Irwindale, Calif., Nov 23 - Tony Stewart was a man on a mission when he strapped himself in the ...
Irwindale, Calif., Nov 23 - Tony Stewart was a man on a mission when he strapped himself in the #19, Lewis Racing midget for the running of the 60th annual Turkey Night Grand Prix for the midget division of the United States Auto Club at Irwindale Speedway. After dominating last years' 100 lap event, Stewart held on to finish second to Jason Leffler when the oil pump belt broke causing the car to lose power with less than 2 laps to go in the race. This time, Stewart came home with the victory, his first in the prestigious event.
Lewis Racing Teammate Kasey Kahne came home second. Tracy Hines, Jason Leffler in the third of the four Lewis Racing entries and Michael Lewis rounded out the top five.
"I have been waiting 364 days for this," said Stewart. "Losing last year has bothered me ever since that night. I really had to work harder than I do in some of my Winston Cup races. Kasey (Kahne) definitely had the faster car, but when the track got slippery I was able to get by him and take off. I guess the few more years of experience I have on the kid paid off.
"This race is so rich in history and is special to me because of my relationship with Cary Agajanian as my attorney, agent, advisor and friend. His family started this race and through their efforts of promoting Turkey Night all these years, have built it to be one of the most prestigious events in midget racing. I am honored to have the trophy to put on my shelf.
Stewart qualified 6th quickest of the 56 cars entered. Starting on the pole, he led the field at the end of lap one.
Kahne took the lead at the half way point but Stewart recaptured the point with 25 laps remaining and never looked back.
Stewart drives the #20 Joe Gibbs Racing Home Depot sponsored Pontiac in NASCAR Winston Cup.