Watkins Glen, NY - Tony Stewart took the lead on lap 67 and didn't look back the final 24 circuits around the 2.45-mile Watkins Glen International (WGI) road course to take his No. 14 Old Spice/Office Depot Impala SS to victory lane for the third...
Watkins Glen, NY - Tony Stewart took the lead on lap 67 and didn't look back the final 24 circuits around the 2.45-mile Watkins Glen International (WGI) road course to take his No. 14 Old Spice/Office Depot Impala SS to victory lane for the third time this season and the 36th time in his career.
The two-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) champion started 13th in the 43-car field for today's 90-lap Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips at the Glen to score his fifth win at WGI, more than any other driver.
He extended his lead in the point standings to 260 over second place with four races remaining before the start of Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.
Stewart's victory was the 12th win for Team Chevy thus far this season and extended Chevrolet's lead in the Manufacturers' Cup standings.
Juan Pablo Montoya continued to gain valuable position in the top-12 standings with a sixth place finish behind the wheel of the No. 42 Target Impala SS. Montoya moved up one position to seventh in the point standings.
Clint Bowyer, No. 33 Cheerios/Hamburger Helper Impala SS, finished ninth today. Bowyer is embroiled in a tight battle with several drivers to gain a berth in the Chase.
Three-time and defending NSCS champion Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 Lowe's Impala SS, remains second in the standings with his 12th place finish.
Jeff Gordon, No. 24 DuPont Impala SS, was involved in a multi-car accident on lap 61 that relegated him to the 37th finishing position. The four-time NSCS champion continues to sit third in the standings.
Ryan Newman, No. 39 US Army Impala SS, struggled with mechanical issues and carbon monoxide fumes to finish 21st today and maintain ninth in the Chase standings.
Mark Martin, No. 5 CARQUEST/Kellogg's Impala SS, finished 23rd today after being plagued all day with handling issues. Martin is 11th in the standings.
The next event on the NSCS schedule will be August 16, 2009 at Michigan International Speedway.
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA, NO. 42 TARGET IMPALA SS, FINISHED 6TH:
"I think something broke in the left front suspension on our car and I was just plowing turning right. We came through some stuff and finished sixth so that was the goal. It was a good day for our Target Chevy team."
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE'S IMPALA SS, FINISHED 12TH:
WHAT KIND OF CAR DID YOU HAVE TODAY? "We just kept getting loser and loser. We thought the track would tighten up and come to us but it just went the other way. Spun out down there in one. That didn't help us any. There was some dirt on the track. Came to the braking zone I could see dirt and crash blowing around and I thought OH MAN, there I go. And sure enough, away I went. But, we are getting smarter and I am learning a lot. It wasn't the performance we wanted today but we fought hard and we got our first pole so we had some bright spots. We will just move forward, I know we have all the Lowe's employee/owners supporting us and behind us and I had a great Impala today.
OH HIS IMPROVEMENTS AS A ROAD RACER, WHERE DO YOU SEE YOUR BIGGEST STRIDES? "I don't know. I will have to reflect back on this weekend. In qualifying I felt like there were things that came to mind and were really apparent. Then in the race today, I watched guys drive away from me. I just have to keep working on it. I will get it sorted out."
CLINT BOWYER, NO. 33 CHEERIOS/HAMBURGER HELPER IMPALA SS, FINISHED 9th: "I am just happy to get out of here with a top-10. That is what we need to do. We needed a better points day, but as bad as I struggle here, that was a good finish for us."
DARIAN GRUBB, CREW CHIEF, NO. 14 OLD SPICE/OFFICE DEPOT IMPALA SS, RACE WINNER:
CONGRATULATIONS! TONY STEWART IS ONE OF THE BEST AT SAVING FUEL, BUT HOW CLOSE WERE YOU GUYS? "We were very close. He probably doesn't have enough for a burn out or anything right here. But Tony's a great road course racer. His record here speaks for itself. We're just glad we didn't mess up and got this OLD SPICE/OFFICE DEPOT Chevrolet into victory lane."
THIS IS YOUR THIRD WIN OF THE SEASON. TALK ABOUT RHYTHM AND MOMENTUM GOING INTO THE CHASE. HOW CLOSE ARE YOU IF THIS CHASE WERE TO START RIGHT NOW? "We've still got work to do. We're trying to get stronger every week and this was a testament to the effort we put forth every week. We know how good Tony is here, so as an entire organization of Stewart-Haas, I can't thank them enough for everything that they did. And we're going to get stronger. Hopefully we can carry that momentum into the Chase."
TONY STEWART, NO. 14 OLD SPICE/OFFICE DEPOT IMPALA SS, RACE WINNER: CONGRATULATIONS. "Thank you. It was an awesome day. We weren't good enough in the first run to be fast enough to beat these guys. The crew did an awesome job on the pit stop. I asked for a lot of changes there so those guys did a great job of getting us in and out of the pits there. We never lost very much track position and we were able to make it up. We had a fast car today."
WHAT IS IT LIKE AS A DRIVER WHEN THESE PIT CYCLES CYCLE AROUND AND YOU DON'T KNOW WHERE YOU ARE AT, WHEN IT GETS CYCLED OUT AND YOU'RE OUT ON THE RACE TRACK AND FIND YOURSELF IN THE TOP-FIVE ITS GOT TO BE ONE OF THE GREATEST FEELINGS IN THE WORLD AS A DRIVER. "You listen to your crew chief and your crew chief knows what's going on. He sees what everybody else is doing strategy wise. That's why I'm really proud of Darian (Grubb). He sticks to his game plan as we did today and we were able to save enough fuel to get us in the window at the end there. Everybody was. It was kind of funny to listen to the cars go down the front straightaway and not hear any of them running. Everybody was playing the mileage game today and we did a great job. Our guys did a great job. The Hendrick engine shop did an awesome job of giving us great power and good mileage today and their chassis department does an awesome job. I'm really proud of everybody at Stewart-Haas they've really been working their tails off."
TALK ABOUT THE PASS FOR THE WIN, WE KNEW THE DOUBLE-FILE RESTARTS WERE GOING TO BE A FACTOR. "We passed him on both sides. He lined up on the inside the first time and we got back by him in turn two then the second time he went to the outside and we took the inside and beat him into turn two. I was proud that we were strong enough to do it from either side. With Marcos (Ambrose) there I didn't want to give him a chance to get to the inside so we took that inside lane on that last restart and once we got up to the esses up there I felt like we were in good shape."
HUGE CROWD HERE AT WATKINS GLEN, I THINK THAT SPEAKS WELL FOR OUR SPORT. "Yeah it does. There was a lot of them over there in turn two when we were sitting there during the red flag and a bunch of them that kept us motivated. It was hot in the car. That's a long time to sit in a hot race car like that but these guys either had to take off work or whatever they had to do to stay here today. We know it cost them a lot of money to stay that extra day today but we appreciate them doing that. That's why we've got the best fans in all of pro sports."
THIS IS YOUR FIFTH WIN AT WATKINS GLEN! THAT FIRST PIT STOP, YOU SOUNDED LIKE A CREW CHIEF OVER THE RADIO SAYING EXACTLY WHAT YOU WANTED TO DO TO THIS CAR. HOW CRUCIAL WERE ALL THOSE CHANGES TO GET TO THE LEAD? "It was big. We weren't good enough at the beginning to win. But we just needed to make some changes to get better. I was the one that asked to go the opposite direction there after happy hour. Darian (Grubb) and the guys did an awesome job on the pit stop. It was a pretty in-depth change and stuff that took a little bit of time, and I think we only lost six spots in the pits. So to do those changes that they did, the pit crew did an awesome job; but that put the car back where it needed to be."
KNOWING THIS WAS A FUEL STRATEGY RACE AND HOW CLOSE YOU WERE, HOW MUCH WERE YOU LOOKING IN YOUR REAR VIEW MIRROR AT MARCOS AMBROSE BEHIND YOU? "I was watching him. There were parts of the track where we were stronger than he was and parts where he was stronger than us. But I think we were stronger in the parts of the track that we needed to be to hold him off if he got any closer. But I never looked at the fuel. I never worried about him once we went back to green."
YOUR CREW CHIEF, DARIAN GRUBB, SAID THIS RACE TODAY, MONDAY, THAT WOULD PLAY INTO YOUR HANDS. WHAT IS IT ABOUT THIS HOT & SLICK KIND OF TRACK THAT JUST SUITS YOU? "l love it when it gets slick. But this is my house right here. We ran really, really well over the last seven or eight years here. I just thank our fans for sticking it out. I know it's a lot for a lot of those people to take off an extra day of work when they needed to be there today and come watch this race. We appreciate them doing that. But it's nice too, to get Old Spice finally in victory lane this year; that's the first time. We've got all our sponsors in. We got Office Depot and then Burger King, and now Old Spice now. So, we've completed the trifecta now. So I'm pretty happy for that because Old Spice has been with us for a long, long time and I'm glad to finally get them in victory lane now."
YOUR FIRST FOUR WINS HERE CAME WITH JOE GIBBS. THIS IS YOUR FIRST ROAD COURSE WIN AS A TEAM OWNER IN THE NO. 14. WHAT DOES THAT MEAN TO YOU? "Ah, the same as it did when we won the All-Star race and Pocono. It's a great feeling but it's all due to these guys at SHR; you know, Bobby Hutchens and Darian and Tony Gibson and Ryan Newman and all those guys, and the Hendrick engine and chassis department. Rick (Hendrick) sent me a message this week and said, 'Hey, don't you think it's about time for another win?' So, this one's for you Rick, buddy."
CASEY MEARS, NO. 07 JACK DANIELS IMPALA SS -- Finished 15th: "We had a pretty good weekend here at Watkins Glen. We were doing alright there with track position and pit strategy. I just got hung out going through the esses on the one restart (lap 66) and then freight trained through the bus stop. We were able to get some spots back to finish 15th, but I felt we could've had a much better finish."
-credit: gm racing