2009-06-11 / Sports

Stewart Wins On Fumes At Pocono

By Gerald Hodges THE RACING REPORTER

Tony Stewart Tony Stewart POCONO, Pa. - "I hate this kind of racing," said Tony Stewart just prior to winning Sunday's Sprint Cup Pocono 500 on fuel mileage.

Stewart, who won the pole, had to start the 200-lap race as the last car in the 43-car field after wrecking his primary car during Saturday's practice. He conserved fuel during the final 10 laps for his first points victory of the season and as a car owner.

"This has been an awesome weekend," continued Stewart. "I've always had a great group of people to work with, but this is one of the best teams I've ever been with."

Carl Edwards finished second for his third top-5 finish of the season.

"I didn't think Tony was going to be a factor at the end," said Edwards. "My Ford was good all day. He barely beat us off pit road. We asked ourselves if we were going to race him or save fuel. We decided to save fuel. "I was sure that he was going to run out of fuel, but he didn't."

David Reutimann finished third, and Jeff Gordon was fourth. Stewart's teammate, Ryan Newman finished fifth.

"The guys did a great job on pit road, but we had a bad spark plug," said Newman. "I was trying to drive and troubleshoot at the same time. We got lucky being able to stay on the lead lap and finish where we did."

The sixth-place finisher was Marcus Ambrose.

Jimmy Johnson's late race rally failed. He had moved into second with three laps to go, but his motor sputtered after his gas tank went dry on the last lap, and he coasted to the start/finish, in seventh-place.

"We were in great position, but at the end we were just playing a fuel game, and we didn't play it well."

Juan Montoya, Jeff Burton and Sam Hornish were the remaining top-10 drivers.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. and his team were never a factor in the race. After qualifying 18th, he wound up 27th.

Top-12 Chase Contenders after 14 of 26: 1. Stewart-2043, 2. J. Gordon-1972, 3. Johnson-1940, 4. Newman-1840, 5. Kurt Busch- 1819, 6. Edwards-1762, 7. Biffle- 1753, 8. Kenseth-1745, 9. Kyle Busch-1731, 10. Burton-1725, 11. Reutimann-1701, 12. Hamlin- 1679

Kyle Busch wins Nationwide race

Kyle Busch celebrated his win in the Nationwide Series Federated Auto Parts 300 at Nashville Superspeedway by smashing the Gibson guitar given him for winning.

Busch said he made a promise to his team members last year that if he ever won a race at Nashville, he would give them each a piece of the guitar.

"I always said, 'Man, if I win here, I'd smash that thing.' I had to stick to my word. It's karma or something, I guess. I won here, so I tried to smash it up."

"All them sorry saps (drivers), they take it home in one piece and put it on their shelf, man. I break that thing up and spread it within the team so everybody's got a piece."

"It didn't break according to plan. I was actually hoping to get more pieces for the guys on the team. We'll go back to the shop and cut it up, and they can have nice, smooth pieces of it."

Top-10 points leaders after 13 of 35: 1. Kyle Busch-2031, 2. Edwards 1966, 3. Leffler-1843, 4. Keselowski 1838, 5. Logano-1670, 6. Bliss-1520, 7. Keller-1519, 8. Allgaier 1468, 9. McDowell-1465, 10. Gaughan-1455

Todd Bodine gets fifth Texas win

Todd Bodine won his fifth NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race Friday at Texas Motor Speedway, finishing 1.321 seconds in front of runner-up Matt Crafton in the WinStar World Casino 400.

Bodine became the first driver in the history of the series to have five victories at one track. They've all been accomplished in a Toyota for Germain Racing. It was Bodine's 17th career victory in trucks.

"It's incredible to win five races at one track," Bodine said. "It's hard to win anywhere."

Bodine took the lead on the 125th of 167 laps on the 1.5-mile superspeedway and was never threatened. He had a 2.5-second lead over Matt Crafton with 25 laps to go and 2.1 with five remaining. Making sure he had enough fuel to reach the checkered flag, Bodine backed off the throttle on the final lap.

Top-10 points leaders after 8 of 25: 1. Crafton-1202, 2. Hornaday 1172, 3. Skinner-1163, 4. Bodine 1136, 5. Scott-1067, 6. Starr- 1049, 7. Benson-1047, 8. McCumbee 1040, 9. Cook-1023, 10. Crawford 1013

Chad Knaus, one smart crew chief

Chad Knaus has paid his dues and climbed the NASCAR ladder steadily to get to his current spot on the top rung. From 1993 to 1997, he worked with Ray Evernham on Jeff Gordon's No. 24 team at Hendrick Motorsports before leaving to take a job at (then) Dale Earnhardt Inc.

After a couple more moves in the next two years, he landed with Evernham once again, in the fledgling Dodge program. In 2002, he was offered a job back at Hendrick Motorsports as crew chief for a rookie driver by the name of Jimmie Johnson. The rest, literally, is NASCAR history.

The ride hasn't always been a smooth one. Knaus is a guy with a lot of nicknames, ranging from "The Magician" to "Cheatin' Chad," depending on which side of his fence you happen to be standing. Some consider him an innovator, while others accuse him of having a flagrant disregard for the NASCAR rulebook.

Either way, there's no disputing the fact that whatever he's doing is definitely working. In 2008, he became the first crew chief in NASCAR history to win three consecutive Cup Series championships.

Think about that one for a minute. In six decades of racing, this feat had never been accomplished. There's a reason they're called "firsts." They only happen once.

So the next time the No. 48 car seems to come out of nowhere to win a race - and that happens fairly frequently - take time to remind yourself of the reason why Chad Knaus seems to be the guy with all the answers.

Weekend racing: The Sprint Cup and Camping world Trucks are at the 2.0-mile Michigan International Speedway. The Nationwide Series visits the 1.5-mile Kentucky Speedway.

Sat., June 13, Camping World Series Cool City Customs 250, race 9 of 25; starting time: 1:30 p.m. (EDT); TV: Speed.

Sat. June 13, Nationwide Series Kentucky 300, race 14 of 35; starting time: 8 p.m. (EDT); TV: ESPN2.

Sun., June 14, Sprint Cup Lifelock 400, race 15 of 36; starting time: 12:30 p.m. (EDT); TV: TNT.

Racing trivia question: Which is the longest track on the NASCAR Cup circuit?

Last week's question: How many children does Jeff Gordon have? Answer. Jeff and his wife Ingrid have one daughter, Ella Sofia Gordon.

Contact the Racing Reporter at: hodgesnews@earthlink.net.

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