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Stewart quick to return to winning ways

This latest caution had taken the race to a restart on lap 263 and a four lap shootout between Stewart and Johnson for the win. Stewart once again aced the restart and retained the lead into the first turn, but behind the leading duo the third-placed man Matt Kenseth took a hard hit against the wall down the backstretch while battling with Carl Edwards and it looked for a moment that the race was about to go into a green-white-chequered scenario. But Kenseth's car was off the racing line and the race officials were able to keep the track green, allowing the #14/#48 duel to run its course.

"Matt spun his tires a little bit and I got a run on him," said Edwards. "Then Greg and I went around him, and he ended up getting wrecked. I feel terrible."

"Carl just laid back and got by me three-wide, and then it just didn't seem like there was a lot of room getting into 1," explained Kenseth, who was classified in 22nd position. "Then I did get clear behind him and he just stopped in the middle of the corner. I don't really know what happened."

Kasey Kahne passing Kenseth on the outside was the final straw, sucking the #17 into the wall; Kahne's car also received damage in the incident and ended up in 19th place in the final classification.

Johnson had a run on Stewart coming out of turn 4, but Stewart had it covered. Johnson then tried running high up on the progressive banking through the turns of the remaining lap in the hope of slingshotting past for the lead - but Stewart had that covered, too. In fact, Stewart had it sown up: he crossed the line almost half a second up on Johnson, who could do nothing except enjoy the front row seat as the reigning Cup champion took the chequered flag.

It was Stewart's first win in 2012, and his first since the stunning run in the 2011 season finale at Homestead-Miami that had won him his third Cup championship. It was his 45th victory in 467 starts but remarkably his first win at Ls Vegas Motor Speedway in 14 attempts.

"That was the great thing about our race car: I think we were hands-down the strongest car on restarts of getting to turn 1 from the restart point," said a beaming Stewart in victory lane.

Even so, Stewart admitted that it had been hard work and all rather nerve wracking with so many late cautions: "Every time the caution came out, you cringed knowing you were giving them another opportunity to take a shot,” he said. “It seemed like everybody got their turn at it, just a different person on each restart that we had to hold off."

“I just blew it ... He got away from me," was Johnson's own verdict on the final laps. "The next to the last start, I felt like I got a good one and he still cruised away," he said, adding: "I drove my guts out, but just didn't get it done."

Behind Johnson, Greg Biffle was never far from the front and had a solid and largely uneventful run to third place, which puts him to the top of the Sprint Cup points championship 10pts ahead of Kevin Harvick, after former championship front-runner Denny Hamlin slumped back to third place after a lacklustre run at Vegas that even saw him lapped by the leaders during one of the lengthier green flag spells.




Related Pictures

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Las Vegas native Kyle Busch spins out to bring out the final caution of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Kobalt Tools 400 on Sunday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. [Photo Credit: Getty Images for NASCAR]
Tony Stewart celebrates his first win with new crew chief Steve Addington on Sunday after the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Kobalt Tools 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in Las Vegas, Nev. [Photo Credit: Getty Images for NASCAR]
Tony Stewart leads Jimmie Johnson during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Kobalt Tools 400 on Sunday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in Las Vegas, Nev. [Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR]
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Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, practices for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Oral-B USA 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on August 29, 2014 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Tony Stewart at Dover International Speedway on May 30 2014. (Photo Credit: Rainier Ehrhardt/Getty Images for NASCAR Media)
Jamie McMurray, driver of the #1 McDonald’s Chevrolet SS, finished eighth and Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Great Clips Chevrolet SS, finished 35th Saturday, August 23, 2014 in the Nascar Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/HHP for Chevy Racing)
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Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet SS, qualified for sixth position Friday, August 22, 2014 for Saturday evening`s Nascar Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee. Johnson is seventh in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmie John`s Chevrolet SS, won the pole position Friday, August 22, 2014 for Saturday evening`s Nascar Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee. Harvick is sixth in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, poses with the pole award after qualifying fastest for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 22, 2014 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo Credit: Rainier Ehrhardt/Getty Images)

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