Stewart wins at Chicagoland

Tony Stewart ended his 32-race losing streak on Monday at Chicagoland Speedway.  Stewart stretched his final tank of fuel and won the rain delayed opening race of the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship.

Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR

Stewart moved from ninth place in the standings to second, seven points behind Kevin Harvick.

“It is huge; I had a migraine all day yesterday so I am kinda glad we didn’t race. Man, this Office Depot/ Mobil One Chevy was awesome. All of our partners with Burger King, Coca Cola, and US Army, Tornados, El MOnteray, Hass Automation, all these guys, we have had a rough year so this is a good way to start off the Chase.” Stewart said.

Harvick’s second place finish enables him to take over the series points lead.

“We had a problem with fuel and had to save a lot there at the beginning and I just didn’t know how much we had in our tank there at the end but I was hoping we had enough.” Stewart said.  “Everybody on our Budweiser Chevrolet did a great job and knowing exactly how far we could go, we ran out coming on to pit road there, so good first race for us.”

Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished third, Carl Edwards fourth and Brad Keselowski finished fifth.

Earnhardt Jr. was able to capitalize when several drivers ran out of fuel.

“We worked real hard all weekend trying to be smart.  The car was a bit of a struggle in the middle part of the race but in that last run we were one of the best cars on the track.  My guys had great pit stops and worked really hard trying to get better so I really have to thank those guys for what they got us today and we had a good car and we were just real smart all weekend and did a good job and I am real happy with the team.” Earnhardt Jr. said.

Jimmie Johnson, Kyle Busch and Matt Kenseth were among the drivers who ran out of gas on the last lap.  Johnson finished 10th, Kenseth 21st and Busch finished 22nd.

“Not what we wanted. We certainly had a great race car and it’s just too bad. We ran out (of fuel) coming to the white flag.” Johnson said who sits eighth in the standings.

“We had a good car today and kept fighting back all day long. But, once we hit that debris it made the car really loose and I was doing the best I can. I still hoped we could finish in the top-10. I saved as much fuel as I could but I guess it just wasn’t enough and we ran out with two to go. Just really disappointing day.” Busch said.

Jeff Gordon had a horrible day.  He finished 24th and dropped to 11th place in the standings.

“We were just off. We didn’t qualify good. That got us behind right there. It was just one of those days. You know. We had a right front tear apart. We actually got the car halfway decent there at the end. Then it came down to saving fuel and we obviously didn’t save enough fuel.” Gordon said.

Denny Hamlin has a vibration early and then a flat tire late in the race.  He finished 31st and sits in 12th place in the standings.

The series heads to New Hampshire Motor Speedway next weekend for chase race #2.

Official Race Results    
Geico 400, Chicagoland Speedway    
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Pos. St. No. Driver Make Points
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1 26 14 Tony Stewart  Chevrolet 47
2 30 29 Kevin Harvick  Chevrolet 42
3 19 88 D.Earnhardt Jr  Chevrolet 41
4 5 99 Carl Edwards  Ford  41
5 6 2 B. Keselowski  Dodge  40
6 3 22 Kurt Busch  Dodge 40
7 21 33 Clint Bowyer  Chevrolet 37
8 4 39 Ryan Newman  Chevrolet 37
9 25 5 Mark Martin  Chevrolet 35
10 12 48 Jimmie Johnson  Chevrolet 35
11 15 6 David Ragan  Ford 33
12 24 4 Kasey Kahne  Toyota 32
13 8 83 Brian Vickers  Toyota 31
14 16 42 Juan Montoya  Chevrolet 30
15 22 31 Jeff Burton  Chevrolet 29
16 10 20 Joey Logano  Toyota 28
17 13 78 Regan Smith  Chevrolet 27
18 20 56 Martin Truex Jr.  Toyota 27
19 17 9 Marcos Ambrose  Ford 25
20 2 27 Paul Menard  Chevrolet 24
21 1 17 Matt Kenseth  Ford 24
22 9 18 Kyle Busch  Toyota 23
23 28 21 Trevor Bayne  Ford 0
24 23 24 Jeff Gordon  Chevrolet 20
25 42 32 Mike Bliss  Ford 0
26 7 16 Greg Biffle  Ford 18
27 18 43 A.Allmendinger  Ford 17
28 40 71 Andy Lally * Ford 16
29 41 13 Casey Mears  Toyota 15
30 31 51 Landon Cassill  Chevrolet 0
31 27 11 Denny Hamlin  Toyota 13
32 29 0 D. Reutimann  Toyota 12
33 39 36 Dave Blaney  Chevrolet 11
34 32 38 J.J. Yeley  Ford 11
35 35 46 Scott Speed  Ford 0
36 38 34 D. Gilliland  Ford 8
37 11 47 Bobby Labonte  Toyota 7
38 14 1 Jamie McMurray  Chevrolet 6
39 37 7 Robby Gordon  Dodge 5
40 36 87 Joe Nemechek  Toyota 0
41 34 30 David Stremme  Chevrolet 3
42 43 37 Josh Wise  Ford 0
43 33 66 M. McDowell  Toyota 1