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Stewart Storms To Daytona Victory

Tony Charged Through The Pack Late To Take The Win In Daytona

By

2006 Pepsi 400 at Daytona International Speedway

2006 Pepsi 400 at Daytona International Speedway

Logo Courtesy of NASCAR
Updated July 02, 2006
The 2006 Pepsi 400 was pretty tame by recent restrictor plate standards. Tony Stewart lead more than half of the race and was able to avoid trouble as his main competitors found trouble in the close-quarters racing. A late caution set up a dash to the checkers and shuffled the running order. Tony Stewart stormed back to the lead holding off the Busch brothers for the win.

Qualifying

Road racing expert Boris Said strengthened his bid to break into NASCAR NEXTEL Cup racing full-time by putting his SOBE-No Fear Ford on the pole. 2005 winner of this race Tony Stewart qualified on the outside of row one.

David Stremme, Jeff Gordon and Joe Nemechek rounded out the top five.

Drop The Green Flag

Tony Stewart jumped out to the early lead as the drivers at the front of the pack tried to settle in for a long race. However a beach ball made its way onto the race track on lap seven bringing out the first caution.

The early running was pretty tame by restrictor plate standards. Single file was the norm as drivers were avoiding aggressive three and four wide situations through the first portion of the race. Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart lead a big portion of the early going.

Storylines

The race was relatively calm as Tony Stewart dominated the event. The biggest story of the night is that this was Fox's last race of the year. Starting next week NBC and TNT take over the NASCAR coverage through the end of the season. I still have significant issues with Fox's camera angles and their decision to miss the restarts. We will have to see if NBC can do a better job with their generally tamer NASCAR coverage.

Chasing The Checkers

Tony Stewart was out front for more than half of tonight's race. However a late bobble by Jimmie Johnson brought out the caution and everyone headed for pit road. Some teams gambled on no tires or just two tires which scrambled the running order.

Boris Said and Casey Mears didn't take any tires and restarted first and second. Then a number of drivers took only two tires to move up into the top ten. Tony Stewart restarted tenth. Tony blasted his way through the pack and made it to second place before the yellow flag flew again just two laps later.

Boris Said lead Tony Stewart and Kyle Busch to the green with three laps to go. It took Tony only one lap to get the lead with Kyle hot on his heels. Kyle's brother Kurt Busch slid up into third as they took the white flag. The Busch brothers never got a chance to mount a charge because the caution came out as they got onto the back stretch for the final time.

The caution flag instantly froze the field running order and handed the win to Tony Stewart.

Top Ten

  1. Tony Stewart
  2. Kyle Busch
  3. Kurt Busch
  4. Boris Said
  5. Elliott Sadler
  6. Matt Kenseth
  7. Casey Mears
  8. Jamie McMurray
  9. Kevin Harvick
  10. Clint Bowyer

The Points

Jimmie Johnson's late race crash erased much of his point lead over Matt Kenseth. Johnson is now up by just 13 markers.

Two drivers cracked the top ten as Kyle Busch and Denny Hamlin now hold down those valuable top ten points positions. These two replaced Jeff Gordon and Greg Biffle who were bumped from the top ten with bad finishes.

The top ten in points are now:

  1. Jimmie Johnson -0
  2. Matt Kenseth -13
  3. Dale Earnhardt Jr. -267
  4. Kasey Kahne -292
  5. Tony Stewart -299
  6. Mark Martin -324
  7. Jeff Burton -349
  8. Kyle Busch -406
  9. Kevin Harvick -413
  10. Denny Hamlin -453

Next Week

NBC kicks off their NASCAR coverage next week at Chicagoland Speedway in Joiliet, IL. Last year Dale Earnhardt Jr. played pit strategy to take the win. Can he repeat his winning ways next week?

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