Racing drivers in the championship point standings, as he is the lone Gibbs representative in the Chase for the Championship. Hamlin dropped one spot to fall to fourth in points, 80 markers behind new series leader Jimmie Johnson.
Stewart maintained his 11th-place point standing and holds a dominating 357-point lead over 12th-place Carl Edwards.
Yeley gained one spot to rise to 28th in points. He is now 204 points outside the top-25.
Finishing in the runner-up spot, .272 of a second behind Stewart, was Johnson. Kevin Harvick finished third, while Kyle Busch and Clint Bowyer secured the rest of the top-five. Dale Earnhardt Jr., Casey Mears, Jeff Gordon, Kurt Busch and Hamlin comprised the rest of the top-10.
With only two races remaining, the penultimate event on the Nextel Cup schedule is the Nov. 12 Checker Auto Parts 500k at Phoenix International Raceway. The race begins at 3:25 p.m. EST with live, high-definition coverage provided by NBC.