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Sick Stewart guts out Watkins win.

Less than half way into Sunday's 90-lap Sirius at the Glen, Tony Stewart's #20 Joe Gibbs Racing crew had Boris Said sitting in Stewart's back-up Home Depot Chevrolet to see if the versatile road course ace could squeeze his lanky frame into the cockpit of the #20 machine should an increasingly ill Stewart need to withdraw. He didn't.

Fighting off the unpleasant consequences of a stomach bug and leg cramps inside a cramped and extremely hot stock car cockpit, Stewart led a total of 46 laps, including the final 25 to take his second career victory at the 2.45-mile Watkins Glen International road course.

After a number of different pit strategies shuffled the running order greatly during the mid-portion of the race, Stewart took the lead for a fourth and final time on lap 76, neatly outbraking a fuel miserly Casey Mears into the back straight esses and then keeping a steady gap back to road course ace Ron Fellows as the race wound down.

After the race, a rather wan looking Stewart climbed straight out of his car, which he did manage to guide successfully to Victory Lane as per NASCAR protocol, before departing directly to his motor home before he could be interviewed.

While some cynically suggested that this was a big ruse from Stewart, aimed at ridiculing the recent Gatorade/PowerAde/Victory Lane 'Bottlegate' saga, there was no denying the fact that Stewart didn't look his usual self at the end of the race.

There was also no denying the fact that Stewart had the strongest car in the field, save for a couple of laps in the early going when he and fellow road course ace Jeff Gordon battled for the lead.

But Gordon, and a number of other major players in the title chase, eventually fell foul of the sweeping, mechanically demanding eleven turn course, the #24 DuPont Chevrolet losing all but fourth gear in the closing laps and dropping the Hendrick Motorsports driver to 21st at the finish.

After dealing with Gordon's best challenge, Stewart fell out of the lead picture as pit strategy came into play, with defending Watkins Glen Champion Robby Gordon leading a dozen laps through the middle of the race. Gordon's #31 Cingular Wireless Chevrolet looked comfortable at the head of the field, but Robby had no answer for Stewart as the 2002 NASCAR Champ charged back up the leaderboard to take the lead at half distance.

A green flag pit stop for fuel and tyres on lap 56 pushed Stewart back into the lower reaches of the top 20 and allowed several unfamiliar faces to take the spotlight at the head of the field. These faces included Mears and Brendan Gaughan, who were both doubtful to go the full distance on fuel but who, between them, led 15 laps.



Related Pictures

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Tony Stewart holds the winner`s trophy at Watkins Glen.
Ron Fellows - Corvette Racing
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Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, and team owner Tony Stewart celebrate winning in Victory Lane after the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, celebrates with his wife DeLana and son Keelan in victory lane after winning during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, celebrates with the trophy in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
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Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet SS, celebrates his victory and the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship Sunday, November 16, 2014 winning the final NASCAR Sprint Cup race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet SS finishes 2nd. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet SS, celebrates his victory and the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship Sunday, November 16, 2014 winning the final NASCAR Sprint Cup race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet SS finishes 2nd. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet SS, celebrates his victory and the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship Sunday, November 16, 2014 winning the final NASCAR Sprint Cup race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet SS finishes 2nd. (Photo by Christa L Thomas/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet SS, celebrates his victory and the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship Sunday, November 16, 2014 winning the final NASCAR Sprint Cup race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet SS finishes 2nd. (Photo by Garry Eller/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, leads Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet, during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

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