Three-time defending NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) champion Tony Stewart checked another track off his bucket list with an exciting win today at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Stewart led a race-high 127 laps on the way to his 45th career win after starting in seventh position.
With a dominating performance, Stewart collected a personal milestone of winning at LVMS for the first time in his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career, and has earned at least one victory in 14 consecutive seasons. He now sits seventh in the standings with three races in the books for 2012. It was also Stewart's first win with new crew chief, Steve Addington.
Jimmie Johnson finished second. Dale Earnhardt Jr., who led twice early in the event for 70 laps finished in 10th place.
“Just an awesome day,” said Stewart. “We felt like after Happy Hour yesterday we had a really good, solid, fairly balanced race car. That's probably the best I felt leaving Happy Hour in a long time. The hard part was just looking at the time sheet, seeing how many guys, we were all right together speed wise. You knew it was going to be a tough day to get an advantage. It didn't take long in the day to see who the three guys were. I felt like we were the third guy in the group. But definitely Matt Kenseth and Jimmie were guys we were going to have to battle to the end with.
“Just a nerve-wracking end of the day for sure. Every time the caution came out, you knew that was another heat cycle on the tires. Our car was so, so strong today on restarts. We could get to the start-finish line and get to Turn 1 so good today, that was a big key in holding these guys off. It was a matter of getting a good restart, hitting our marks for a couple laps, going on. Every time the caution came out, you cringed knowing you were giving them another opportunity to take a shot. Seemed like everybody got their turn at it. Just different person on each restart that we had to hold off. (Crew chief) Steve Addington did an awesome job. Our guys did an awesome job in the pits all day, kept us with good track position. We had an awesome Mobil 1 Office Depot Chevy and great Hendrick horsepower.”