Stewart Scores First Victory of the Season at Chicagoland Speedway Tony Stewart claimed his 30th career victory and second win at Chicagoland Speedway when he took the checkered flag Sunday afternoon in the USG SHEETROCK 400. This also marked ...
Stewart Scores First Victory of the Season at Chicagoland Speedway
Tony Stewart claimed his 30th career victory and second win at Chicagoland Speedway when he took the checkered flag Sunday afternoon in the USG SHEETROCK 400. This also marked Stewart's fifth top-five finish in seven races at the 1.5-mile track.
Stewart, who started the day in the 19th spot, managed to work his way up to the top spot and dominate the second-half of the 400-mile race to snap a 20-race winless streak. Jimmie Johnson was running second behind Stewart with 45 laps left before his right rear tire went flat, sending him into the wall.
"The accident certainly knocked the wind out of me and I hit my elbow on the seat," said Johnson. "But I'm just disappointed. We had such a great race car and I was trying to have something there for the No. 20 (Tony Stewart). It's amazing when that tire blew how violent it was. I thought the drive shaft came out of the car it was so violent, but it was just the right rear tire."
After Johnson's crash, the field pitted under caution with 40 laps left and Stewart came out of the pits with the lead, ahead of Matt Kenseth, Kurt Busch and Kevin Harvick. Kenseth pulled side-by-side to challenge Stewart on the restart, but Stewart held him off until another caution flag came out for a crash by J.J. Yeley 20 laps later.
"What won us the race is (crew chief) Greg Zippy (Zipadelli) and these guys - the pit crew - did an awesome job today," said Stewart. Track position was so important to let us run our pace and run the line that we wanted to run without having to worry about getting in dirty air. Thanks to these guys around me, that's what got us in Victory Lane again."
Kenseth brought a second place finish, while teammate Carl Edwards finished third. Saturday's Busch Series winner, Kevin Harvick, and Hendrick Motorsports' driver Casey Mears rounded out the top-five.
Defending champion Jeff Gordon finished 10th and continues to lead the 2007 NEXTEL Cup Series point standings by 299 points over second place driver Denny Hamlin.
The NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series has next weekend off before they head to Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the Brickyard 400 on Sunday, July 29.