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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
Mark Martin waits to qualify at New Hampshire
Dale Earnhardt Jr, driver of the #88 Nationwide Stars And Stripes Chevrolet SS, takes the chequered flag, Sunday July 5, 2015, in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida. Following in second place is Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Patriotic Chevrolet SS. (Photo by Andrew Coppley/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Dale Earnhardt Jr, driver of the #88 Nationwide Stars And Stripes Chevrolet SS, takes the chequered flag, Sunday July 5, 2015, in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Dale Earnhardt Jr, driver of the #88 Nationwide Stars And Stripes Chevrolet SS, takes the chequered flag, Sunday July 5, 2015, in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Dale Earnhardt Jr, driver of the #88 Nationwide Stars And Stripes Chevrolet SS, celebrates his win Sunday July 5, 2015, in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Stars and Stripes Chevrolet, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coke Zero 400 Powered by Coca-Cola at Daytona International Speedway on July 6, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Stars and Stripes Chevrolet, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coke Zero 400 Powered by Coca-Cola at Daytona International Speedway on July 6, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images)
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Stars and Stripes Chevrolet, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coke Zero 400 Powered by Coca-Cola at Daytona International Speedway on July 6, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida (Photo Credit: Photo by Robert Laberge/Getty Images)
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Stars and Stripes Chevrolet, affixes the winner’s decal to his car in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coke Zero 400 Powered by Coca-Cola at Daytona International Speedway on July 6, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Sarah Crabill/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Stars and Stripes Chevrolet, takes the chequered flag to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coke Zero 400 Powered by Coca-Cola at Daytona International Speedway on July 6, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Chris Trotman/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Stars and Stripes Chevrolet, and Austin Dillon, driver of the #3 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet, lead the field prior to the start of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coke Zero 400 Powered by Coca-Cola at Daytona International Speedway on July 5, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Daniel Suarez, driver of the #18 ARRIS Toyota, leads the field to the green flag to start the NASCAR XFINITY Series Subway Firecracker 250 Powered By Coca-Cola at Daytona International Speedway on July 4, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Chris Trotman/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Bobby Gerhart, driver of the #85 Lucas Oil Chevrolet, is involved in an on-track incident during the NASCAR XFINITY Series Subway Firecracker 250 Powered By Coca-Cola at Daytona International Speedway on July 4, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Brennan Poole, driver of the #42 DC Solar Chevrolet, Aric Almirola, driver of the #98 Fresh from Florida Ford, Blake Koch, driver of the #8 Celsius Healthy Energy Cola Toyota, Chris Buescher, driver of the #60 Bit-O-Honey Ford, Dakoda Armstrong, driver of the #43 WinField Ford, and Regan Smith, driver of the #7 Fire Alarm Services Chevrolet, are involved in an on-track incident during the NASCAR XFINITY Series Subway Firecracker 250 Powered By Coca-Cola at Daytona International Speedway on July 4, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo Credit: Sarah Crabill/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Austin Dillon, driver of the #33 Rheem Chevrolet, takes the chequered flag to win the NASCAR XFINITY Series Subway Firecracker 250 Powered By Coca-Cola at Daytona International Speedway on July 4, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Austin Dillon, driver of the #33 Rheem Chevrolet, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR XFINITY Series Subway Firecracker 250 Powered By Coca-Cola at Daytona International Speedway on July 4, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Sarah Crabill/NASCAR via Getty Images)

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