2009-10-08 / Local & State

Stewart Holds On For Kansas Win

By Gerald Hodges THE RACING REPORTER

Tony Stewart Tony Stewart KANSAS CITY, Kan. – Tony Stewart held off late challenges from Jeff Gordon and Greg Biffle to win Sunday’s Cup race at Kansas Speedway, his fourth win of the season.

Stewart took the lead on lap 236 of the 267-lap race after a two-tire pit stop. Several other teams took on four tires, but by taking on only two right-side tires Stewart was able to assume the lead once green-flag racing resumed.

“This one’s for us,” said Stewart. “Jeff was getting bigger and bigger in my rearview mirror there at the end. The thing was not to drive the tires off it, in case you needed them for a green/white/checkered restart.”

Jeff Gordon started ninth, was not able to run up front early in the race, but came on strong after the midway point, to challenge Stewart for the lead in the closing laps.

“We never got it fixed completely, but it was a great day,” said Gordon. “We came a long way, because we were way off at the beginning of this thing.”

Jimmie Johnson had a fast car and was running with the leaders until the last caution, but dropped from fourth to ninth by the end of the race.

“We had such a good car,” said Johnson. “We thought four tires were the way to go on that pit stop, but something happened. We were so fast and then the car was so tough to drive. I’m not sure what happened.”

Greg Biffle, Juan Montoya, Denny Hamlin, Kasey Kahne, Mark Martin, David Reutimann, Jimmie Johnson, and Carl Edwards were the remaining top-10 finishers.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. was black flagged by officials for a loose lug nut on a tire. He failed to pit after being given the black flag by NASCAR officials, until he was finally told that unless he pitted on the next lap, NASCAR would stop scoring his car.

“We had a fast car, but we left the lug nut off on one pit stop and lost a lap,” Earnhardt said. “We pitted, a caution came out and we lost another lap. We probably had a top-10 car, but just got down.”

He finished 36th.

2009 Chase contenders after 3 of 10 races: 1. Martin-5551, 2. Johnson-5533, 3. Montoya-5500, 4. Stewart-5484, 5. Kurt Busch- 5460, 6. Hamlin-5452, 7. J. Gordon 5448, 8. Biffle-5437, 9. Newman 5387, 10. Edwards-5386, 11. Kahne-5361, 12. Vickers-5301

Matt Kenseth, the 2002 NASCAR champion, who failed to make this year’s Chase, had an engine go sour in his No. 17 Roush-Fenway Ford and was not able to finish the race. He dropped to 14th in points.

Logano beats Busch again in Nationwide race

Kyle Busch set a series mark for most laps led in a season, but it was Joey Logano who took the lead from his teammate with three laps to win the Nationwide race at Kansas.

Top-10 Nationwide leaders after 29 of 35: 1. Kyle Busch-4729, 2. Edwards-4484, 3. Keselowski- 4422, 4. Leffler-3879, 5. Allgaier- 3390, 6. S. Wallace-3377, 7. Keller- 3249, 8. Bliss-3220, 9. Gaughan- 3139, 10. McDowell-3024

Jeff Gordon doesn’t favor the Chase

Jeff Gordon was guest on last week’s NASCAR teleconference. He was asked why it is taking him so long to win a fifth NASCAR championship.

“You know, I have exceeded all of my expectations, but at the same time, as you win championships and you win races, it raises your goals up to another level, and sort of creates new expectations.

“I really thought that we have had some years to pull off the championship, and you know, one or two things here or there, didn’t go our way, we didn’t win it, but we have been competitive many, many years since 2001.

“But the Chase has changed things. This format I think doesn’t suit my style quite as well as the old one but I’m as hungry and as eager as I’ve ever been to get the championship, because it’s something I feel like I’ve never accomplished, and this team has never accomplished and it’’s something that we desperately want to do. We know because our teammates won the last three, and this year, two of our teammates are right in it, that we have got as much of a shot at it as anybody else, as well.

“It’s not about what you did in the last race and not about what you did last year; it’s about what you do in the next one coming up and the next season and these next eight races. So that’s what we are focused on.”

In what could turn out to be one of the oddest pairings in the history of American stock car racing, Richard Petty Motorsports’ primary shareholder, George Gillett, has signed an agreement to sell his stake in the team to a Saudi Arabian prince.

The agreement forms a partnership that will see the development of a NASCAR racing circuit and Richard Petty racing schools in the Saudi Kingdom and elsewhere in the Middle East.

The agreement signed last week is the first step to Gillett selling his stake in the team. As the two were publicly confirming the agreement, behind the scenes, Gillett and Prince Faisal acting on behalf of the Saudi sports investment group F6 he chairs, have begun a process of ‘due diligence,’ the examination of financial records, with the goal being that Gillett would be bought out by the end of the year.

The entire deal is reportedly worth up to $560 million.

NASCAR officials said they played no role in it.

However, Petty said he didn’t know much about what was going on.

“That’s one of George’s deals,” Petty said. “You’ll have to talk to him on that. “That’s purely his deal. He’d been meeting with these guys for a pretty good while about his English football team.”

RPM had announced earlier that it would be merging with Yates Racing. Petty said that negotiations on the team’s proposed merger with Yates are continuing, and he still expects it to be completed.

I guess we will have to wait and see how this one shakes out.

Weekend racing: The Sprint Cup and Nationwide teams will be racing at the 1.5-mile Fontana, California Speedway.

Sat., Oct. 10, Nationwide Series Camping World 300, race 30 of 35; Starting time: 4 p.m. (EDT); TV: ESPN2.

Sun., Oct. 11, Sprint Cup Pepsi 500, race 30 of 36; Starting time: 2:30 p.m. (EDT); TV: ABC.

Racing trivia question: Which Cup team does Paul Menard drive for?

Last week’s question: What year was the Sprint Cup Chase started? Answer. It was introduced in 2004.

You may contact the Racing Reporter at: hodgesnews@earthlink.net

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