NASCAR »

Stewart shows he's no one-hit wonder

The timing of the caution - before the completion of this round of pit stops - resulted in only five cars being shown on the lead lap, so Kevin Harvick received the lucky-dog free pass back onto the lead lap and many others received the wave-around onto the lead lap as well by virtue of opting not to pit under the caution. Gordon was on to pit road, as were Martin and Montoya again as it was essentially a free stop and put them back on-sync with the other runners.

Once all this was sorted out it was Kahne back in the lead ahead of Jeff Gordon, David Ragan, Mark Martin and Kevin Harvick for the restart on lap 162. Gordon used his fresher tyres to pass Kahne at the restart, and he had built up a 1.6s lead over Kahne when the third (and, it proved, final) caution came out on lap 173 when Matt Kenseth spun after contact from his Roush Fenway Racing team mate Carl Edwards - who had simply carried too much speed out of turn 1 and run into the back of the #17. Both cars escaped without serious damage.

"I feel really dumb for running in to him, but I'm glad it worked out for both of us," said Edwards. "If Matt doesn't retaliate, we'll be really good!"

"That was no big deal," said Kenseth, with no such thoughts of payback entering his mind. "I was having a little bit of brake fade, and I backed up extra early. I didn't expect it, or I probably could have saved it, but that was no big deal. Those things happen."

Jeff Gordon was now leading Kasey Kahne, David Ragan, Mark Martin and Greg Biffle, with the top nine all having stayed out. Harvick in tenth was the highest of those that had pitted for fuel but no tyres (which meant he lost positions at the restart to those behind him on fresher rubber), while Jimmie Johnson was all the way back in 19th after having stopped for four tyres as well as gas.

Now the race all started to focus down once again on fuel conservation, with the crew chiefs of those cars that had pitted soon on the team radios to say that they wanted to try running to the chequered flag on just one more stop - but it would be tight. Those that hadn't just pitted - like Kasey Kahne and Jeff Gordon - were looking at two stops, which meant that they would have to run hard to pull out the necessary margin over the others.

Things were getting tense: Jimmie Johnson snapped at his long-time crew chief Chad Knaus to quit the "annoying" cheer-leading radio communications, and Ryan Newman and his crew chief Tony Gibson were also having to make up and apologise to each other for bickering.

Newman's team mate and car owner Tony Stewart, meanwhile, was suddenly looking oddly strong in this stage of the race. He passed Greg Biffle for seventh on lap 195 and looked good on fuel too. Stewart finally had to pit for fuel on lap 228 at the same time as David Ragan; Mark Martin, Clint Bowyer and Greg Biffle had made their stops on the preceding laps and were on the very limit of making it.

Gordon's run in the lead lasted to lap 230 when he finally had to surrender a six second lead to come in. But he'd left it too late, and the car ran out of gas on pit road and took an age to get the fuel in and pumping properly, and suddenly his shot at a win was just so much vapour.

Kurt Busch was the last car to come in during this round of stops, and when he pitted on lap 246 it put the off-sync two-stopper Kahne back in front briefly. But Clint Bowyer had been planning for this moment and he smoothly moved into the lead down the inside four laps later, with Tony Stewart following him through into second place - and the two would go on to maintain those positions for the next 48 laps.

by Andrew Lewin



Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
A view of the race action and crowd at the Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway today in Loudon, N.H. [Photo Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images]
NASCAR Officials and the crew of the #22 Shell/Pennzoil Dodge driven by Kurt Busch (not pictured) finished a late pre-race inspection as a jet performs a flyover during the performance of the National Anthem prior to the start of the Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Sept. 25 in Loudon, N.H. [Picture Credit: Justin Edmonds/Getty Images for NASCAR]
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #29 Budweiser Chevrolet, leads Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet and Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #56 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota, during the Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Sept. 25 in Loudon, N.H. [Picture Credit: Geoff Burke/Getty Images for NASCAR]
Ryan Newman, driver of the #39 Haas Automation Chevrolet, and Kasey Kahne, driver of the #4 Red Bull Toyota, lead the field across the start/finish line as they drop the green flag for the start of the Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Sept. 25 in Loudon, N.H. [Picture Credit: Gregg Ellman-Pool/Getty Images]
Tony Stewart celebrates with the chequered flag after winning the Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Sept. 25 in Loudon, N.H. [Picture Credit: Justin Edmonds/Getty Images for NASCAR]
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet SS finishes in fifth place, Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet SS finishes in 33rd place in the Daytona 500 Sunday, February 22, 2015 at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida. Gordon, who led for 87 laps,  was involved in a multi-car incident on the last lap. (Photo by HHP/Harold Hinson for Chevy Racing)
Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS races to a third place finish with Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet SS who finishes in fifth place in the Daytona 500 Sunday, February 22, 2015 at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by HHP/Alan Marler for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS pulls into his pit on his way to a second place finish in the Daytona 500 Sunday, February 22, 2015 at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by HHP/Harold Hinson for Chevy Racing)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet, Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, and Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Visser Percision Chevrolet, lead the field during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 57th Annual Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 22, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo Credit: Robert Laberge/Getty Images)
Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet, and Clint Bowyer, driver of the #15 5-hour ENERGY Toyota, race three-wide during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 57th Annual Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 22, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Smoke pours from the #2 Miller Lite Ford, driven by Brad Keselowski, during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 57th Annual Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 22, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet, and Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet, lead the field to the green flag for the running of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 57th Annual Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 22, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Robert Reiners/Getty Images)
Chris Buescher, driver of the #60 Kellogg/Cheez-It Ford, races Brad Keselowski, driver of the #22 Discount Tire Ford, Kyle Larson, driver of the #42 ENEOS Chevrolet, and Ryan Reed, driver of the #16 Lilly/American Diabetes Association Ford, during the NASCAR XFINITY Series Alert Today Florida 300 at Daytona International Speedway on February 21, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Erik Jones, driver of the #20 GameStop/Rock Candy Toyota, Darrell Wallace Jr., driver of the #6 Ford EcoBoost Ford, and Landon Cassill, driver of the #01 Flex Seal Chevrolet, race three-wide during the NASCAR XFINITY Series Alert Today Florida 300 at Daytona International Speedway on February 21, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
Denny Hamlin in the #11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota at Daytona. (Photo Credit: Robert Laberge/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Larson, driver of the #42 Target Chevrolet, is interviewed in the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 57th Annual Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 19, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Hendrick Motorsports team mates (left) Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet and (right) Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet celebrate in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Budweiser Duel 1 at Daytona International Speedway on February 19, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet, takes the chequered flag to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Budweiser Duel 2 at Daytona International Speedway on February 19, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Jonathan Ferrey/NASCAR via Getty Images)

Start the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register before adding your comments.

Although the administrators and moderators of this website will attempt to keep all objectionable comments off these pages, it is impossible for us to review all messages. All messages express the views of the poster, and neither Crash Media Group nor Crash.Net will be held responsible for the content of any message. We do not vouch for or warrant the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of any message, and are not responsible for the contents of any message. If you find a message objectionable, please contact us and inform us of the problem or use the [report] function next to the offending post. Any message that does not conform with the policy of this service can be edited or removed with immediate effect.




© 1999 - 2015 Crash Media Group

The total or partial reproduction of text, photographs or illustrations is not permitted in any form.