Stewart Finally Tames Darlington
After finally winning at Talladega Superspeedway two weeks ago, Stewart was able to keep the streak alive by pulling into victory lane at Darlington Raceway.
Stewart continued Joe Gibbs Racing's tear in the NASCAR Nationwide Series by capturing the sixth win for the No. 20 team when he took the checkered flag in Friday night's Diamond Hill Plywood 200.
"With the rich heritage and history here at Darlington - to win here and be the first guy to win after they resurfaced it, It's a feeling that's hard to describe," Stewart said. "It's just cool to win at Darlington. You think back at guys like David Pearson who were so good here."
Stewart held off Clint Bowyer on a green-white-checkered finish to score his fourth win in sixth attempts. It was also the eighth overall win for JGR combined with Kyle Busch and Denny Hamlin with both the No. 18 and 20 Teams.
"Dave Rogers (crew chief) and these guys -- it's not the drivers, I'm telling you that," Stewart said. "It's been here with three different guys so it's this team behind us and all of the guys at JGR. They do such an awesome job. It's just a real honor to drive this race car."
Driving a back-up car, David Reutimann was able to pass Todd Bodine coming to the finish to take third.
"I got a run on Todd there right at the end and he didn't crowd me or anything like that," Reutimann said. "He raced me clean and that was really cool. All and all, it started out not too good of a weekend, but it ended up pretty good."
Steven Wallace finished fifth for his second consecutive top five.
The green-white-checkered finish was set up after Mark Martin, who was running second at the time, had fuel pick-up problems on a restart which caused a chain reaction.
"I didnt have a clue that we would come up short," Martin said.
The race looked like it would belong to Matt Kenseth in the late going, who had built a comfortable lead as the laps wound down.
But after pitting under green for a vibration to give up the top spot, Kenseth's car crashed hard on the frontstretch a few laps later.
"We just had a loose wheel while we were leading and we had to pit because it was getting ready to fall off," Kenseth said. "When we came back out, I was just driving way over my head to somehow try to get back in the race. We were a lap down and I was trying to catch up where I thought the lucky dog was and I just let it get away from me. I was frustrated and mad at the moment and driving a little faster than I knew the car would take me and it just got away from me. It's frustrating."
Bowyer was able to increase his points lead to 112, the largest of the season with the runner-up finish.
Pole-sitter Carl Edwards, who trailed Bowyer by nine points at the start of the race, finished last after he hit the wall in Turn 1 on lap four.
"They dropped the green and I was ready to race," Edwards said. "I got loose and hit the wall. That was a bad mistake and I learned by lesson there."
Kyle Busch was up front in the first half of the race but he found trouble when he ran into a pack of slower cars including Brad Keselowski.
Busch's car slid up the track and hard into the outside wall ending his night.
"I can say and take the blame, but I can't on this one," Busch said. "We've got a lap car that's out there that's racing with us leaders showing disrespect. Next time I'm a lap
down and I've got damage I'm going to race him like an SOB and wreck him, too."
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