Tony Stewart gambled on fuel to steal the win at Kansas Speedway. Stewart was running second to Jimmie Johnson with four laps to go when Johnson was forced to pit for fuel giving the lead to Stewart. The No. 20 Chevy was short on fuel but...
Tony Stewart gambled on fuel to steal the win at Kansas Speedway. Stewart was running second to Jimmie Johnson with four laps to go when Johnson was forced to pit for fuel giving the lead to Stewart.
The No. 20 Chevy was short on fuel but Stewart and crew chief Greg Zipadelli chose to risk it and stay out. They ran out of gas halfway through the last lap and coasted across the finish line to score Stewart his third win of the season.
"That was pretty quiet," Stewart joked. "They are pretty quiet when they are dead stick like that. We came off of turn two and it went flat for good. I just shut it off so we weren't letting the motor pull it down. I was just watching to see where the leaders were, just an awesome call by Zippy (Greg Zipadelli, crew chief).
"What an awesome weekend for us."
Casey Mears also ran out of fuel on the last lap but coasted across the line second.
"Right after we took the white (flag) I had to start shaking it," explained Mears. "It had just enough fuel where it ran out going into three."
Mark Martin was third, "We fought for this one," said Martin. "We had to run slow there at the end but we got them on gas mileage. These guys worked hard. We're still in this thing, we're going to fight it to the end."
Dale Jarrett and point leader Jeff Burton complete the top five.
"I was afraid it was going to be worse than that," said Burton who also had to stop for gas late in the race. "I was afraid we were going to end up 14th or 15th, I hate those fuel mileage things. But my guys did a great job today, we had a good day today and ran well."
Pole sitter Kasey Kahne led the first ten laps before the field was slowed when Robby Gordon spun causing the first caution on lap 10. Several lead lap cars pitted, but the No. 9 Dodge did not keeping their place out front.
Johnson passed Kahne for the restart on lap 14, but a multi-car wreck on lap 16 affected many Chase racers. Third place Ryan Newman got loose and spun narrowly missing Jeff Burton and sending Kevin Harvick and Jeff Gordon into the grass. Gordon and Harvick both pitted and rejoined the field with minimal damage.
Johnson restarted in the lead on lap 19 but the third yellow waved a lap later when Reed Sorenson cut a tire and backed it into the wall. The race restarted on lap 25 with the No. 48 Chevy leading the way but not for long as outside pole sitter Scott Riggs took the lead on lap 29.
Riggs led until lap 36 when Clint Bowyer passed for the top spot. Bowyer still led when the fourth caution fell on lap 60 for debris. The leaders pitted with Earnhardt, Jr. winning the race off pit road for the lead.
The No. 8 Chevy was leading when the fifth caution came out on lap 68 for a spin by David Gilliland. Earnhardt remained the race leader on the restart at lap 73 and led until Kyle Busch passed on lap 80.
Busch was still out front when green flag pit stops commenced on lap 125. Busch had regained the lead when the sixth caution fell on lap 131. Busch led on the restart at lap 137.
Matt Kenseth spun into the grass on lap 145 becoming the seventh yellow; a two-tire stop grabbed Bowyer the lead on the restart at lap 150. Bowyer was slowed on lap 153 when Denny Hamlin smacked the wall for caution eight.
Bowyer's two-tires gave up the lead to Johnson's four on lap 167. On lap 172, the ninth yellow emerged when Bowyer spun smacking the wall while running second. Edwards took two-tires during pit stops garnering the lead. The 10th yellow waved at lap 182 when Ryan Newman spun.
Johnson was back in the lead on the restart at lap 186. The No. 48 Chevy was slowed on lap 195 when JJ Yeley brought out the 11th caution. Johnson continued to lead on the restart on lap 199 but lost it to Greg Biffle two laps later.
Biffle and Johnson traded to top spot a few times before the No. 48 Chevy settled in up front. Johnson continued to lead as the race wound down but concerns whether he had enough fuel to make it to the end forced to pit with three to go. A wreck by Kahne on pit road slowed Johnson's fuel efforts; after he finally pitted and got gas he rejoined the field seventh.
Things got worse for Johnson when he was scored too fast exiting pit road and had to serve a stop-and-go penalty.
"Coming to pit road the 9 spun out in front of me," explained Johnson who wound up 14th. "I thought it would bring out the caution so I shot back onto the race track. The caution didn't come out so we lost much time there which took us out of position to win, and then I got a speeding violation on pit road."
Johnson's misfortune gave the lead to Tony Stewart. He was slow through turn four low on gas, but several cars behind him were also low on gas allowing Stewart to coast across the finish line to grab his 27th career win.
Jeff Burton continues to lead the NASCAR Chase for the Nextel Cup. Denny Hamlin (-69), Mark Martin (-70), Matt Kenseth (-84), Kevin Harvick (-96), Jeff Gordon (-120), Dale Earnhardt, Jr. (-123), Jimmie Johnson (-165), Kyle Busch (-233) and Kasey Kahne (-273) complete the top ten.
There were 11 cautions for 45 laps and 20 lead changes among 13 drivers.