Tony Stewart may not have captured a win leading up to the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, but he sure is making up for it now. Stewart is two-for-two in NASCAR's playoffs after winning the SYLVANIA 300 today at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
The driver of the No. 14 Mobil 1/Office Depot Chevrolet passed Clint Bowyer on the second to last lap after Bowyer played a fuel mileage game and lost. Ironically, in a similar dramatic finish last year Stewart ran out of gas on the last lap and it was Bowyer to cross the Granite Stripe first.
The win is Stewart's third victory and his 16th top-10 finish in 26 races at "The Magic Mile." He currently leads Kevin Harvick in the championship standings by seven points.
"It was definitely an awesome ending to the day," said Stewart. "It was rough getting there. I think the first two-thirds of the race we hung around 10th or 12th not by choice or design, it just seemed like that was all we could get. We weren't the fastest car, but we were solid and could maintain that pace the last 100 laps."
Stewart-Haas racing has completed the Loudon sweep with Ryan Newman winning in July and "Smoke's" victory today.
"Loudon has been awful good to us this year for sure. Ryan did a great job in both the races being fastest in practice and winning both the poles. It just seemed like once we had better air today we were able to stay there."
Crew Chief Darian Grubb had this to add on the team's second win of 2011: "It was just a huge day for the entire 14 team, to battle back after the year we've had is awesome. We are all just honored and lucky to have two weeks go our way."
Chase wild card contender Brad Keselowski continued his hot streak by finishing second in today's 300-lap event. The driver of the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge boasts two top-10 finishing positions in his five races at the 1.058-mile oval.
"It's been a good road here to travel down the last few weeks and today was no exception," said Keselowski. "I'd be lying if I said we were the fastest car, but we made good adjustments to our car. We got it to where it was a good top-10 car. I'm proud of the finish we had today. We did get a little help from fuel mileage, but we definitely were going to have a fourth or fifth place car; instead we ended up second. All-in-all it was a decent day which is right where we need to be in the chase."
Keselowski now sits third in the championship standings just 11 points behind Stewart, as the series heads to Dover next weekend.
For full results from today's SYLVANIA 300 please visit http://www.nhms.com/media/race_results/.