CONCORD, N.C. — Tony Stewart led only once for two laps in Saturday night’s NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, but they were the most important ones, as he paced the final two circuits around the 1.5-mile oval after getting by Matt Kenseth for the lead on lap 98 of the 100-lap event.Stewart, who started 15th, was in the top 10 for much of the night, but didn’t become a factor at the front of the pack until he began battling with Kenseth in the final five laps of the event.
“I can’t believe he (Kenseth) gave me the bottom,” Stewart said. “We got a run on him two laps before and got a run off of (turn) two at the bottom and got beside him. I overdrove it in (turn) three and just got down there and got loose trying to clear him, and he was able to get back by us. Then he went to the bottom in (turns) one and two the next lap. I don’t think he was great down there, but he was good enough, I think, to hold us off. But the next lap we go back through there and we got a run off of (turn) four on him.”
It was Stewart’s first victory as driver/owner for Stewart-Haas Racing. It was also the first All-Star race win for Stewart, who had four top-10 finishes in 10 previous starts in the event. Stewart became the second driver/owner to win the All-Star Race, joining Geoff Bodine, who accomplished the feat in 1994.
Matt Kenseth, who ran in second position the majority of the race’s second half, took the lead with five laps remaining, but was unable to hold off the advance of Stewart’s No. 14 car.
“It’s better to run second than anywhere else but first,” said Kenseth. “On the other hand, it’s disappointing when you take two to go on the track and you’re in the lead and you come home second. I feel bad that we got beat, but I think I could do it 100 times and I couldn’t hold him off.”
Stewart’s teammate, Ryan Newman, driver of the No. 39 U.S. Army/Haas Automation Chevrolet, finished a disappointing 18th after battling with the leaders in the closing stages of the race. On lap 93, Newman made contact with the wall while engaging in a three-way battle for the lead with Jeff Gordon and Kyle Busch. The damage to Newman’s car sent him to the garage, seven laps shy of the finish.
Following Stewart and Kenseth across the stripe was Kurt Busch, while Denny Hamlin and Carl Edwards rounded out the top-five. Mark Martin, Kyle Busch, rookie Joey Logano, Jamie McMurray and Dale Earnhardt Jr. comprised the remainder of the top 10.
Sam Hornish won the preliminary Sprint Showdown to advance to the Sprint All-Star Race.
Hornaday Rallies for Lowe’s Win
Ron Hornaday rallied from a lap down to win the Craftsman Truck Series race at Lowe’s Motor Speedway over Kyle Busch. The win was Hornaday’s first of the 2009 season, and moved him into the points lead over Mike Skinner.
Top 10 leaders after 6 of 25: 1. Hornaday-966, 2. Skinner-882, 3. Crafton-877, 4. Ky. Busch-852, 5. Bodine-837, 6. Cook-786, 7. Benson-779, 8. McCumbee-770, 9. Compton-762, 10. Scott-759.
Weekend Racing Schedule
The Sprint Cup and Nationwide teams are at the 1.5-mile Lowe’s Motor Speedway. For the Cup teams, this weekend’s Coca Cola 600 will be their longest race of the year (600 miles).
Saturday, May 23
Nationwide Series Carquest Auto Parts 300, Starting time: 7:30 p.m. (EDT); TV: ESPN2.
Sunday, May 24
Sprint Cup Coca Cola 600, Starting time: 5 p.m. (EDT); TV: FOX.
Racing Trivia Question: Why has NASCAR suspended Cup driver Jeremy Mayfield?
Last Week’s Question: How many Cup wins does Casey Mears, driver of the 07 Chevrolet, have?
Answer: His only Cup win came at Charlotte in 2007.
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