Long Pond, PA - Tony Stewart captured his first points-paying victory as an owner/driver today at Pocono Raceway behind the wheel of the No. 14 Office Depot/Old Spice Impala SS. The victory extended Stewart's lead in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series...
Long Pond, PA - Tony Stewart captured his first points-paying victory as an owner/driver today at Pocono Raceway behind the wheel of the No. 14 Office Depot/Old Spice Impala SS. The victory extended Stewart's lead in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) to 71 points with 14 races in the books.
Starting at the rear of the 43-car field after being forced to race his back-up car following an accident during Saturday's practice session, the two-time NSCS champion led twice for a total of 39 of the 200 lap Pocono 500.
Stewart became the first owner/driver to win in NSCS competition since Ricky Rudd won at Martinsville Speedway in September, 1998.
With seven wins this season, more than any other manufacturer, Chevrolet continues to lead the Manufacturers' Cup standings.
Jeff Gordon, No. 24 DuPont Impala SS, remains second in the standings behind Stewart with a fourth place finish in today's 200-lap/500-mile Pocono 500.
Ryan Newman, No. 39 Haas Automation Demo Day/U.S. Army Impala SS, jumped to fourth in the standings with his fifth place finish.
Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 Lowe's Impala SS, finished seventh and remains third in points.
Juan Pablo Montoya, No. 42 Target Impala SS, came to the checkered flag in eighth place and sits just 62 points out of the top-12 Chase standings.
Jeff Burton, No. 31 Caterpillar Impala SS, finished ninth to give Team Chevy six of the top-10 finishers. He remains 10th in the point standings.
Carl Edwards (Ford) and David Reutimann (Toyota) completed the top-five finishers.
The next stop on the NSCS schedule is the June 14th Lifelock 400 at Michigan International Speedway, Brooklyn, Michigan.
TONY STEWART, NO.14 OFFICE DEPOT/OLD SPICE IMPALA SS, RACE WINNER:
WHEN YOU PUT THIS THING TOGETHER, DID YOU THINK YOU WOULD BE IN VICTORY LANE LESS THAN A YEAR LATER? "No, let alone twice. I have to thank Old Spice, Office Depot, U.S. Army, Coca Cola and Chevrolet who was the first one to say they wanted to be a part of this. Rick Hendrick and everybody at Hendrick Motorsports, their engine and chassis department and my teammate Ryan Newman. I mean this has been an awesome weekend."
IS THIS MORE SPECIAL AS AN OWNER/DRIVER? "It is because of the group of guys I am working with. I have always had a great group of people to work with at (Joe) Gibbs (Racing) it is just a little different when it is your own. You know when you are the one at the end of the day that has to be accountable for it. We couldn't do it without all these fans. This year has been hard on the weather side so it was a little nerve wracking there when we got the last caution there with the rain."
WHAT DID YOU DO TO SAVE FUEL? "I'm not telling."
YOU HAD TO STRETCH IT AND TURNING THE ENGINE OFF AND FIRING IT UP BACK IN THE CORNER, HOW IN THE WORLD DID YOU DO IT? "Just good coaching from Darian (Grubb, crew chief). I mean Darian Grubb was giving me the intervals and just kept me running the pace he wanted me to run. Its hard you hate to have to do that and you hate to be in that situation but that's kind of the situation the weather put us in there. We're just thankful we could make it. That's due to Hendrick horsepower and their engine department. They make good power and they make good mileage too."
YOU LOOK KIND OF SURREAL RIGHT NOW, HOW ARE YOU FEELING? "I'm ecstatic. It was nice to get that All-Star win this year but it was nice to get that first point win too. It's nice to extent the point lead and nice to do in front of these fans who have always been good to the NASCAR league when we come here. Just appreciate all their support."
YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE DOUBLE-FILE RESTARTS TODAY. "It was nice not having to race lap-cars on the restarts and you knew that the guys you were with you were racing for position. It did make it nice. When we get to the smaller tracks that will become more important. It was the perfect place to try it at and I think it's something the fans are going to enjoy in the future."
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE'S IMPALA SS -- Ran out of gas, finished 7th
THE FUEL GAMBLE DIDN'T PAY OFF OBVIOUSLY SINCE YOU RAN OUT OF GAS, SHORT. TALK ABOUT YOUR DAY "It was an exciting one. We were in a great position and unfortunately, coming to pit road to pit and the caution came out and I couldn't see a flagman or lights or anything, so hopefully they can look into a little better light system at each of the tracks. I looked for it later and saw it and there is a very small single light that's way out from the inside and I think we need to re-look at those things at all these race tracks that helps the guys that are pitting. But luckily, we rebounded from that and had a great car and drove up to the top five and then at the end we were just playing a fuel game. And I didn't play it well enough. I had to run too hard at the start of that run to stay ahead of the No. 33 (Clint Bowyer) and to try to stay ahead of the No. 9 (Kasey Kahne) and I just used up too much gas and I ran out coming into the tunnel turn."
BUT YOU TRIED "I did. I tried. And it was funny. I was just kind of riding and wondering who was going to go and when because everybody was about half-throttle. I was trying to get to the end on gas and I thought Carl (Edwards) ran out on the front so I got in the gas and got by him and I went down through (Turn) one and came down the backstretch and I ran out. And I'm like, oh yeah. Figures. So it was one of those days. But a big congratulations to Tony Stewart and Stewart-Haas Racing. Those guys have been doing a great job."
RYAN NEWMAN, NO. 39 HAAS-AUTOMATION / U.S. ARMY IMPALA SS -- Finished 5th
WHAT A GREAT RUN. YOU COULD BREAK YOUR DAY DOWN INTO TWO PARTS: THE SPARK PLUG ISSUE AND GAS MILEAGE. ON THE SPARK PLUG ISSUE: "Yeah, we had a spark plug problem and changed it after we changed the distributor cap and wires. We were trying to troubleshoot. I felt like I was driving an old car or something and troubleshooting at the same time. But the guys did a great job on pit road getting everything changed. We got lucky just being able to stay on the lead lap with the Haas Automation Chevrolet. It was a good run. Congratulations to Tony (Stewart) and the entire group. But it was a good run for our guys to be able to fight back. We took the little extra gamble to put fuel on the last restart there. That gave up a couple of spots, but in the end it was the right thing to do and we could guarantee ourselves a top five finish at least."
WHAT WAS WRONG WITH YOUR CAR AND TALK ABOUT YOUR GUYS GETTING YOU BACK TO THE FRONT OF THE FIELD AT THE END. "It just took us a little bit of time to trouble shoot a spark plug that went bad and I think it was lap 108 or 120 or something like that when we got back on eight cylinders. The guys did an awesome job not giving up. We were close to going a lap down on pit road there. Congratulations to Tony (Stewart) and his entire group. Obviously it's a good finish today for Stewart-Haas Racing but an even better one for him."
EVERY WEEK WE TALK ABOUT YOU GUYS IN THE TOP-FIVE, JUST A TREMENDOUS TEAM EFFORT AS WELL. "It is. It's a group effort and you're seeing the results. When you get both cars in the top-five it's not by luck. Happy we got the trophy here for the organization. We'll just keep working with the U.S. Army/Haas Automation Chevrolet and try to get it in Victory Lane."
YOU WERE VERY CLOSE ON FUEL, TONY STEWART HAD IT CALCULATED OUT TO 199.5-MILES WAS WHEN YOU WERE GOING TO RUN OUT "And (Tony) Stewart claims I'm the numbers guy! But those guys did a great job today. I'm just happy to be in the position I am. Congratulations to everybody at Stewart-Haas Racing. It was a great team effort and I'm happy to be a part of it. I look forward to continuing out the rest of the year."
JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DUPONT IMPALA SS, Finished 4th
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE TODAY'S RACE WITH THE FUEL MILEAGE SCENARIO? "We've seen it happen at a lot of races. This is a tough place to save so I am really impressed with those guys that finished ahead of us. I am really proud of Steve Letarte and this whole DuPont crew for what they did to get me out there in that position and be able to go all the way. You have to get the finishes any way you can. We never gave up. We were pretty good for a long time. That double-file restart there, boy I will tell you what, it killed us so we have got to work on that a little bit. Just aero-wise, my car was good in a single-file line and when we were in clean air. But whew, it was a handful there in all that dirty air. We got shuffled back there and it kind of worked to our favor. Tried to win it with the rain that didn't work so fourth place, I am pretty excited about that."
A BAD DAY TURNED INTO A GOOD DAY, A TOP-FIVE FINISH. "It started out good. The car felt good. I don't know why this set of tires but during the double-file restarts the aerodynamics were totally different and I was just out of control and lost a bunch of spots. Wasn't too thrilled about that. It made our day tough. It wasn't just the double-file restarts, we've got to figure out what we need here at Pocono for that. A great call in the pits by Steve (Letarte, crew chief) to try to stay out there and win it there if it rains and then it actually worked to our favor to play that out because we came in late and fueled up and made it all the way to the end and finished fourth. Pretty amazing day for the DuPont Chevrolet."
YOU'VE BEEN GOOD AT A LOT OF RACETRACKS, BUT YOU DO SO WELL HERE AT POCONO WHY IS THAT? "I don't know. I wouldn't necessarily say that the last couple of times I've been here. I feel like I've never been here before. It's hard to believe we've won four races here in the past because if you get off just the tiniest bit you feel like you're no longer at Pocono. You're not sure where you are at. As many laps and miles I have around this place you're always learning, you're always trying to figure it out. I felt like we got closer but we need to certainly get better. I'm really happy for Tony (Stewart). That's a great victory for him. A great job shutting the engine off during the green to make it all the way."
-credit: gm racing