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Tony Stewart Cruises In New Hampshire

This one was never in doubt as Tony coasted home in

By

Updated July 18, 2005
Loudon New Hampshire welcomed the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup drivers to its New Hampshire International Speedway this weekend. The relatively flat one mile oval is fast but requires teams to focus on handling. For teams on the bubble this is a key race to assure a spot in the top ten. For teams solidly in the chase this week is a valuable practice session for when drivers return in two months for the first race of the Chase For The NEXTEL Cup.

Qualifying

Hendrick Motorsports driver Brian Vickers took the pole over Ray Evernham Motorsports' Kasey Kahne. Robert Yates Racing's Elliott Sadler started third with Penske South's Ryan Newman in fourth. Chevy, Dodge, Ford and Dodge in the top two rows means that NASCAR has achieved parity.... at least for this week.

Drop The Green Flag

Like a few weeks ago in Daytona, the drivers received the green and yellow flags at the same time because of an earlier rain shower. They rode around under caution until the start of lap seven when they finally started green flag racing.

Kasey Kahne jumped out the early lead with pole sitter Brian Vickers chasing him as the cars settled down for the early racing. Some drivers that were moving up in the early going include Tony Stewart, Jeff Gordon, Dale Jarrett, Rusty Wallace and Joe Nemechek. Will the older guys have an impact on the final outcome of this race?

Tony Stewart certainly would. He took the lead quite early on and really checked out. Stewart truly dominated the first half of the race.

Storylines

The race was delayed by rain and caused the first six laps to run under yellow and again on lap 58 the yellow flew for rain. Mother Nature was determined to make her presence felt this week as tire and pit strategies were definitely affected by the rain cautions.

Many drivers were having a hard time getting a handle on the race track. Many drivers were tight, some were loose and some were both tight and loose at the same time. This fast, flat race track puts a premium on handling and the rain changed the track a bit from practice.

No matter what happened, Tony Stewart was just plain fast.

Chasing The Checkers

Track position is so important at New Hampshire that this race was destined to be decided by some late race pit strategy. The caution flew with 82 laps to go and the field headed to pit road to make what would likely be their final stops of the day. Tony Stewart won the race off of pit road with Kyle Busch behind him. Would anyone be able to catch Tony?

Kyle Busch applied some serious pressure when the green flag flew but he just couldn't quite get it done. Tony was just too strong.

Elliott Sadler crashed and brought out a late race yellow. On the restart Kyle Busch tried Tony again but his older brother Kurt Busch got around him and was able to get past Tony on the outside.

It took Tony a couple of laps to run him down but he retook the lead and coasted home for the easy win.

Top Ten

  1. Tony Stewart
  2. Kurt Busch
  3. Bobby Labonte
  4. Kyle Busch
  5. Greg Biffle
  6. Kasey Kahne
  7. Ryan Newman
  8. Rusty Wallace
  9. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
  10. Matt Kenseth

The Points

Jimmie Johnson maintained the lead as there were no changes in the top four. Kurt Busch solidified his spot as he jumped five spots up to fifth.

Dale Jarrett fought his way back into the top ten as Jamie McMurray had a bad day and fell out of the Chase to eleventh.

Even with losing his brakes late in the race Jeff Gordon maintained his fifteenth place spot in the points and Dale Earnhardt Jr maintained his thirteenth place position after scoring a top ten finish.

  1. Jimmie Johnson 0
  2. Greg Biffle -77
  3. Tony Stewart -85
  4. Rusty Wallace -230
  5. Kurt Busch -325
  6. Ryan Newman -325
  7. Mark Martin -352
  8. Jeremy Mayfield -387
  9. Elliott Sadler -396
  10. Dale Jarrett -418

Next Week

We go back to Pocono where the NEXTEL Cup drivers raced just raced on June 12th. Carl Edwards did his trademark backflip after winning that day. Can he pull off another win next week? The fast 2.5 mile triangle is a tricky race track and most anything can happen.

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